Big CBS Spark Punjabi gears up with local content

By Raushni Bhagia , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | May 21, 2012
The channel is set to launch four reality shows, Big Boli Star, Top 20 Countdown, Saj Dhaj Ke and Big Memsaab. It will concentrate on non-fiction programming for the first six months.

Spark Punjabi, the Punjabi general entertainment channel offering of the Big CBS group, is ready to launch local content on the channel. Launched in January, 2012, Spark Punjabi is a dedicated international Punjabi channel. So far, it has aired only international content dubbed in Punjabi. With this, the channel will introduce about two hours of local content on a daily basis, July onwards.

The channel is set to launch four reality shows and will also air two awards nights (Punjabi Music Awards and Punjabi Entertainment Awards).

Spark Big CBS

The first show, Big Boli Star, is a talent hunt to pick the best boliyaan (a traditional Punjabi folk art) singers and will be launched on June 3. Shortly after that, Punjabi Music Awards will be aired on June 10.

Other shows in the pipeline are Top 20 Countdown, Saj Dhaj Ke and Big Memsaab. Saj Dhaj Ke is a fashion-based show, wherein a local celebrity will discuss the latest fashion statements, while Top 20 Countdown is a regular countdown show. Big Memsaab is a women's talent show.

Big Memsaab and Big Boli Star, the two talent hunt shows, are being auditioned on-ground in six major markets including Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Chandigarh and Jammu. The production cost of these shows is about Rs 1.5-2 lakh per episode, as per the industry sources (generally, the cost for such shows on a regional channel may go up to Rs 3.5 lakh).

Anand Chakravarthy

It is learnt that the channel will initially concentrate on reality based content for the next six months. Subsequently, it may look to produce fiction series as well. For the next two quarters, the channel will focus on establishing its foothold in the three genres - international content, music shows (during day time) and reality shows. Also, the channel may acquire Punjabi movies, once the local content is in place.

The movies programming block on Big Magic, Superhit Cinema, will be extended to Spark Punjabi as well.

Anand Chakravarthy, executive vice-president and business head, Big Magic, says, "When we launched, we were focussing on establishing the channel as a general entertainment channel in Punjabi. Most of the regional channels in this region concentrate on religious or musical content. Now that we have seen an opportunity to introduce local content, we have consciously decided to start off with the reality genre."

The channel has stretched out a 360 degree marketing campaign that includes out of home, wall wraps, viral SMS campaign, social media, along with in-house TV and radio platforms across 22 cities in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh.

The channel has taken on board ICICI Bank, Idea Telecom, Nirvana Green and Diza Jewellery as sponsors for Big Boli Star.

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