The rarefied air enjoyed by the likes of Star Plus, Zee TV and SET has met with asphyxiating elements recently. The entrance of some potentially strong players has seen a whirl of dynamic activity. For years the triumvirate ruled with gusto, Star Plus leading with élan. Although the gap between SET and the preceding two continued to increase, no upstart aimed to upset the applecart. This newbie brigade primarily consists of NDTV Imagine, a GEC from the increasing bouquet of NDTV; 9X from INX Media and the “most impressive newcomer award” winner Viacom 18’s Colors. The award by the way is courtesy those amazing GRP figures that has the industry in a tizzy.
What exactly is this GRP?
GRP is the sum of ratings achieved by a specific media vehicle or schedule. It represents the percentage of the target audience reached by a program. It helps advertisers locate their preferred channel for exposure. Now the existing players in the GEC market have been perennial giants. Lacking the volume or the time period to cultivate loyalty, the new channels, fore-fronted by 9X, have hit upon an excellent strategy. They have indulged in brand repositioning by coyly attracting the attention away from the existing rank hierarchy into a level field of channels with plus-100 GRP’s. Purely a psychological ploy. But this apparent commoditization has definitely generated a buzz.
On the brighter side though, this fragmentation has provided opportunities to clients who now have alternatives other than the top 2 channels. They have been provided with a chance to get the same Reach (%) by showcasing their products in the new entrants who have relatively much lesser rates.
Colors vs. 9X
Now let us (with TAM’s aid) get into some numbers. The speed, with which Colors breached the “100 GRP’s barrier”, would make Usain Bolt blush. In just the second week of launch, Colors riding on the hugely popular Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi registered a GRP of 118. The game show’s conclusion in the 33rd week niggled the figures a bit (a climb down from 138 to 129) but Big Boss 2’s voyeuristic appeal is sure to set things right. Now these figures are mind boggling. Let us therefore take a critical view. A bit of digging reveals that the amazing shares are quite largely due to Repeat Telecasts. An astonishing 84% of the total amount of time Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi was on air was repeats. The GRP’s, though not commensurate, are 45% of the total GRP’s for the show. Hence, unraveling the mysterious yarn of 100 GRP’s, we first meet with a definitive masque. 9X’s story is a bit different. It reached a zenith of 100+ in the 21st week. Its figures have dropped since. 9X though scaled the peak because of the Mythology Genre (Jai Maa Vaishno Devi and Alif Laila). The fluctuating fortunes of these two programs have been the principle contributory element.
How important is the numbers game?
If planning was arithmetic then clients could gain as much leverage from advertising in Movie Channels. Both MAX and Zee Cinema regularly have GRP’s in excess of 150. If the GRP’s were the decisive variable, one should have benefitted from advertising in a host of sub 100 channels; thereby accumulating their score. The GRP’s provided by the top 2 channels can be matched by the next 5 (SET, Colors, NDTV Imagine, 9X, Star One.) Moreover the rates of advertising will be far less in the latter set. The effective reach is in fact more in the lagging group (see graph.) But the qualitative aspect cannot be discounted. Brand Relevance demands that household products attract the viewership of housewives (who are the bulk audience for the Serials on Star Plus or Zee TV.) So a client advertising the said product might not find his desired audiences in an action show like Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi. Moreover advertising in GEC’s is Program-led as compared to Title-led advertising in movie channels. A caustic view might thus render the uselessness of this “100 GRP’s” myth. But Colors and 9X should be given their due for their strong performance and their shrewd strategizing.
Top 2: Star Plus, Zee TV
Next 5: SET, Colors, NDTV Imagine, 9X, Star One
TG: CS 4+
Period: Weeks 31-34
As part of strategy, clients may wish to utilize the lower costs of repeat telecasts. As mentioned above, repeats garner a decently good viewership. Moreover, recently channels have been engaging in profusive showcasing of certain genres. Mythological/Fantasy serials are the most obvious example. According to the number of programs per channel, NDTV Imagine leads with 4; Star Plus and 9X have 2 each. This genre contributed 39 % of the total GRP for NDTV Imagine (Weeks 31-34) Hence it is obvious that the channels are cashing in on the popularity via a volume outlook. Clients can associate themselves with a genre and thereby gain.
In conclusion let me maintain that this viewpoint is not aimed at challenging the trends. It merely tries to examine the validity of their announcements and their implications. The industry has warmed up to the new players because of their ingenuity. That is commendable. However as I have maintained the numbers can and often give a veiled view.
Published on September 2008 http://www.exchange4media.com/viewpoint/viewpoint.asp?view_id=102