Sony turns to the wilds

By Sapna Nair , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing
Last updated : July 07, 2009
The channel, which was revamped in May, is ready to roll out a new reality series, Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao

The Indian adaptation of ITV's format, 'I'm a celebrity. Get me out of here!' will debut this month on Sony. The channel, which was revamped in May, is hoping that the show will be its 'wild' card entry into the GRP game in which it has been left behind.

'Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao', the Indian adaptation, is set in the tropical forest of Malaysia. The show will feature 10 celebrities, who have given up the comforts and luxuries they're used to and are staying in camp-like surroundings, complete with hammocks, makeshift toilets, insects and snakes galore.

The format of the show is such that each day, trials or challenges are assigned to each individual and to groups. Two not-so-popular celebrities get nominated for the eviction round, wherein they fight to stay.

The show will replace Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega, which rates at an average 1.2 (TAM data for June 7-27, C&S 4+, HSM). Commencing on July 13, it will be telecast in the 10 pm slot, Monday to Thursday. The eviction episode will be aired every Friday at 9 pm.

Sony executives say that this is by far the biggest reality show from the logistics standpoint. "There are more than 300 people in the crew from various countries, and 45 cameras will keep vigil for two months," says Danish Khan, assistant vice-president and head - marketing, Sony.

Sony's revamped programming hasn't yielded any results yet. Shows such as Bhaskar Bharti and Ladies Special record an average TVR of 0.8 and 0.5, respectively. When quizzed about it, Gurdip Bhangoo, senior vice-president and head of programming, Sony, says, "For a channel which hasn't had any successful fiction show, we are heading in the right direction. We did not expect to rocket to the No. 1 position in just a few weeks. The first step was to create sampling on the channel."

He believes that in the 9-11 pm time band, the channel is doing reasonably well. And that the launch of this adventure reality show is a firm step in the right direction.

On the marketing front, the channel hasn't launched a mega campaign yet. "The format is such that none of the celebrities know which other celebrities are on the show. Hence, our promotional campaign cannot begin until they all land up in the jungle," Khan says.

The marketing plan will commence from July 9. With just five days to promote the show, the channel will use extensive outdoor and radio. Among other initiatives, blogs by the two hosts of the show, Mini Mathur and Yudi, fan pages on social networking websites and unseen footage on YouTube will be implemented.

First Published : July 07, 2009

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