Hindi General Entertainment Channels believe the cricket tournament will not draw away their viewers
Hindi television channels have geared up with new big ticket shows during the fifth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), displaying no fear of losing their loyal audience to cricket.
Starting March 31, Star Plus is coming up with a new singing reality show Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar 2, to be judged by Shaan and Shantanu Moitra and hosted by Mandira Bedi. SAB TV has recently brought a new season of the popular Movers & Shakers with Shekhar Suman back to the telly world after 11 years. Zee TV is set to launch its kids’ reality show Dance India Dance Li’l Masters 2 and fiction show Phir Subah Hogi, while Colors too has two new shows on board — a social thriller Chhal – Sheh Aur Maat, which went on air Monday, and Kairi – Rishta Khatta Meetha, which will be telecast in April.
The channels feel their core audience will remain unaffected during IPL 5, which will kickstart in April on Set MAX. “We reckon there is a loyal audience for cricket just as for entertainment channels and don’t see a huge overlap of the two. Moreover, if the content and concept of a show are strong, the audiences will continue to watch their favourite shows over IPL,” Prashaant Bhatt, head of fiction, Colors, told IANS. New shows are still being launched to grab eyeballs, but Bhatt argues: “We don’t plan to launch a show or postpone the launch because of IPL. Our programming line-up and launch plans are thought through months in advance keeping in mind the audience viewing preferences and content requirements of the channel. A lot of research goes into the decision of when is the right time to launch a particular show. With Kairi, it was just the right time to launch a new show as part of our new programme lineup.” He has the same opinion about including high points in on-going shows. “High points are planned as per the story’s progression and not merely to grab eyeballs. If the story demands a high point during IPL, we will go ahead and execute it,” said Bhatt.
According to Ajay Bhalwankar, programming head, Zee TV, IPL is usual competition. “We had launched a big show Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo during a previous season of IPL and the show was appreciated by the audience. So this year, we are launching two major shows – Dance India Dance L’il Masters 2 in the non-fiction segment and Phir Subah Hogi in the fiction space as we believe good content will always be a winner,” said Bhalwankar. Danish Khan, marketing head, Sony Entertainment Television, says there are no immediate plans to launch new shows, and since “IPL will be on air on a sister channel”, there is no such concern.
Meanwhile, Set MAX has big plans to market the IPL. The channel has rolled out a special communication campaign, “Aisa Mauka Aur Kahan Milega” to get maximum viewership this season. The fifth season of IPL will feature 76 matches over a period of 54 days in the months of April and May. Nine teams are participating in the cricket league and, of course, the channel is expecting good ratings. “With this campaign, we want to bring alive the obsession and passion of IPL, which brings people together across the country with their friends and families, to enjoy the biggest extravaganza on Indian television. We look forward to yet another record-breaking edition of the DLF IPL this year,” said Gaurav Seth, senior vice president (Marketing and Communications), MAX.