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SET sets aside fiction in favour of reality

By , agencyfaqs! | In Media Publishing | August 09, 2006
Sony Entertainment Television plans to roll out a series of reality shows in the next quarter to pump up its prime-time programming


After 'Fear & #BANNER1 & # Factor', 'Fame Gurukul' and 'Indian Idol', Sony Entertainment Television (SET) is planning to launch its next bunch of reality shows to rev up its prime-time programming. It's bringing in some of the world's most popular formats to India this coming quarter, prominent among them 'Jhalak Dikhla Ja' and 'Big Brother'.

For a while now, SET has been churning out a lot of fiction based shows, such as 'Thodi Khushi Thode Gham', 'Vaidehi', 'Akela', etc. But now, it's back in the reality business.

'Jhalak Dikhla Ja' is based on a format owned by BBC and will be co-produced in India by Synergy Communications and Theatre Red. 'Big Brother' belongs to Endemol, which will also produce it in India.

'Jhalak Dikhla Ja' will feature a celebrity who has no talent for dancing whatsoever with an ace choreographer. SET promises to feature celebrities from all walks of life in the show, including from the worlds of cricket, television and films.

Interestingly, the show, which will go on air in September 2006, will be pitted against STAR One's popular 'Nach Baliye II, which is also scheduled to go on air then. But SET is undeterred by the popularity won by the first part of 'Nach Baliye'.

"The two shows are different, though, ultimately, they are dance competitions. The key difference, however, is that 'Jhalak…' is about super heroes or super achievers from a non-dance background," says Nina Elavia Jaipuria, V-P, marketing and communications, SET India.

In fact, Theatre Red was in talks with broadcasters for 'Jhalak…' even before STAR One came up with 'Nach Baliye'. But then 'Kaun Banega Crorepati II happened and the show got delayed.

Basu of Synergy is optimistic about the success of 'Jhalak…'. He does not deny the certain competition the show will face from 'Nach Baliye II'. "Let a hundred flowers bloom," he says phlegmatically.

However, close watchers of the industry such as Arpita Menon, vice-president, Lodestar Universal, are not quite as positive about the new show, considering the overwhelming success of 'Nach Baliye'. Menon says, "Though the concepts are a bit different, they have similarities. One can't overlook the huge equity attached with 'Nach Baliye' because of which 'Nach Baliye II' will have a head start on 'Jhalak…'."

She adds that SET's marketing and promotions have always been different and that could make a huge difference to its forthcoming offerings. She also foresees a lot of competition between SET and STAR One, both of which have been coming up with similar programming to appeal to a more male skewed audience.

Another media planner adds that 'Jhalak…' has its own unique propositions and may invite or give rise to a number of advertising opportunities, such as product integration, in the show. The same could also be true for the second season of 'Nach Baliye'.

'Big Brother' is about 12 celebrities, who will live together under one roof, with no privacy, devoid of an outside life, and, above all, watched throughout their stay (100 days) by the whole nation. One member will be eliminated at due intervals as the show progresses.

In certain countries, 'Big Brother' features ordinary people, while in others, it features celebrities. In India, SET has decided to rope in celebrities as participants. "The Indian viewer is in awe of celebrities," Jaipuria points out.

Rajesh Kamat, managing director, Endemol India, adds, "Fiction is no doubt the staple diet of the Indian viewer, while non-fiction comes in seasons. And when there are already so many reality shows, featuring celebrities in a good format show helps break the clutter." Nevertheless, he admits that featuring celebrities in reality shows has become a formula and may soon reach saturation.

Yet another reality show being planned by SET is 'Man Mein Hain Visshwas', which will feature real-life stories based on the idea that if you have faith, miracles can happen. Further details on this show are expected soon because SET plans to air it before the other two.

SET plans to implement a 360-degree marketing communications strategy, including advertising in cinema halls during the screening of 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna' and 'Lage Raho Munnabhai', promotions during college festivals and other on-ground activities.

© 2006 agencyfaqs!