Mumbai : Star Plus is pushing the boundaries of prime time, taking a leaf out of the book of regional channels. The flagship general entertainment channel of Star India started airing original content at 5 pm about two weeks ago in a bid to capture more eyeballs and attract additional advertising revenue.
The 5 pm slot is typically reserved for repeat telecasts across all such channels, including Star’s rivals Zee TV, Colors and Sony. While repeat telecasts add to the overall gross rating points of channels, they do not bring in additional advertising revenue because they are usually included in package deals along with the original airings. Star re-scheduled its 10:30 pm show Veera to 5 pm around January 26.
By airing original content in a new slot, Star has made a bold move, says Mallikarjunadas CR, CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group, India, a unit of Publicis Groupe. “They have raised the bar by putting their own investments. They are expanding the basket and trying to gain market share,” he said. With the first week’s ratings from Television Audience Measurement (TAM) coming in at 3, there could be new revenue to tap, although it was a drop of one point compared to what Veera garnered in the 10:30 pm slot.
“There could be a perception issue in the short run, but once the numbers come in, so will the ads, because for advertisers all you need is eyeballs, making that slot additional new prime time,” Mallikarjunadas added.
Prime time rates at Star could range from Rs 1 lakh-1.5 lakh for 10 seconds and media planners estimate that if the 5 pm slot delivers, Star could command a 10-second rate of at least Rs 70,000-75,000, opening up a whole new time band for the others as well.
“It is indeed a bold move and they are building the People Using Television (PUT) universe. Also, this time slot has already been working across the regional channels but the Hindi GEC is a different space as it goes national, so the success of this slot would be great for the PUT universe,” said Ashish Sehgal, national sales head at Zee Entertainment Enterprises.
Regional channels have shown that TV viewing begins early in small towns, so Star’s move could be an attempt to include them and programme its content accordingly. A spokesperson from Star agrees, saying, “As more small towns and rural areas become a part of the measured universe, there is an opportunity for TV viewership to start earlier in the day, unlike metros and mini-metros, where viewership tends to peak later in the day. Our content resonates with a broad spectrum of audiences and we believe this move to increased programming will help us cater to them even more sharply.”