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Amrita TV's new launches set to marry quality with popularity

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | August 11, 2009
The Malayalam GEC sets out to attract eyeballs with a brand new fiction and quiz show, as well as new seasons of its music and dance reality shows

The Malayalam general entertainment channel (GEC), Amrita TV is set to launch two shows in the coming weeks. A fiction show titled Ulladakkom, and a quiz show named The Q Factor 2009 will soon go on-air on the channel.

These launches come on the heels of new season launches of popular music-dance based reality show -- Super Star-2 and women focused show called Vanitha Rathnam-3 -- which went on-air last month.

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Commenting on the new programming mix, Sudhakar Jayaram, chief executive officer, Amrita TV, says, "For us, the guiding principle in devising a programming mix stems from the objective of marrying class, quality and sensibility with popularity. Most of the channels in the regional space bank upon a mix of movies and fiction shows to attract audiences. But for us, reality shows have really worked well, and thus, we offer a mixed palette of shows, appealing to a large segment of the population."

The quiz show, Q Factor 2009, will, in the course of 40-43 episodes, see 32 teams facing questions related to general knowledge, movies, sports, literature and mythology. As of now, the quiz has been divided into seven stages, where a few contestants get eliminated at each stage. Some of the rounds are titled Double Trap, Master Piece, Picture Perfect and Scientific Minds.

For instance, Double Trap is a buzzer round, where contesting teams have to answer queries related to a particular visual shown to them. Another round, Scientific Minds will see participants answering queries related to subjects such as physics, chemistry, mathematics, inventions, discoveries, instruments, scientific organisations, popular awards and famous personalities.

The fiction show, Ulladakkom promises to be a poignant tale of a resolute young girl Uttara, battling the tag of being an illegitimate child. The show sets out to capture the stigma and ostracism that the girl has to face.

The fiction show Ulladakkom will go on-air on August 17. Both Ulladakkom and Q Factor 2009 will support and supplement the fresh editions of reality shows, Super Star-2 and Vanitha Rathnam-3.

Super Star-2, telecast from Monday to Friday, boasts of celebrity singers such as Hariharan and Sadhana Sargam, who act as a source of inspiration on the show, which is meant to spot budding talented singers.

Similarly, Super Dancer-2 seeks to hunt for the best cinema, thematic and fusion dancers.

Jayaram shares that in Kerala, for years now, most television channels air serials in the 7:00- 8:30 pm time band, and reality shows between 8:30 pm and 10 pm. But Amrita TV has done just the reverse.

Experimenting with innovations in content and its placement, the GEC telecasts format-reality shows between 7:30- 8:30 pm and daily soaps in the 8:30-10:30 pm time band.

This move was aimed to create positive disturbance in the viewing habits of the audience and to push specific genres, considering who would be in-charge of the remote at a particular time in single TV homes.

According to Jayaram, since 70 per cent of the content is produced in-house, Amrita TV is able to implement highest quality control checks while producing a show. The success of reality shows hinges on the quality of talent; and the channel devotes both time and money to groom the participants on such shows.

As far as promotions of the shows are concerned, the channel head reveals that in case of reality shows, the on-ground auditions held in college campuses generate a lot of buzz for the property. Amrita TV does not believe in investing big bucks in marketing, as it believes that positive word-of-mouth is far more effective than hoardings announcing the arrival of a show.

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