Loading…
Ormax Media Pvt. Ltd.

Where are the mothers?

Where are the mothers?

Where are the mothers?

Popularity share of HGEC female protagonists in the highly-relatable motherhood life-stage has declined significantly over the last six years. But there's more to it than meets the eye
Published on February 15, 2023   •   5 mins read
Share this Insight
Summary
  • From 2016 to 2019, female characters in the highly-relatable life-stage 'Married with Kids' have lost popularity in the HGEC category
  • However, this trend is not a reflection of this character type being less appealing or relevant, but merely an outcome of category-level changes in HGEC fiction content over the last few years
  • Using timeline data from Ormax Characters India Loves, the authors establish an evident need gap available in the HGEC fiction space, that of launching more shows where the female protagonist is a mother right at the onset

Hindi General Entertainment Channels (HGECs) have typically followed a life-cycle pattern for lead female protagonists in their fiction shows. The journey of these female characters starts off as a young unmarried girl, with marriage happening within a year of the show’s launch, and then moves into the motherhood stage in about 2-3 years of launch. As per Ormax Characters India Loves (OCIL) data, in 2016, more than half (52%) of the female character popularity share in HGECs was held by characters who were in this motherhood stage, such as Ishita (Yeh Hai Mohabbatein), Akshara (Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai), Sandhya (Diya Aur Baati Hum), Daya (Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah) and Gopi (Saath Nibhaana Saathiya).

HGECOCIL.png

However, in an interesting trend, the share of popularity for female characters in the ‘Married with Kids’ life-stage dropped sharply from 52% to 33% from 2016 to 2019.

HGEC1.png

Is this significant drop reflective of a decline in audience appeal towards this life-stage?

According to our 2021 report 'And The Remote Goes To...', the median age of the family member who controls the TV remote on weekdays is 35 years, and has remained largely unchanged since 2012. A 35-year-old female viewer of HGECs in India is typically married, with 1-3 kids. Hence the ‘Married with Kids’ life-stage of a protagonist is extremely relatable for this core TG.

It can be safely concluded that since the life-stage of the core TG has not changed, in a category that thrives on audience relevance (vis-a-vis uniqueness, for example), the drop in popularity share of the ‘Married with Kids’ characters cannot be attributed to a change in audience appeal.

The drop, in fact, is driven by the evolution of HGEC fiction content in the 2016-2018 period. Long-running hit shows started going off-air, but most new launches failed to gain significant audience traction beyond a few months. Lead protagonists of these new launches started losing popularity share even before they could enter the ‘Married with Kids’ life-stage. In other words, the shows being churned out were not enduring enough to have a shelf-life that's needed (in the conventional unmarried-married-mother trajectory) for the motherhood stage to manifest itself in the story.

This is a huge need gap left under-served for a sizeable period of time. The strong appeal of the 'Married with Kids' life-stage is further exemplified by a dramatic revival of its popularity share in 2020. The share of characters in the motherhood life-stage jumped from 34% in 2019 to 62% in 2020, and then to 66% in 2021.

HGEC2.png
But this growth in share has been driven by a single character - Anupama. The show, launched in July 2020, is one of the rare HGEC shows where the motherhood life-stage was in play from day 1. Anupama was introduced as a 40+ mother of three.  Her immediate rise in popularity reiterated the relevance of this life-stage among HGEC audiences. She has, since then, gone on to become the most popular HGEC character, overtaking Jethalal (Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah), a male character also from the 'Married with Kids' life-stage!

Anupama1.png

If Anupama's popularity share is removed, the share of characters in the 'Married with Kids' life-stage drops dramatically, being less than a third of the 2016 level in 2022.

HGEC3.png
Till 2016-17, the idea behind launching shows with younger protagonists was to get the younger female audiences on board, as they generally displayed higher propensity to sample new content, compared to older audiences. Since TV is a family-viewing medium, the mothers would start watching with the daughters, and by the time the marriage phase started, they would be significantly invested in the show. The subsequent motherhood stage enhanced their relatability with the show, helping the show sustain for a few more years thereon, even if some of the younger audiences had moved out by then.

