Shailesh Kapoor: The Big GEC Quarter: What’s In Store?

06 Sep,2013

By Shailesh Kapoor

 

Going by the first eight months, 2013 has not been the most exciting year for Hindi GEC content. An overview of the year so far will look like this:

 

Most launches have been fairly ‘routine’ in nature, and no new show except Comedy Nights With Kapil has really stood out. At a genre level, the consolidation of ‘period dramas’, led by Jodhaa-Akbar and Maharana Pratap, has been an interesting development. The most hyped fiction launch of the year, Saraswatichandra, has not made a lasting impact on the GEC category.

 

Those are the only worth-mentioning parts on the content side. All the action has happened on the non-content front, with digitization and TRAI orders keeping all broadcasters, including GECs, busy.

 

But this festive season, September to November, this shall change. And how! Here’s what each Hindi GEC is set for:

 

Star Plus

Mahabharat, the ambitious Star Plus project, launches on September 16 in the weekdays 8.30pm slot. No fiction show opens higher than 2.5 TVR these days, so Mahabharat will have to build inch-by-inch over the first few weeks, if it has to emerge successful. Its fate would entirely hinge on how consumers take to Star Plus’ tone and treatment of the epic. An acceptance can widen the gap between Star Plus and competition, while a rejection can potentially allow Colors to overtake Star Plus.

 

Colors

Between Bigg Boss and 24, Colors will have its hands full this season. Bigg Boss will give the channel a boost, as it will replace two under-performing dailies. With the mood of the nation increasingly moving towards male-inclusive programming, a well-executed season holds potential to become an unqualified success.

 

All eyes will be on 24 this October. There are no meaningful benchmarks on how well a show of nature can do among the mainstream audience. But we can be rest assured that Colors will leave no marketing stone unturned to give 24 a fair chance with the viewers. The promos look slick and truly International. Even if it is a moderate success in the first season, 24 can open doors to GECs pushing the envelope by breaking away from homogenous, housewife-targeted content.

 

Zee TV

ZEEL’s focus seems more on launching new channels, and there isn’t much striking content lined up on Zee TV, beyond the routine fiction and seasonal non-fiction launches. Sunday morning show Buddha is unlikely to create any ripples, given the weak slot. Currently, Zee TV occupies a No. 3 spot with a sizeable gap on either side, but Sony may be eyeing that spot with the new KBC season.

 

Sony

KBC 7 launches tonight, with a new set and a 7cr grand prize. KBC has proven that it has long legs, and those who said Sony is flogging a dead horse by investing in the format have already eaten and digested their humble pie about three years ago. The new look and format should create some freshness that the previous season lacked. And with a host who gets younger with each season, KBC 7 should be on a solid wicket.

 

Sony’s other fiction launch Desh Ki Beti Nandini seems to explore the political drama space, with a female leader as its protagonist. It’s a genre waiting to be tapped, but a lot will depend on the casting and the narrative style. If the show manages to strike a fine balance between the conventional and the innovative, it should do well.

 

SAB & Life OK

Even as the other four channels lock horns with big-budget shows, SAB and Life OK will be consolidating their fiction line-ups to build on the recent momentum both have seen. At much lower content budgets, touching 140-150 GRPs is more than admirable. Life OK will experiment with high-end non-fiction, with Bachelorette India with Mallika Sherawat. Will she get married on TV? Your guess is as good as mine.

 

PS: This column will be on a two-week break. When I write again on Sep 27, a lot of this action would have unfolded already, and it would be fun to take stock of the proceedings!

 

Shailesh Kapoor is founder and CEO of media insights firm Ormax Media. He spent nine years in the television industry before turning entrepreneur. The views expressed here are his own. He can be reached at his Twitter handle @shaileshkapoor


 

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