MUMBAI: Daytime television, and the afternoon in particular, has long been a neglected slot dominated by program repeats, but the Star Plus channel intends to change that with the introduction of original programming, including a sequel to one of its most successful shows.

"We are looking at various ways to grow the category," Narayan Sundararaman, general manager, Star Plus, told Afaqs!, adding that the channel's research indicated there was "a sizeable audience available" in the afternoon, largely women who were only being offered repeats of popular shows.

Hence the idea of developing more original content aimed at this broad demographic. "Working women, young women, old women – there's a host of individual segments available in the afternoon and they all aggregate as the afternoon progresses," said Sundararaman.

"The consumer insight that we are building on is, women live a very busy life, juggling many roles. It is the afternoon when they get some 'me time' to unwind," he explained. "We want to capture that 'me time' with engaging stories."

The channel is not stinting on its investment in the four new shows it has planned, added Gaurav Banerjee, president and head content studio, Star India.

"We have not budgeted these shows less than our prime-time shows. We are not targeting lower ratings. We are not selling at lower rates. We are playing it big," he declared.

One media observer noted that the launch of the new shows at the start of April will coincide with the India Premier League, a time when women in single TV households frequently have to give up their favourite entertainment in the face of the cricket juggernaut.

But Banerjee was adamant that the IPL was not a factor. "IPL comes and goes; it's a matter of six weeks. But when our shows work, they work for years. So this move (afternoon slot) is not to escape any IPL onslaught."

The long-term aspect was also stressed by Sundararaman who said: "We think this will help us grow the time-band, audience and consequently, the category."

Data sourced from Afaqs!,; additional content by Warc staff