Decoding Colors Marathi’s 3X growth since 2015

Colors Marathi has doubled its viewership and ratings in the last two years on the back of 15 hours of programming. While most other players in the Marathi GE category have more than 32 hours of programming, Colors Marathi’s programming between 7 pm and 9.30 pm has been their main growth driver.

In an interaction with Adgully, Ravish Kumar, Head – Regional TV Network, Viacom18, speaks about the growth trajectory of Colors Marathi, especially since April 2018.

Channel growth

The channel has come a long way. We started our journey at around 60 GRPs and we have come significantly further since then. We have grown more than 3X since 2015 till now.

In April 2018, Colors Marathi had 108 GVMs. In February 2020, we reached 220 GVMs in the first two weeks. We have achieved that in a 2-year period. Similarly, if I look at GRPs, we’ve gone from 113 to 198 in that time period. Colors Marathi has grown its share of the Marathi GEC pie from 20 per cent in April 2018 to 30 per cent today.

We have the lowest hours of programming out of every channel out there. Colors Marathi has 15 hours of original programming in a week compared to almost 32 hours from our competitors. We have 5 shows which start at 7 pm and wrap up at 9.30 pm. That obviously means that growth has come on the back of our shows and that our success can be attributed to our storytelling.

We tend to be much stronger in rural viewership. In fact, in rural Maharashtra we are #1. In urban, we are a strong No. 2.

Programming strategy

We have 5 shows which start at 7 pm and wrap up at 9.30 pm. That obviously means that growth has come on the back of our shows and that our success can be attributed to our storytelling. We’ve had signature non-fiction properties. We’ve completed two seasons of ‘Bigg Boss Marathi’. Our mix of romantic family dramas and historical/ mythological has driven our success.

For Marathi GEC, we tend to do non-fiction on the weekdays, where we have at least one strip throughout the week, whereas, Hindi GEC tends to air non-fiction on the weekends. Since we have limited hours of programming – only 5 shows – it is a very small canvas we are painting on, but it is working very well.

Our top 3 shows are ‘Balumamachya Navana Changbhala’, which is currently our top rated show. It is followed by ‘Jeev Zala YedaPisa’, which is a romantic love story in a rural setting. The 3rd show is called ‘Raja Ranichi Ga Jodi’, which is also a romantic love story that has been shot in Sangli.

Bigg Boss Marathi Season 2

On VOOT, the hours of viewership for ‘Bigg Boss Marathi 2’ went up by 72 per cent, while the views went up by 21 per cent weekly. ‘Bigg Boss Marathi Season 2’ had 86.2 million views on VOOT.

If I look at TV, the total GVMs we aggregated – Season 1 was 346 GVMs and Season 2 was 508. If I distill that down to GVMs per week, on an average Season 1 was 23, Season 2 was 34. If I look at ratings, Season 1 was 1.1 and Season 2 was 1.6. Average show reach also went up – Season 1 was 4.3 per cent and Season 2 was 4.7 per cent. Time spent per show also went up from 27 minutes in Season 1 to 34 minutes in Season 2. The finale was much stronger – Season 1 was 16 GVMs and Season 2 was 25 GVMs.

Penetration in the Marathi GEC space

We have proven that there is room to grow. If you step back and look at Marathi language GRPs as a percentage of total GRPs in the state of Maharashtra, it has gone up from 23 per cent to 30 per cent. There is about 70 per cent which is still not there.

If I look at the top 5 channels in Maharashtra today, there was a time when Hindi used to dominate either the GEC or Hindi movies. Today, 4 out of the top 5 channels are Marathi channels and Colors Marathi, I’m happy to say, is the No. 2 channel.

The affinity to watch Marathi content has increased tremendously in this market. The existing players are putting better content out there and newer players are expanding the viewership pie. Whether it is Zee Yuva, Sony Marathi, Fakt Marathi or a Shemaroo Marathi Bana movie channel, all have helped grow the viewership of Marathi language content.

Effect on Hindi GEC viewership

However, total Marathi GRPs are not growing, so they are flat. Within that, the share of Marathi viewing will come at the expense of the other genres – whether movie, GEC, youth or news viewership.

Growth plans & potential of the Marathi market

Kannada has historically been a very strong channel for us as well. But from an advertiser’s point of view – and this being a priority P1 market – I would say that Maharashtra is a lot more valuable.

We have doubled our GRPs, but are still some distance away from our nearest competitor. Advertising has some lag effect and we will continue to see effects of our growth into this year.


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