However, with audience cynicism around fiction content being becoming a major factor 2017 onwards, most shows are not afforded the luxury of time to build upon and execute this character trajectory. Anupama has shown an alternative route, where a show can cut out the first two stages of the life journey altogether, and launch directly in the third stage, i.e., motherhood. The need gap and the opportunity is clear and present. Every 'Married with Kids' show cannot be Anupama. But it's almost certain that shows that start in the 'Unmarried' life-stage will struggle to be blockbusters anytime in the near future.

Hindi GEC Characters Ormax Characters India Loves
Share this Insight

Authors

Keerat Grewal

Keerat Grewal

Keerat joined Ormax Media in 2009, and has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth since its early years. In her current role, she’s in charge of business development and account servicing for key business partners in the television, streaming, print, radio and branded content categories. She liaises with them on solutions that help them solve important business problems in the areas of content, marketing and business strategy.

Keerat has more than 20 years of experience in the Indian Media & Entertainment industry. Before Ormax Media, she was associated with the Times Group, Filmy and Reliance Entertainment. She holds an MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune.

Keerat is a keen Hindi GEC viewer, and enjoys exploring latest trends on social media. She is also deeply involved in the study of culture, religion and human psychology.

Keerat Grewal

Keerat joined Ormax Media in 2009, and has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth since its early years. In her current role, she’s in charge of business development and account servicing for key business partners in the television, streaming, print, radio and branded content categories. She liaises with them on solutions that help them solve important business problems in the areas of content, marketing and business strategy.

Keerat has more than 20 years of experience in the Indian Media & Entertainment industry. Before Ormax Media, she was associated with the Times Group, Filmy and Reliance Entertainment. She holds an MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune.

Keerat is a keen Hindi GEC viewer, and enjoys exploring latest trends on social media. She is also deeply involved in the study of culture, religion and human psychology.

Mitesh Thakkar

Mitesh Thakkar

Mitesh has been associated with Ormax Media in diverse roles since 2010. He currently heads the Content & Campaign Testing team, which is a part of the Products division in the company. He spearheads script, content and campaign testing projects across films, streaming and television categories as a part of his role. Additionally, he also oversees Bespoke Research projects, such as category and brand perception studies.

Mitesh has rich experience in qualitative research, and is widely recognised as one of the most experienced media researchers in India. He completed his Bachelor of Mass Media from Mumbai University, and PGDM from SIES College of Management Studies, Mumbai. He started his career in the television industry, where he worked in a digital marketing role at Zoom.

Mitesh loves sports, and loves to explore new travel destinations.

Mitesh Thakkar

Mitesh has been associated with Ormax Media in diverse roles since 2010. He currently heads the Content & Campaign Testing team, which is a part of the Products division in the company. He spearheads script, content and campaign testing projects across films, streaming and television categories as a part of his role. Additionally, he also oversees Bespoke Research projects, such as category and brand perception studies.

Mitesh has rich experience in qualitative research, and is widely recognised as one of the most experienced media researchers in India. He completed his Bachelor of Mass Media from Mumbai University, and PGDM from SIES College of Management Studies, Mumbai. He started his career in the television industry, where he worked in a digital marketing role at Zoom.

Mitesh loves sports, and loves to explore new travel destinations.

Related Insights

Synopsis Testing: Early content selection decisions using audience feedback

Synopsis Testing: Early content selection decisions using audience feedback

This product update explains the three stages of Content Testing in Ormax Media's work, i.e., Synopsis, Screenplay & Video, and the underlying benefits of testing at the synopsis stage in particular

Linear television: Is it future-proof?

Linear television: Is it future-proof?

Using Ormax Media's Seven Needs Model for the linear television category, the author attempts to ascertain if the medium can stay afloat amidst the growth of digital content

Breaking barriers: Hindi GEC women are no longer housewives!

Breaking barriers: Hindi GEC women are no longer housewives!

A staggering 80% popularity share of Hindi GEC female characters is now held by working women, up from less than 20% till 2020. Here's an analysis of this radical and progressive shift

Subscribe to stay updated with our latest insights Ormax Media Pvt. Ltd.

Subscribe to stay updated with our latest insights

Ormax Media Pvt. Ltd. Privacy Policy

We use cookies to improve your experience on this site. To find out more, read our Privacy Policy