Demand for K-soaps dwindle: study

Written by Corporate Bureau | New Delhi, Jan 30 | Updated: Jan 31 2008, 07:08am hrs
The demand for the hugely popular saas-bahu serials aka the K-soaps seems to have dwindled. According to a study commissioned by one of the largest media agencies in the world, Starcom and undertaken by HANSA research across key television viewing centres in the country revealed that two-third viewers feel that the current TV serials are long drawn and never-ending. Though the general entertainment channels still maintains their top position among the Indian households, the individual soaps on the more popular channels of Star, Sony and Zee has drastically dropped in TV ratings (TVRs) from the mid 20s a few years back to sub 10 in recent times. The fact that some soaps have been on air for many years airing more than 1,000 episodes has led many to demand a change.

The research was commissioned to study the reason for the drop in ratings and revealed that 9 out of 10 TV viewers wanted a change from the saas-bahu format of the soaps. The study found that three out of five viewers want faster, racier and more progressive programmes with a definite end. Over 50% of respondents expressed confusion in story lines of these serials. Respondents in smaller towns expressed preference for simpler story lines and interestingly they were just as vocal about demanding change as their metro counterparts. In fact 90% of respondents in Moradabad (in UP) expressed the need for change in content as compared to 84% of respondents from Mumbai.

The research, commissioned to understand the psyche of the Hindi serial viewers, stemmed from the hypotheses that viewers were tired and bored with current television content and to find out whether they were looking for a change. The top three demands of TV viewers include progressive stories in line with the present time, fast-paced serials with a definite end and exposure to international locations and cultures. Over 50% respondents confirmed interest in sampling new content and 18% said that they would definitely switch from the current fare. This research should be a wake-up call to all general entertainment channels (GECs) and productions houses that create such content. There is a colossal need to overhaul the current content and to provide viewers with more progressive content, Nikhil Rangnekar, executive director, India - West, Starcom Worldwide said.