ZEE bets on Business Baazigar to bring in the masses

By , agencyfaqs! | In Media Publishing | March 14, 2005
Media planners advise ZEE to be aggressive with its marketing strategy to make this show a success

Industrialists Kumar Mangalam Birla and Subhash Chandra Goel are going to make their television debut soon. & #BANNER1 & #

That's right. Both these seasoned corporate gladiators are going to judge participants of ZEE's soon-to-be-launched reality show 'Business Baazigar'. The show is likely to begin its run by March-end on Fridays and Saturdays at 9.00 pm.

According to ZEE executives, the show is a new concept among Hindi general entertainment channels. In the show, 50 participants will be subjected to several real life challenges and tests with limited time and money.

For instance, reaching a destination by spending just Rs 20, where normally it requires Rs 200, could be one of the challenges. Abhijit Saxena, president, ZEE TV, says, "Our show is not restricted to the studious. There will be 39 cameras to capture every moment of this reality programme. And, these real life experiences of the participants will certainly bring entertaining elements in to the show."

Despite the claims, the concept of this reality show is not entirely new to Indian televiewers. 'The Apprentice', currently on-air on STAR World, has a similar story-line.

Saxena differs. "The Apprentice is a show for hardcore professionals and it's about getting jobs, whereas our show is on prospective entrepreneurs involving all class of people - from a housewife to a student to a professional," he says.

ZEE's intent in launching a reality show is understandable. Such programming, after the successes of Sony's 'Indian Idol' and ZEE's 'India's Best - Cinestar Ki Khoj', is clearly the latest buzzword in the Indian television industry.

Saxena, says "We are quite hopeful that the upcoming show will involve the entire family across all socio-economic groups."

ZEE has initiated separate promotional marketing strategies to target the male and female viewers. "While the on-air promos are targeted at women, outdoor campaign and below-the line activities are aimed at bringing in the male viewers. Even among the participants, we have 30-40 per cent women. This will create interest among both the male and female viewers," he says.

But not every one seems to be convinced with Saxena's logic. Anita Nayyer, executive director, Starcom Worldwide, feels that the on-air promos present the show as a business oriented show, where the business acumen of the participants are tested. "If it is so, I am not very sure whether such programmig can involve the entire family."

She adds, "Being a reality show, the show certainly has a novelty value. But as it is a business oriented reality show, I have doubts on its reaching out to the masses." However, she also feels that as the show goes on air, the sampling will increase. "This will invite more mass viewers to the channel, provided the concept has some entertaining elements in it," she explains.

Sandeep Tarkas, chief executive, Media Direction, says, "Although the show looks promising, I will like to wait and watch to comment on this show. To be successful, every show needs to have strong production values backed with aggressive marketing. And going by ZEE's past record, I have my doubts."

He adds, " ZEE has never been aggressive with its marketing or promoting its shows. So the chances of sampling the show are also less."

Saxena defends. "We are aware of this fact and have thus reworked on our strategy. Although I cannot disclose the exact amount spent on promotions, we are spending substantial amounts to promote this show. The monies are more than what we spent on Cinestar Ki Khoj."

Another media planner offers a piece of advice to ZEE. He says, "The problem with ZEE is that the channel doesn't try to build on viewers from an existing successful show, which is unlike other general entertainment channels such as STAR Plus and Sony. In fact, the channel is launching Business Baazigar, four months after ZEE's India's Best - Cinestar Ki Khoj completed its final episode."

Nair of Starcom agrees. She says, "If Business Baazigar was launched at the time when India's Best was completing its final episodes, the scenario could have been different. ZEE would have been successful in retaining the viewership base created during India's Best."

Meanwhile, inspite of ZEE craving for success with yet another reality show, Saxena, doesn't want ZEE to be typecasted as a channel with only reality shows.

He says, "We plan to introduce specific shows for different TGs. For instance, in the early evening time-band, we have shows for kids. Moving ahead in the time band, we have shows for women and in the late evening, prime time-band, we plan to have shows for the entire family."

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