Planners give thumbs up to Fame Gurukul's emotional mix

By , agencyfaqs! | In Media Publishing | May 11, 2005
Media planners feel that with its Indianised version, Fame Gurukul has got the potential to get new sets of viewers for Sony

Since both 'Indian Idol' and 'Fame Gurukul' belong to the reality programming and talent hunt genre, a comparison naturally comes to mind.

But then, the format of Fame Gurukul - Sony's upcoming reality show - is different from its popular predecessor. Primarily, Indian Idol was a hunt for singing talents, while Fame Gurukul will look for a complete performer, who can sing as well as dance on stage.

The difference between the programmes notwithstanding, the industry is eager to know whether Sony can do an encore with Fame Gurukul. As Amin Lakhani, director, CTG, Group M, says, "Indian Idol took the benchmark of success to a higher level. I have my doubts on whether Fame Gurukul will be as successful as Indian Idol." Lakhani, however, feels Gurukul will certainly deliver better TVRs than the average Sony shows.

As per TAM Media Research (C&S, 4+, Hindi Speaking Markets), Indian Idol reached an all-time-high TVR of 8.11 in episode 25. The show also changed Sony's viewer demographics. Prior to Indian Idol's launch (the last four weeks of Indian Idol's pre-launch), some 62 per cent of the channel's viewers were females. In the last four episodes of Indian Idol, male viewers comprised 47 per cent of its total viewership base.

Kajal Malik, regional director, OMS Bangalore, says, "That 'Fame Academy' will hunt for a singer as well as a performer in the eventual winner will act as an advantage for the show."

According to Malik, the entertainment industry has evolved where singers are also trying to be great performers on the stage, so are aspiring talents. One of the great examples is the popularity of Shiamak Davar Institute for Performing Arts even in smaller towns across in India. She says, "The format will lead to mass participation for the show which, in turn, can build a wide viewership base."

However, she puts in a word of caution. "Viewers related with the real life contestants on Indian Idol. They cried and laughed with the contestants of the show. To be successful, Gurukul needs to have the same amount of emotions and drama as Indian Idol. The emotional moments that are captured on the camera will decide the fate of the show," she says.

Lakhani of Group M, says, "The positive aspect of Fame Gurukul is that the show will have many variations, in spite of being a talent hunt show." He also feels that Sony has been in a hurry to launch 'Fame Gurukul' as viewers have still not come out of the hangover of Indian Idol.

Lakhani may have his doubts, but a Delhi-based media planner puts in a contrarian view. "Fame Gurukul starts at the point where Indian Idol started reaching its peak TVRs," he says. "If one closely studies the viewership of Indian Idol, the TVRs of the show started rising after the episode 16 and 17, when the final ten participants were selected."

According to this planner, it's at this point when the final contestants were grilled as well as appreciated and encouraged by the judges. These episodes were full of drama and emotions, which were duly reflected in the TVR charts. In episode 16, the TVR was 5.45, it went up further to 6.07 in episode 18. Since then, TVRs for the show had constantly risen.

Fame Academy, interestingly, will start off with 14 final contestants who will be trained, grilled and also morally supported by the trainers and the judges. The episodes will be undoubtedly full of emotion and drama.

Debraj Tripathy, general manager, Maxus Delhi, is hopeful that the show will do well. He says, "Fame Gurukul has every potential to garner viewership. The show is much more Indian and will attract more traditional Indian viewers and also small town viewers."

An aspect that had created hype around Indian Idol's viewership was aggressive marketing. Sony executives admit that the promotional budget for Fame Gurukul is not as high as that of Indian Idol.

But then, as Lakhani of Group M explains, "Marketing only helps bringing in viewers to the channel for the initial episodes. Even if Fame Gurukul is promoted across the Sony network, it will be enough to generate sampling for the show." Thakur of OMS adds, "It will be strength of the programming that will finally decide the fate of the show."

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