India’s entertainment channels are seeing big changes at the top. For the past six years STAR Plus has ruled the Indian television domain but changes have now been witnessed!

At the beginning of this year, STAR Plus hit it big time with KBC-SRK but post the show which occasionally delivered a 7 plus and maintained a 6 plus average, there has been nothing to let STAR hold on to its untouchable۪ position.

The usual scorers Kyunki Saans Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi۪, Kasautii Zindagi Kay۪ and Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki۪ have dropped. Kyunki..۪ which was delivering a steady 8 plus and 9 plus in the new TAM panel, has in recent weeks giving 6 plus. The story is the same with Kahaani…۪ and Kasautii…۪ is even lower at 4 plus and 5 plus.

The new 21:00 shows too have not given much to the channel. In all, the last two months – March and April – have been bad months for STAR Plus with the gap with ZEE TV narrowing.

Even though ZEE TV has grown in 2007, the numbers have not dramatically increased from what it was delivering. With shows like ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa: Challenge 2007’ delivering, the channel comes across as a strong number two player. In the new scenario, for an optimistic ZEE supporter, STAR Plus has finally and for the first time come within striking distance.

Sony Entertainment Television, on the other hand, has become a number three player with some distance from ZEE TV. The beginning of the year saw the channel face competition from Sahara One to be at the fourth spot in some weeks. In March and April as well Sony TV has been at the number three position and the distance from Sahara One is a very small one. With the launch of ‘Indian Idol’, Sony has got a very slight boost in the last three weeks. Where the show takes the channel should be an interesting watch.

Media professionals are of the opinion that much of these trends were really expected and are leading to redefinition of the Hindi entertainment TV genre. Lodestar Universal۪s Nandini Dias said, “STAR Plus has been on a decline for the last 18 months and ZEE TV has been growing in the last 10 months – the numbers may not be dramatic but that really is the trend. It is not that we are seeing something new. What however would be interesting to watch out for is how the equations change going forward with this flurry of new shows across the channels.”

It will be interesting to see what happens over the coming months as ZEE TV continues with its revamp mode – with a new daytime programming line-up. How this will affect current market leader STAR Plus will be one to watch.