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Imagine's 'Zor Ka Jhatka' gets SRK back on TV

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | December 20, 2010
The channel will launch an Indian adaptation of the international reality show, Wipeout, with Shah Rukh Khan as the host.

Imagine TV, which is now part of the Time Warner stable, is ready to kick-start year 2011 with some serious 'Zor Ka Jhatka'. The channel, which currently struggles to get viewers on board, despite showcasing bold properties with the controversial Rakhi Sawant and more, has found its new brand ambassador in Bollywood's most lucrative asset, Shah Rukh Khan.

Come January-end, Imagine TV will launch a new game show, Zor Ka Jhatka, the Indian version of the international reality show, Wipeout. The channel plans to place the show, which will have Shah Rukh Khan as host, at 9 pm primetime from Monday to Thursday, and use it as the driver property to increase sampling, and consequently, its reach and awareness.

Speaking to afaqs!, Sameer Nair, CEO, Turner General Entertainment Networks India says, "Until now, there were budgetary limitations; but with the Time Warner acquisition, we are ready to almost triple our investments in programming and marketing. We are putting in a huge scale to this new game show with the thought that it will help increase our channel viewership with intense counter programming at primetime and reopen the belly of primetime."

Nair further notes that while 2010 was high on ideas, it did not translate much in terms of reach and awareness. "Also, while we wanted our fictions to do well, we could not do much good (though I believe our properties are not lacking anywhere in content, when compared to shows on other GECs), because of less channel sampling. We are confident that the new show, along with SRK, will pull in new viewers to the channel and help our viewership base grow," he states.

Produced by Endemol India, the original version of the show has been aired across 22 countries including the USA, the UK and Australia. In India, Zor Ka Jhatka will run for four weeks through 16 episodes with 28 TV stars as participants. The contestants on the show are: Akashdeep Saigal, Amit Sareen, Ashima Bhalla, Bhakhtiyaar Irani, Claudia Ciesla, Debina Bonnerjee, Dimpy Mahajan, Gaurav Chopraa, Gracious D' Costa, Hanif Hilal, Jennifer Winget, Karishma Tanna, Krushna Patil, Kushal Punjabi, Manas Katyal, Manoj Kumar, Mink Brar, Narayani Shastri, Natasha Suri, Payal Rohatgi, Priyadarshani Singh, Raja Chaudhary, Rohit Verma, Simran Kaur Mundi, Sonika Kaliraman, Annie, Vindu Dara Singh and Vrajesh Hirjee.

As per the show format, Shah Rukh Khan will take these stars out of their comfort zone, to compete with each other on the obstacle course in Argentina. At stake is prize money worth Rs. 1.5 crore, including a mega cash prize of Rs 50 lakh for the winner of the finale.

Deepak Dhar, from Endemol India, the production house for Zor Ka Jhatka says in an official communiqué, "Wipeout has been a raging success in every country where it has been aired. At Endemol, we pride ourselves on creating cutting edge, wildly entertaining shows for television viewers in India. We're very excited to partner with Imagine on this show and are certain it will get the same response that it already has worldwide."

While the media promotion plan for the show is still to fall in place, Imagine TV intends to dominate every media platform with the promotional buzz of its newest property.

Speaking to afaqs!, Nikhil Madhok, senior director - marketing and communications, Imagine TV says, "In the last 18 months, there has been too much clutter and noise across the Hindi GEC genre. And the scale of competition in the space too has been aggressive. So, we needed more money to create that buzz. Now with Turner putting in the money, we are ready to go aggressive."

"Zor Ka Jhatka will be our biggest investment in marketing since our launch promotions in January 2008. We plan to promote the show across at least 30 channels outside our home channel (Imagine TV) and use Hindi and regional print media uncompromisingly to go deeper, and thus, maximize our reach," he adds.

Additionally, Imagine TV plans to use out-of-home in a big way, and also include audio-visual promotions along with hoardings. Single-screen theatres and multiplexes will also be used to reach out to the target group - the 6-60-year-olds and the family audience.

"We will also use the internet intensely to capture international eyeballs, since Imagine is also beamed in countries like the US, the UK and Dubai, and SRK is also very famous in these places," Madhok says.

For the record, Imagine TV, now an offering from the Turner General Entertainment Networks India Private Limited - TGEN - (a Time Warner Company), has signed a multiple-airing deal with Endemol for Zor Ka Jhatka. "If the first season does well, we will get into new seasons," Madhok states.

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