September 2018: Kasautii GEC Ki

07 Sep,2018

 

By Shailesh Kapoor

 

September 2018 promises to be a fairly eventful month for the Hindi GEC category. Using the word “eventful” for this category is unusual, giving the inertia we have seen it display over the last 3-4 years. But at least in relative terms, there’s a lot more happening this month than in any typical month.

The big highlight is the return of the iconic Kasautii Zindagii Kay on Star Plus. The channel gave several hits in the 2000-2005 period, most of which were produced by Balaji Telefilms. This is the first franchise attempt at recreating that success, more than a decade later.

The campaign has registered well so far, tracking higher than established non-fiction shows like KBC and Bigg Boss, which is a rare feat for a fiction show to achieve nowadays. The show is still more than two weeks away from its launch, but if it opens well and then goes on to sustain, we could see a barrage of franchise launches on GECs.

But let the irony in Kasautii’s case not be lost. The K-serials were much-maligned by consumers in the late 2000s, paving way for Colors and forcing Star Plus to relook at their offering. A decade later, the second season of one of those much-maligned serials is the most looked-forward-to fiction launch. Clearly, what has happened in between, especially in the last three-four years, has to be very poor for this reversal of perception to happen.

The other big highlight of this month is the launch of two big reality shows. KBC went on air this week, while Bigg Boss launches next weekend. There was not much I thought of this, till last night’s announcement by Colors that they have relooked at the Bigg Boss weekdays slot, and the show will now be aired at 9pm on all days, instead of the usual 10.30pm on weekdays and 9pm on weekends.

Whatever thinking led to this after-thought is good thinking indeed. Fiction has been struggling across the board, and Colors’ recent fiction launches have been, at best, average in their performance. Putting a marquee property in the heart of the primetime is a confident move that only reinforces how Hindi GECs have started looking at non-fiction as stronger bets than fiction.

Bigg Boss will take KBC head on. Two or three years ago, this would have been a no-contest, when KBC was a big family show and Bigg Boss a niche youth show. But times have changed. Acceptance for ‘edgier’ content has increased, be it in the kids’ category with shows like Shinchan finding morefavour, or in GECs, with Khatron KeKhiladi, Bigg Boss and their ilk growing into bigger versions of themselves. It will be a contest to watch out for.

It would have been even more fun if Kasautii was being launched at 9 PM too. But that’s not the case, as the show gets a strong early-prime slot (8 PM). The channel has been proactively replacing its non-performing assets with new ideas over the last few weeks, and the results are beginning to show.

Will Kasautii be that one elusive 4+ rating show that the category lacks today? We will know only over the next few months. Till then, let non-fiction sail the category through troubled times. Yet again.

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