Chennai: The Tamil reality show Bigg Boss seems to have helped Star Group’s Vijay TV, A general entertainment channel (GEC), to achieve a 10 percentage rise in viewership over the past four weeks.
According to a report by Kotak Institutional Equities: “The Tamil Chennel Star Vijay has gained viewership share by 10 percentage points from Sun TV on the back of success of its reality show Bigg Boss’. Sun TV’s viewership share in the Tamil general entertainment genre has fallen below 50 percentage for the first time.” Star’s Telugu GEC, MAA TV, has also gained in the Telugu market, courtesy to Telugu Bigg Boss.
Sun Network, which has a media presence in all south Indian languages, has commanded more than 55-60 Percentage market share in viewership among Tamil GECs for over a decade now.
The viewership share of the second player, Star Vijay, hovered in the range 10 Percentage to 15 Percentage over the past five years, whereas that of the third player, Zee Tamil, was 5 percentage until the financial year 2016 end (Zee Tamil’s share increased to 14 percentage from 5 percentage over the past 15 months).
The Kotak Institutional Equities report also noted that Bigg Boss Tamil had received overwhelming interest and viewership, partly helped by a strong presenter Kamal Haasan and controversies/opposition to the show.
A Mumbai-based media planner, who tracks GECs in Tamil Nadu, said: “Star Vijay has gained in market share. But this increase is just temporary and will fizzle out soon. If you have watched the show closely, actor Oviya was its nucleus and now that she is out, the viewership numbers might take a hit,” he added.
“We have watched the viewership trends in Tamil Nadu for over a decade now and Sun TV’s market penetration is tough to break. They have a strong foothold, not just in south, but across the globe,” said a media planner in Chennai. He added, “Even now, if you look at the ad slots during the prime hours, in the evening, advertisers prefer Sun TV slots.”
The report also pointed out that the Sun Group had the ability and wherewithal to step up investments to defend its market share.
Another city-based media planner said that Sun TV understands the demands of its audience and scripts programmes accordingly. Bigg Boss is just one show and Sun TV’s market share cannot be dented significantly by a single show. “You can’t make assumptions on market share based on a two-quarter trend,” he added.
The report also said that Star had rights to produce Bigg Boss (following the format of the Dutch show Big Brother ) in Tamil for the past 2-3 years but it refrained from doing so given the prohibitive costs and the low probability of the success of such a bold reality show in the Tamil market.
Star’s decision to launch Bigg Boss this year was an attempt to strengthen its positioning in the Tamil market ahead of the entry of Viacom18’s Colors Tamil, the Kotak Institutional Equities report said.