Star Dopahar shutting: Sports over Soaps

Star Dopahar ending…its reason, repercussions and what next…

Star Dopahar shutting: Sports over Soaps

**phone rings**

Source: Boss, Star Dopahar shutting…

IndianWikiMedia: Wait what? Pakka (sure)?

Source: Yes bhai…lock kardo…

IndianWikiMedia: All shows? And why?

Source: Yes, sab ke sab…baki aap dekhlo (yes all shows you fathom). Par yeh to hona hi tha (this was meant to happen)…

** beep beep beep: hangs up**

Information coming in and out at the IndianWikiMedia editorial desk is a norm. However, Star Dopahar wrapping up made for some good newsbreak. We did go on to dig deep into the info and flashed the news, which led to surprise and shock among many.

However, what caught our attention was the source’s prophetic statement, “yeh to hona hi tha”.

On deliberating a bit, we could see it coming.

Star TV as a network was betting high and all on IPL. Its leadership team cumulatively focusing energies to bag the prized possession from rival network Sony Pictures. And it did leap in happiness after shelling out some swashbuckling, mindboggling insane amount of monies…over 16000 crores to win IPL media rights. Star top boss mentioned in an interview of IPL coming to rightful home of cricket, which some might agree and others won’t, but it has become evident that sports has taken precedence over daily soaps in Star’s strategy sheet.

The preparation to fill coffers for IPL purchase began early and Star Network, known for its deep pocket programming, started tightening its belt.

Says an industry source: “Any producer would love to work with Star, especially for daily soaps. They are great paymasters and open to experimentation. Yes, the timeframe from a show getting commissioned to actually going to floors takes time, but the wait is worth it. However, now the scenario has changed a bit and they have opted for cost cutting.”

The trimming began with bundling up of high cost Life OK projects and introduction of comparatively low per episode cost Star Bharat shows. The mandate seems to be clear, perform or perish, point in case Star’s much ambitious Aarambh (ending) and Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon 3 (put on ventilator).

The biggest victim of the change being Star Dopahar shows which are all wrapping up by 30 September.

“The channel was shelling out almost Rs 50 lakhs per day on the dopahar slot, and in return was garnering collectively 2 2.5 ratings, which is far from being impressive. How long one could continue? And with so much being spent on IPL purchase, it had to go,” adds the source.

The dopahar slot experiment seems to be going nowhere. Yesteryear shows like Kumkum, Swabhimaan, Shanti, Itihaas did bring in viewers in hordes; however, the success ratio with newer attempts is too low. Colors too in 2009-10, launched original content in the afternoon time band with shows like Saanjhi Dopahar, Agnipareeksha Jeevan Ki-Ganga and Aise Na Karo Vida.

For the uninitiated, it is not Star’s first attempt to revamp the afternoon band. In the past it had experimented with shows like Phool Kamal Ke, Shradhha and Star Vivaah, again not much to celebrate about. It did burn its finger in the past, yet continued with the belief of the afternoon slot having its own audience.

May be there is…may be if the shows would have continued airing it would see a gradual rise in reach and ratings, after all, any experiment  takes time to show results. Star Dopahar ending is not entirely about less ratings or bad programming, it’s a result of a choice made, it’s about sports over soaps.

“Times are changing. The content space is evolving rapidly. One has to stay relevant and give audience what they want. Star has always believed in good content and has experimented as an organization. It is evident that they given paramount importance to digital space (Hotstar) and sports. Its GEC programming too is seeing a tectonic shift. I feel they are juggling with concepts and content, budget is not really an issue. Salman Khan is making a show for them, and I am sure he doesn’t charge peanuts,” smiles and shares another industry veteran on grounds of anonymity.

Well, the four dopahar shows which are ending are Kya Qusoor Hai Amala Ka, Ek Aastha Aisi Bhee, Dhaai Kilo Prem and Love Ka Hai Intezaar. Had the afternoon slot worked, it would have led to mirror programming in other channels, leading to more shows and job opportunities. When an experiment goes wrong, it shakes the core belief to a certain extent. Having said that, experiments must continue and as they say, ‘the show must go on’. Star did drop the hat a bit early, may be some other GEC can pick up the afternoon mantle and achieve what Star couldn’t. Until one goes the full hog, it would be difficult to map the full potential of afternoon band.

RIP Star Dopahar…when one door ends, many open. AMEN!!!

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