afaqs!

What's Bingo's advantage?

By Mitra Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | January 22, 2010
National Bingo Night is a show which will involve even the viewer sitting comfortably at home. Will this interactivity start a new chapter for reality show in India?

We have had different kinds of reality shows on Indian television. Some with a celebrity host some without. Some are game shows and some are talent hunts where viewers can vote for their favourite contestant. But this one promises to be different. It not only involves the audience inside the studio, even viewers sitting comfortably at home can participate in this game show and win prizes. National Bingo Night on Colors will also have it glamour quotient as Abhishek Bachchan will host it. From January 23, the show will be aired very Saturday at 9 pm.

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So what would be the fate of this show? Will it redefine the television viewing in India on weekends? Though, the show has been well received in the US and Australia in their respective formats.

Ashvini Yardi, programming head, Colors, says, "The show has enjoyed super success in the foreign format and now, it has come to tickle the audience in an Indian version. Now, Saturdays will be fun on Colors as a variety of other shows are also planned for the weekend slot."

Two rounds of the number game, Bingo, will be played by the studio contestant as numbers are drawn from the 'Bingo Bubble'. The studio audience will predict the numbers and will match them with the tickets given to them.

Punitha Arumugam, group chief executive officer, Madison Media Group, says, "Bingo is a recognised concept that works in our daily life, in clubs, at picnics and even at kitty parties. It's a commoner's game and with a leading platform such as Colors and Abhishek Bachchan aboard, things can hardly go wrong.

Not many would know about it, but there was a show on InCablenet about nine years ago, known as Telehousie, where people played the game in a similar format. However, this time the show is at a national level. "The curiosity factor has definitely created a seethe," says Arumugam.

Nikhil Rangnekar, executive director, West, Starcom India offers his opinion, "Bingo seems like a new flavour on Indian television - never experimented before and of course, Abhishek Bachchan will be a crowd puller - so the opening TRPs should be good."

However, he says, "The fate of the show will only depend on how the young host will be able to engage the audience in the long run."

He offers a word of caution. "People in general have a tendency to get bored with everything right from family soaps to reality shows. After a while, even the number of people watching the show shrinks to a level where the show is forced to go off air."

Manas Mishra, head, Mudra Connext, adds, "The PR campaign for the show has begun and a lot of interest has been garnered from it. People always expect a lot from the movie stars, be it Govinda, who did Chhappar Phad Ke, or Salman Khan, who has just completed the second season of Dus Ka Dam. The quality of any product is judged after the consumption and success follows. People know what the show is all about as we all play Housie and have a broad idea of the concept. Now, only the content and the management of the show will decide its fate."

Telecom brand Idea, for which Abhishek is also a brand ambassador, has associated with the game show on Colors. The TV audience can get tickets through leading papers, SMSes by Idea customers and can also download tickets from the show's website, www.bingo.colorstv.in. The show will have 13 episodes.

Rameet Arora, head, marketing, Colors, talks about the strategy applied by the channel to advertise the show, saying, "The initial teasers played on the channel got a tremendous response from the viewers. Almost two million visitors logged on to the website. The tickets are also available at bus stops, railway stations, colleges and to all Idea customers via SMS. The tickets are free of cost."

"The outdoor publicity has also generated buzz about the show and Red FM has partnered with us in the promotional activity. The unusual idea of 'aaram' has made heads turn, drawing attention to the simplicity of the concept. We have publicised the show equally in 89 cities in India."

Celebrities such as Shah Rukh Khan, Karan Johar, Farhan Akhtar, Deepika Padukone, Arshad Warsi, Vidya Balan and the child actors of Balika Vadhu will also participate in National Bingo Night.