7pm, the New prime time

17 Nov,2011


By Ritu Midha


Once upon a time in Hindi GEC, 8 to 10 PM was known as prime time. Then happened Kahin To Hoga and Kaahin Kissii Roz (both on Star Plus), and prime time viewership extended up to 11 pm. The interesting thing here was that while 10 to 10.30 pm slot was viewed across HSM, 10.30 to 11 was largely metro centric. And today, the slot is used for more mature stories like Maryada Lekin Kab Tak.


Interestingly, channels have now realised that older children and teenagers are not watching that much television any more – and there really is no requirement for shows tailored specifically for them in the 7 to 8 pm slot. Enter Saathiya – and now 7-8 pm has become an integral part of prime time television viewing. Star Plus successfully proved yet once again that Saas Bahu still works – and good scheduling too can be an excellent programming innovation. More on prime time expansion in a minute.


Another interesting phenomenon one notices these days is that shows are not killed in too much of a hurry – shows that stop being TVR-garners are nudged, and shifted to another time slot preferably in the afternoon – two very recent examples are Na Anaa Iss Desh Lado and Laagi Tujhse Lagan. Elucidates Dinesh Vyas, Business Head, MEC Global, India, “Channels try out possible routes before killing the programme. And as a strategy they try putting programmes between two good performing programmes hoping for viewers to move on to this programme too.”


While quite a bit of television slots are still sold based on GRPs, and many brands insist on prime time slots – there are a few which are keen to advertise on a specific show. what happens when these shows are moved from one time band to the other. Explains V Narayanan, General Manager , Maxus, Delhi, “This requires a deeper analysis of the new slot where the following parameters are taken into consideration in predicting the ratings which includes, Current viewership of the time slot, Whether the new slot is in prime time or non-prime time slot?, Ratings of competing programmes in the new slot, Promotion plan from the channel in promoting the specific programme slot etc.”


Adds Mr Vyas, “The media planner analyses that time slot (over at-least 13 weeks) to which it has been shifted, to estimate drop or rise in viewership. Loaded with this data the planner/buying negotiate with the channel for better deal in rates proportionately to the drop percentage.”


In place of these shows, in their previous time slot arrive new shows- which may or may not capture viewers’ attention – but this is a risk that channels have to take. It is after all about getting the desired eyeballs and audience acceptance.


Moving back to the extended prime time, the 7 pm slot was made popular by Star’s Sathiya and 7.30 by Sasural Genda Phool on the same channel. However, now shows on Zee and Colors too are working well for their respective channels.


A quick look at the delivery of this time slot:Star Plus: 

Rank Date Day Start Time Programme TVR


25/10/2011 Tue





27/10/2011 Thu






Rank Date Day Start Time Programme TVR


25/10/2011 Tue





27/10/2011 Thu





Rank Date Day Start Time Programme TVR


24/10/2011 Mon





25/10/2011 Tue





Target Group : CS 4 + Yrs ;

For the week from 23/10/2011 to 29/10/2011

Source: TAM peoplemeter system


Havan, has, incidentally, not been able to do as well as anticipated yet. Says Mr Narayanan, “Saathiya is a popular programme and garners loyal viewership amongst the female viewers. Yes, with Havan being promoted aggressively by Colors, Saathiya viewership did drop during the first week of telecast which was expected. “

While late night slots attracted metro audiences, the 7 pm to 8 pm slot has succeeded in attracting non metro audiences. States Mr Vyas, “I have always believed 7-8pm slots work best in non-metros where the audiences are home by that time.”

Mr Narayanan, meanwhile elaborates that it is the mid-sized towns where this slot attracts maximum viewership, “ A closer look at Saathiya viewership across 8 weeks ( 2011, Wks: 33-40 & for the top channels only. Tg: All, AA, 15+, C&S.) indicates that 1 million + towns in Gujarat, Punjab/Haryana, UP, Rajasthan, MP procures higher ratings than 0.1-1million towns within each state respectively. As a comparison, the program ratings within the 1Million + towns of the above markets are relatively higher than Delhi & Mumbai ratings. “

Interestingly the 7 to 8 pm slot is not doing well only in HSM but a similar trends can be observed in South markets as well. Explains Narayanan, “Within the 7-8 pm slot, the rest of AP and the rest of Karnataka performs better than Hyderabad and Bangalore respectively. Specific to TN, Sun TV programmes do well in 0.1-1 million towns than Chennai and 1 million+ towns.”

Television always has options – programming experimentation, scheduling experimentation, changing the protagonist, the story line etc – and hence has the capability of being a step ahead of the curve. With three and a half hours of prime time – GEC don’t have much to worry – all they need is good characters. The next battle heating up is for the real prime time – 8  to 9 pm with all the channels bringing up new shows there.

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