The Anchor: Chandradeep Mitra on 5 reasons why GECs rule the Indian TV industry

25 May,2012

By Chandradeep Mitra


1. Historicity – General Entertainment Channels (or GECs) were the first and the main channels which started the TV culture in our country – Doordarshan (DD), then Zee, then Star. In fact, all other channel genres – news, sports, kids, music, etc. – started off as sections within main GECs before being spun off separately. However, GECs have remained the main draws, the big brothers and the bouquet-drivers in the TV business.


2. Mainstream Entertainment Quotient – In an entertainment-crazy nation fed on Bollywood and other escapist fare, GECs provide the most broad-based mass-appeal entertainment platter (think ‘Thali’!) that aims to please most, if not all, of the TV audiences, unlike more niche options targeting smaller audience groups.


3. Targeting Remote Controllers – Among various TV audiences, GECs have traditionally targeted the middle-class, middle-aged women the most, who form the largest and most loyal TV viewing group. Long-running soaps and popular well-tested formats ensured repeat viewing of this core audience. And the fact that most Indian households are single TV homes ensured that GECs won over other channels during primetime by targeting the folks who controlled the TV remote at those hours. The creation of the afternoon slot also resulted from targeting this audience group, further consolidating the lead of GECs.


4. Resource Prioritization – As GECs were historically the bigger TV channels, media owners as well as advertisers put greater focus and energy on continuing their success, hence dominance. The biggest production budgets, the slickest marketing campaigns and the biggest stars (think Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan…) all were marshaled to make GECs bigger and stronger. Success perpetuated more success.


5. Biggest Innovations / Breakthroughs – While a number of GECs continued to play safe and repeat successful formulas (remember the Saas Bahu serials?!), the high stakes game in the GEC genre also ensured that the biggest innovations and introduction of breakthrough formats also happened on GECs (think KBC and Satyamev Jayate). This ensured that more often than not, it was a GEC that benefited from a positive discontinuity in Indian television (IPL is perhaps one exception).


Chandradeep Mitra is CEO, PipalMajik



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