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Zee takes on saas with its celebs -- Campaign launched to target advertisers

Purvita Chatterjee

MUMBAI, June 5

"WHAT would you rather have? Celeb-wine or Saas-whine?'' Zee Network's attempts to woo audiences have now spilled over to the advertising and marketing fraternity.

Cashing in on the popularity of its celebrity show, Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai (JIKNH), the network has decided to directly address advertisers and media buyers to buy into the slots of this programme, instead of the saas bahu sagas, through its latest comparative campaign.

Shunning the saas bahu sagas (Saasdust is the word used in the campaign), the channel has pitted its celebrities against the TV mom-in-law-dominated serials (from its main competitor, Star TV), in a bid to draw more advertisers into its celeb show.

"The next time you are planning your adspend, please do not ignore the reality of the market place. Why do you need a brain-frying mother-in-law to be the prime medium to sell your brand? Instead, take the Friday night Indian TV viewer's heart into consideration," states the copy of the ad devised by its agency, Rediffusion DY&R.

By highlighting a report on viewership patterns across a sample size of 650 candidates across seven cities, conducted by the portal Exchange4media, JIKNH claimed a 45 per cent viewership at a time when the other two popular channels mustered 27 per cent and 21 per cent, during its show featuring Laloo Prasad Yadav.

However, according to Tam Media research, for the week ending May 18, in the Hindi speaking markets, while JIKNH scored 4.26 amongst all the programmes aired on Zee, it ranked the 48th amongst the top 100 programmes across channels with Star Plus dominating the top 20 programmes with the saas sagas (Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabi Bahu Thi and Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki) with TRPs of 16.59 and 15.94 respectively.

But are media planners actually being wooed by the success of this programme in spite of it reigning over the other programmes of Zee?

States Mr Hiren Pandit, General Manger, Mindshare, Mumbai, "Somehow the programme is not getting the TRPs that were expected. In any case, we do not buy into single programmes. We, after all, take decisions on behalf of somebody and have to evaluate it realistically, not just based on campaigns which inform us more in terms of knowledge and analysis."

Claims Ms Apurva Purohit, Media Director, FCB Ulka Advertising Ltd, "As of now, the programme is not really opening a new genre of programming, like a Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC). Neither is it affecting the stronger TRPs of the saas bahu serials. However, the content is good and the campaign has made us look at the programme more seriously. One is bound to see more of such campaigns since everyone is looking at the same share of prime time."

As expected, Zee is bullish about the prospects of its celebrity-based show. Says Mr Partha Sinha, Vice-President (Marketing), Zee Network, "We find it difficult to believe that anyone would want to watch something else like a chat show or an interview rather than watching the life of a celebrity. We want this programme to be part of one's daily conversation and are trying to convey the same to the advertising and marketing community."

Adds Mr L.V. Krishnan, Chief Executive Officer, Tam India, "It is logical for Zee to woo advertisers. It is an excellent programme with the star cast catering more to the Hindi-speaking audiences."

However, fluctuations within its ratings go to show that TRPs depend entirely on who is appearing for the programme every Friday. For instance, the Fridays that Laloo Prasad Yadav and Karishma Kapoor appeared, the TRPs zoomed to 4.37. However, they dipped to 1.52 points and 1.91 points when Raveena Tandon and Anil Kapoor appeared, respectively.

Even between cities, the TRPs were substantially different. In Kanpur, the TRPs rose for Laloo Prasad Yadav to 10.19, while in Delhi they were as low at 3.64 points.

States a media planner from WPP Media, "The programme is basically for the Hindi belt and it all depends on who is coming for the show. While KBC was more stable in terms of one celebrity moving it, here it is more than one celebrity pulling the show, which does not make the programme as stable as KBC.

Nowhere do the ratings match the initial weeks of KBC either, when the TRPs shot up from 8.96 to 14.26 between July 3 and July 17 in 2000.

Adds another media planner, "Not everyone will be driven by the programme. The show is not that big and we believe in numbers, not campaigns."

However, at present the ad slots seem full for JIKNH with eight sponsors supporting the programme.

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