Crime pays for GECs

09 Jul,2012

By Meghna Sharma


What is it about the dark side that attracts us? A glance over any newspaper or news channel will tell us the increased attention being given to the gruesome incidents.


The media, especially the television which is a reflection of the society, has reflected this growing interest with the increasing popularity in the number of the unglamorous, and sometimes, gory crime shows. From Karamchand in the 80s on DD to the latest Gumraah on Channel V, most crime shows have done well and have been able to garner an interest that other genres might not be able to. The longest running show on the Indian television, CID, is a crime show which was started in 1998 and recently turned tri-weekly.


Speaking about the show’s success, Sneha Rajani, senior EVP and business head, Sony Television, said: “CID has been doing well for years now; it’s not a recent phenomenon. On an average, the show gets TVR of 3.3-3.5, and sometimes even goes up to 4.5. So, it’s no surprise that show has its share of viewers, as week after week people switch on their TV sets to get inspired by the bravery and the relentless passion of CID against crime.”



Popular Crime Shows

Karamchand – 1980 – DD

CID – 1998 – Sony

India’s Most Wanted – 1999 – Zee

Aadalat – 2010 – Sony

Gumrah – 2012 – Channel V


According to industry experts, most GEC experiments with crime shows have been successful – some have garnered a little interest and others have gone on to become national hits like Adaalat and India’s Most Wanted.


Such crime shows consist of an economically viable format – no huge sets, no major actors, no glamorous outfits or expensive judges are required – hence, the channels don’t mind investing in them.



Janardhan Pandey

Janardhan Pandey, associate vice president, DDB Mudra Max feels that apart from reality shows, only crime shows have the ability to create sensationalism and that’s the main reason people are attracted towards the format. “People want to know what’s happening around them. And these shows are able to portray facts through dramatization, without costing too much for the channel.”


‘Curiosity killed the cat’ is the apt reason why crime shows work on television according to Anand Chakravarthy, executive vice president, Marketing, RBNL and business head, Big Magic. “Crime, as a genre, has an extremely wide appeal, irrespective of the country. In a developing nation likeIndiawhere crime and corruption are a part of the societal fabric, the audience is most likely to appreciate televised content in the genre.”


Anand Chakravarthy

He added: “The fascination with the morbid and intrigue that the genre provides work across a cross section of audience, regardless of age and gender, making it acceptable to a larger and diverse audience base.”


However, the question which still arises is – aren’t such shows the figment of the writers’ imagination? The writers of such shows may choose to disagree about the authenticity. “Though some might say they are a writer’s figment of imagination, but in reality, newspaper reports, sometimes even FIRs and investigations done by channels help us gather facts and details about various cases,” said a writer with a national GEC.


According to Priti Murthy, national director – Insights, Maxus, crime shows attract not only the middle-aged, but a large number of youth too. “Crime cuts across genres and finds a large number of youngsters hooked on to the genre like action, thriller, and crime. One could say it gives them adrenaline rush.”


Prem Kamath

Channel V recently launched a teen crime show, Gumraah, which has became popular for its disruptive format and unique viewpoint of understanding the psyche of young criminals. “V’s Gumrah, in its second season now, details the ecosystem in which a teen crime is conceived and the extraordinary circumstances that lead to it. The show has had an immense impact on us, in terms of viewership as well as vindicating our research and understanding of the youth. We have seen a tremendous response in terms of feedback and appreciation on social media and other consumer responses. It has also further encouraged us to try bolder formats and continue on our chosen content strategy,” said Prem Kamath, Executive VP and GM, Channel V.


Most crime shows do attract a large number of eyeballs, but most GECs also claim that it’s not about entertainment alone; they are helping the society as well. “As for adults, and specifically parents, this show is an eye-opener: if one neglects their child’s need for attention or dismiss it as juvenile behaviour, it can have serious repercussions and lead to moment of madness, eternally irreversible,” added Mr Kamath.


“Shows such as Police Files (aired on Big Magic), while showcasing crimes from the region, also attempt to educate and empower the viewer. The depiction of the crimes help the viewers to understand and accept the need to be vigilant in safeguarding themselves and their loved ones. The information imparted by way of applicable laws of the Indian Penal Code, safety tips by experts and NGOs help empower the viewer,” said Mr Chakravarthy.


So, if one has to go by what industry experts have to say: it’s entertainment with awareness that makes one switch on their television sets to watch crime shows.  Whatever be the reason, the channels can surely say that ‘crime pays’!


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