I remember the game “The Frogs” when I think of the present scenario in Telugu GEC space.
The game is all about Frogs, 3-4 kids are frogs and sit blindfolded in the middle of a circle. The rest of the group members make the circle and there is only one exit from the circle. The frogs in the middle now grab their ankles and both try to find the way out. If one frog has found the exit, he gives the other frog a signal by croaking loudly so that he can also find the way out. This game doesn’t have clear winners or losers. It looks like always everybody is in the race but no one is clear winners. Each one is shadowing the other and it is the case happening in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana GEC market…!
After my two articles on Kannada GEC and News space, I feel a brief on Telugu is required by now you are aware my take on a south market is written in a first person anecdotal style. For some years there is no consistent clear No. 1 in Telugu GEC and constant change in the pecking order made many call it has a volatile market. But I like to call it as a (less) focused or a focused less market, but whatever it was it is still the second biggest market in south.
Factors influencing Creativity:
“The influence of national dubbed serials has handicapped the creativity and strategy for the local and original flavor. Unlike ban on dubbing in Kannada which has given an advantage there to develop the quality content with strong story line, as I had mentioned in my first article on Kannada GEC space. Here that seems to get stifled.Movies have played a critical role and a major source of help to survive and still survived by many channels. They have used this as a tool to garner no’s and been blessing in disguise during underperforming. I will be last person to support the cause for the bad”
ETV Telugu – The Old War Horse:
My story telling begins with ETV, with despite of many big networks forayed in this market, my admiration is for lying low adamant on maintaining their principles and have been successful with their low investment strategy. they have survived withoutmovies, which everyone consider that is very important to the market, though it was never been in the No. 1 position for many years but it always had its share of dominant areas, their fiction always delivered and technically it is No. 1 in many tier 2 and rural markets because they concentrated on original and local content. There non-fiction/ reality show like singing and Jabardast did and still delivering good results for long time and was considered as a driver program and lifeline in weekends. The Channel’s dominance in fiction genre in the afternoon band and early prime time band keeps them strong and hold the forte in weekdays too. Needless to mention fiction shows like ManasuMamatha in the early evening band that is running for more than 5 years and still delivering good numbers in the rating charts is a wonderful example to their uniqueness.
Star Maa: Always a Lucky player:
Another interesting part of this story is Maa TV (aka) Star Maa, fortuned to be the only lucky player with prodigious backup had number of chances to take the market in their arms but each time it failed, despite of airing big tickets like KBC and Bigg Boss. After Star India’sacquisition, I was hoping that it could make a lot of difference and considering the situation during the change of new logo, package with new program line up, the driver program Bigg Boss Telugu performed fairly in the beginning but couldn’t sustain nor influenced the channel to reach the top spot. In fact,BiggBoss Telugu did not create the kind of impact in AP Market when comparedtoBiggBoss Tamil market. Needless to mention the continuingdismal performance of KBC format in Telugu (MEK) during the past two seasons. It failed to create magic even afterroping in Mega Star Chiranjeevi on hotseat. However, Star Maa has started establishing its dominance in late prime time with its new show KumkumaPuvvu but to be wait and watch, recent airing of the premier movie Fida delivered a record of unheard 21.3 TVR.
Zee Telugu: the mysterious dominant:
As I continue the story towards Zee TV Telugu, in my earlier piece about Kannada market I had written on Zee Kannada worked on two edges of sword i.e. Fiction and Non- Fiction, Here the story resembles to the mystery of Bermuda Triangle. Fiction, Non- Fiction and Movies making the three angles. Though being a new entrant in to the already established Telugu GEC market, the growth of Zee Telugu was a phenomenaljourney and the story of how it established itself in the market by dismantling the monopoly of Gemini TV brick-by-brick is a wonderful case study. It all started with the dance reality show “Aatta” (in 2003) that attracted the fiction towards Non-fiction in prime time that promoted many to dump fiction and opt for non-fiction properties in the prime time. Though Its growth in fiction front was initially guided by dubbed shows, later shows like MudduBidda created a strong base in prime time that helped the channel to build from thereon. Today Zee Telugu stands as a symbol of youthful content in Fiction genre and talk shows like KTC drives the audience crazy about it.
Gemini TV: the legacy of raise and fall:
Now the story has come to climax, I finish with emotions and take this opportunity to thank and feel proud that I was once part of this great organization, Gemini TV which once ruled the market and always set bench marks and challenges to others in the market. The channel that emerged victorious from breaking the monopoly of ETV in 2001 continued to rule the market for more than a decade, it managed to overcome the crisis from the competition in 2010 only to fall again in 2014-15. However, with the new strategy of launching dubbed version of Naagin in its Prime Time, the channel reclaimed its fortune by building a band of fiction shows. However, it seems it is loosing its dominance on fiction front to its competitors due to the heavy investment in prime time from channels like Star Maa. Currently the channel is facing too much of fluctuations on the performance with maximum dependency on movies, dubbed and repeat content, and I am sure the network is taking cognizance of the situation and will rise like a phoenix and it will fight back with the right strategy, may it prevail like the glorious days of Chakravakam and Mogalirekalu.
The author of the story findings:
- The market has moved on and comfortably leaned on dubbed content and movies.
- Failed to find new stories to example like Balika Vadhu on Colors Hindi, Bade achhe lagte hainon Sony and Muktha Muktha on ETV Kannada.
- The strategy has been on need basis / time to time.
- GRP’s from Fiction, Non- Fiction should be the game plan.
- Fictions still on FPC for three plus years, height of saturation.
- he premier movie is used more a GRP material than a strategy.
The market can only grow by giving advertisers run for their monies which can happen when yield goes up on well designed properties, become established leaders, commanding high ERsand hecontinues to tell that the new teams are getting prepared for launch of a new GEC from owners of V6 News channel andsources tell that Viacom18 is plannig for Colors Telugu launch too…will it do magic like Colors Kannada for the market… Let’s wait and see…!!!
Like always, I keep saying Innovate don’t Renovate to revive the brand/product.
Story teller: GV Krishnamurthy is widely known in the media fraternity as GVK. With a cumulative experience of around two plus decades in Southern media markets across multiple functions of a strategist, analyst, content management, sales and marketing in media business. He can be reached on [email protected] tweet: @gvk_murthy