Home > Business > Special
What makes Star Plus the leader?
Amit Khanna |
August 24, 2005
In the last two years, the marketing of television channels in India has changed dramatically -- though the same cannot be said about programming.
There is little that differentiates one channel from another in this me-too market. What compounds the problem, especially in general entertainment programming, is that production houses use almost identical cast and crew to churn out carbon copies.
A careful analysis of successful programming shows that it is either breakaway content or unusual presentation and, occasionally, star presence, which proves a money-spinning differentiator.
Let's look at the general entertainment channels. The reason STAR continues to dominate Hindi-language programming is simple.
Over the years with success, STAR has become audacious and adventurous. It has learnt it the hard way after experimenting with different programmes and managers. Today, it has a redoubtable combination in Peter Mukherjea and Sameer Nair. The two have been inventive in creating and aggressively marketing their shows.
Today, STAR has an interesting mix of programmes across its bouquet and viewer demographics. The recent move to shift blockbuster films from Star Plus to Star Gold is one such example. Bringing back KBC in a weekend slot, followed by new programmes is a clever move aimed at claiming ownership of a new time space.
Needless to say, it is also the best looking network and obviously the most market-savvy -- typical of a Murdoch company. The only blip is its foray into news, which still is a ragtag, amateurish affair.
Sony is a network, which seems to have come to terms with being number two. It has had its share of successes with Jassi and Indian Idol. But, by and large, it is not innovative enough. ICC cricket matches and rights to the best movies have not managed to give it the push it needs to compete with STAR on an equal footing.
Sony is a smart marketer and is reasonably good looking. But it lacks the maverick spirit. There is not enough strategic thinking. Too much cross-promotion within programmes and Fame Gurukul, a poor encore for Indian Idol, is evidence of this. Kunal Dasgupta and his team must spring back otherwise the performance will show up in the ratings.
ZEE TV had an adventurous streak in its early days thanks to the rustic ingenuity of promoter Subhash Chandra. Chandra used unconventional wisdom in the early days to create a large media conglomerate.
However, he squandered the first mover advantages and is currently struggling to remain number three. Sure, Zee has a presence across platforms, geographies and genres, but it has not been able to attain pre-eminence in any sphere. The channel must reinvent itself if it wants to be a contender for the top spot.
In the South, the Sun Group has a stranglehold. Eenadu is a valiant second, more by default than design. The East is pretty much up for grabs. Unless, there is more innovation the rest of the channel space may be up for grabs too!The author is chairman of Reliance Entertainment. The views expressed here are personal.