A thousand Runs

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SummaryIn these times of intense audience fragmentation and shifting loyalties, there are several serials on Hindi general entertainment channels that have crossed the 1000-episode milestone. What explains their non-stop run? Have creative directors run out of saleable story ideas or do these shows still have loyalists among viewers and advertisers?

life line of a serial depends on the scope of narrative offered by the story,” said Raj Nayak, CEO of Colors. In 2008 when Viacom18 launched its Hindi general entertainment channel Colors, Balika Vadhu was launched as its flagship show on the 8 pm time band. The show primarily dealt with the child marriage and therefore followed the lives of the two protagonists Jagya and Anandi who get married as children. The channel at that time had launched another show Uttaran which revolved around the friendship between a rich girl and a poor girl. While Balika Vadhu was aired on Colors at the 8 pm time band, Uttaran was telecast at 10 pm.

Around the same time, SAB TV launched its flagship show Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah at 8 pm. The serial is based on the happenings of Gokuldham society and day-to-day life of its members. A year later in 2009, Star Plus launched Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai at the 9:30 pm time band; while Zee TV launched Pavitra Rishta at 9 pm. These shows been have running on the prime time for nearly three to four years and one of the reasons cited for their long run is the kind of opportunity provided by the storylines which allowed both the creative team and the channel to play around with them. “In case of Balika Vadhu the story started at their childhood and then showed their grown-up side. At the same time it tackled all the possible ill effects of child marriage. Same is the case for Uttaran. As it started out as the story of two girls who meet at a tender age, we had the option to show various sides of their relationship,” said Nayak.

The fact that all these shows were on the prime time band helped. Timing, or scheduling, as it is known, plays a big role in getting the eyeballs. For example, if a channel is looking at launching a show targeted at slightly younger viewers, then it usually goes for the 7-7:30 pm time band. For example, Zee TV recently launched its youth centric show Sapne Suhane Ladakpan Ke at 7:30 pm. Again if a channel is looking at launching a show with an adult theme, then time slots between 9:30 to 10:30 pm can be used. Sukesh Motwani, programming head - fiction, Zee TV said, “A love story or a family drama

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