The X Factor, the international format singing reality show with its roots in the UK, has found its new home in India.
Sony Entertainment Television (SET) has acquired the rights to telecast the Indian version of the show from FremantleMedia Production, the license holders to the format, in a multi-year bipartite deal.
To be produced by Fremantle India Television Productions, the show will be launched during the last leg of the IPL, and will be marketed heavily during the tournament.
The X Factor will be divided into three phases - the auditions, participant grooming and the final Gala round. "The Gala round will be a biweekly event on the channel, occupying the prime time slot," says Ajay Bhalwankar, head, programming, Sony Entertainment Television, in conversation with afaqs!. The channel is yet to decide on the show's time slot.
"The first phase of the show's marketing campaign looks at the call for audition and will primarily take the BTL (below-the-line) and print route. It will be on during February and March. Later, eight weeks before the launch, the show will be promoted heavily across all media platforms," informs Danish Khan, vice-president and head, marketing, Sony Entertainment Television.
Unlike the channel's flagship singing reality property Indian Idol, the new show does not put a cap on the participants' age.
"Every contestant over the age of 16 years can enter the auditions. Divided into three categories (16-25 years, above 25 years, and individual groups), candidates will be screened for their singing talent, attitude and star quality," informs Bhalwankar.
Also, unlike Indian Idol, the contestants on this show will have mentors. There will also be solo participation, along with duets and groups, he says.
Meanwhile, Sony is expected to bring back the new season of Indian Idol shortly after The X Factor comes to a close.
To be hosted by Aditya Narain, The X Factor's auditions are being carried out across seven cities - Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Indore, Mumbai and Nagpur. Singer Sonu Nigam will be a part of the jury.
The X Factor, which started in September 2004, is a British television singing competition contested by aspiring singers drawn from public auditions. So far, the show has been licensed to more than 30 countries.