“Unique lineup and iconic characters helped Star Vijay surpass prime time”
“The consumer is always at the heart of what we do and we are focused on improving and innovating our content offerings that continue to engage and resonate with our viewers.” This statement of Kevin Vaz, President and CEO – Network Entertainment Channels, Star and Disney India provides insight into how the network’s Tamil GEC – Star Vijay has not only captured the hearts of the Tamil makkal (the people) but also bridges the gap with the longtime giant leader in this ultra-competitive market . A big change for the channel was the launch of Bigg Boss Tamil in 2017 with actor Kamal Hassan as the host. The channel focused on offering varied viewers, innovative content and close the gap with the market leader. While Bigg Boss helped Star Vijay increase its reach and build brand awareness, the channel was determined to decipher the formula for weekday programming. In August-September 2020, Star Vijay has witnessed a big inflection point when it comes to his Weekday Primetime.
The engine of Star Vijay’s growth over the past year has been those multiple locally produced fiction and non-fiction shows that have started to perform on par with Bigg Boss Tamil.
Vaz states: “Star Vijay has stayed true to her vision of redefining Tamil entertainment and continued her efforts to forge a deep emotional connection with viewers. The channel has always hosted the biggest fiction and non-fiction shows, its differentiated programming and iconic characters helped to outperform prime-time performance. He adds: “Recent studies on brand equity show that we have maintained the number one spot in the minds of consumers for the past two years, it shows the love our brand has among viewers. The year 2021 has seen incredible growth, making the brand the # 1 destination for original GEC content. Much of this growth has been driven by strong consumer insights that have led to relatable dramas. “
Star Vijay’s performance also contributed to the growth of Star’s regional offering. In terms of market share, the network has reached around 33% in the regional general entertainment and movies segment, up from almost 28% in a single year, and much of that growth has come from Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. .
STORIES BUILT ON CONSUMER INSIGHT
Speaking about what has worked in terms of content, Vaz points out that the channel’s listening approach has paid off. He elaborates, “We are constantly listening to our viewers to understand their preferences in terms of content and on this basis, we have made a decisive transformation of our storytelling and have thus been able to strengthen our fiction offer. We are happy to have created characters that resonate with Tamil audiences. The fact that Star Vijay now has four of the top five fiction shows is a testament to the strength of our storytelling. The distinct but powerful characters portrayed by Kannamma from Bharathi Kannamma, Dhanam from Pandian Stores, Baagya from Baagyalakshmi have shown great resonance among Tamil Nadu audiences across demographics. He adds, “Our journey is built on powerful consumer insights; the team is dedicated to constantly understanding the lives of Tamil viewers, their culture, relationships and dreams.
One idea the team used in their programming was that in Tamil Nadu most marriages are arranged and for women romance with their husbands is extremely critical in their marriages. Another glimpse into nostalgia for the joys and challenges of living in a shared family led to the birth of Star Vijay’s flagship show Pandian Stores while
Baagyalakshmi presents the unsung efforts of a housewife who is the true hero of every family. Vaz adds, “At Star Vijay, we strive to offer many more such powerful stories and characters that are grounded in universal truths about our consumers.”
A GREAT SUCCESS OF HOME SIZES
In addition to Star Vijay’s flagship high-octane shows, such as Bigg Boss and Super Singer, Vaz says other local non-fiction formats such as Cooku with Comali and Start Music have started performing almost on par. with Bigg Boss. He says: “Our innovative formats and high production quality allow us to continue to attract large audiences. Given the success of some of our local non-fiction formats on Star Vijay, we have introduced the formats to other markets which have also been very successful. “
In October 2021, Bigg Boss 5 was back on the small screen. Vaz notes, “Bigg Boss was Tamil Nadu’s biggest non-fiction television phenomenon. Every season of Bigg Boss has been a game-changer for Star Vijay. Each season has gotten bigger and bigger and Season 5 is no exception. The season launch episode had a range of 11.5 minutes with an average view time of 1 hour 44 minutes.
Bigg Boss’s current season has 15 sponsors on board – Preethi Appliances and Nippon Paint as title sponsors; partner “powered by” – Vasanth & Co; Gold chakra; Mondelez and Adityaram; special partner – Ace2three; co-presenting partner – Udhaiyam; associated partners – Centuary Matttresses, JK Tires, Haier, Lotus Herbal, Thangamayil Jewelery, Lenskart and MINI Studio.
Commenting on the partnership with the brand, Vaz observes: “The response from advertisers has also been incredible for this season. Advertisers want to partner with Tamil Nadu’s largest property and the demand is unprecedented. What is encouraging to see is the number of recurring sponsors who have seen success in previous Bigg Boss seasons and are teaming up with us for this season again. Additionally, this year we are seeing an increase in the number of local advertisers returning to Bigg Boss. He adds: “This year has been unique for Bigg Boss with the two title sponsors from Tamil Nadu: Preethi Appliances and Nippon Paint. Both co-sponsors have great stories to tell about how they leveraged Bigg Boss to the advantage of their brands. Nippon Paint has traveled with us for all five editions of the show and this season they have joined us as a joint title sponsor. Preethi Appliances, on the other hand, enjoyed great success last year and jumped into being a title co-sponsor this year.
The reality show spans 106 days – through festivals ranging from Dussehra in October to Pongal in January, the season for most ad spending in a year. He says: “Bigg Boss is the most premium show in the Tamil Nadu TV market for general entertainment.. Advertisers not only get high quality ad inventory, but also excellent brand visibility in the form of asset inventory in content. An example of integration into the show in the current season of Bigg Boss was with Lenskart. The aim was to present the augmented reality functionality in the Lenskart app. During one task, all contestants were dressed for the fashion show and experienced the AR function. Even during the weekly eliminations, the eliminated competitor was given a basket with custom frames that were selected using AI.
On a final note on why Star Vijay has become the channel of choice for advertisers in Tamil Nadu, notes Vaz, “Being the preferred channel among target groups of advertisers, it has helped us to attract more advertisers to the channel. We have the top four out of five drama shows on our channel and that has placed Star Vijay as a must-have channel in most advertisers’ plans.
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