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Zee TV eyes to strengthen 10 pm slot with 'Connected Hum Tum'

By Prachi Srivastava , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | June 05, 2013
The channel has launched Indian adaptation of Israel's 'Connected'. The show is being produced by Disney UTV in India.

Ajay Bhalwankar

Akash Chawla

Anita Kotwani

Dhirendra Singh

After successfully launching home-grown non-fiction properties like Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and Dance India Dance, Zee TV has launched an Indian adaptation of the Israeli format, 'Connected', in India. Titled, 'Connected Hum Tum', the programme is produced by Disney UTV and hit the small screen on June 3.

With this format, the channel has taken a plunge into something which it claims has never been attempted before on Indian television. Connected Hum Tum is a 'women's peep show', where six ordinary women from different walks of life, who have shot the videos themselves, share their private moments on national television.

The show replaces 'Badalte Rishton ki Dastaan' that has moved to the 11 pm slot. The six women in Connected Hum Tum feature Malishka Mendonca (Red FM RJ), Preeti Kochar (dentist and belly dance instructor), Pallavi Barman (brand manager with Diesel), Mahima Chaudhary (aspiring actress), Sonal Giani (LGBT activist with Humsafar Trust) and Madhavi Mauskara (language expert and corporate trainer).

Ajay Bhalwankar, head, content, Hindi GECs, ZEEL, says, "The core idea at the heart of 'Connected Hum Tum' is to bring families together by demystifying relationships. In studying the mind space of six women at different crossroads in life, Zee TV gives the audiences a chance to understand the psyche of today's Indian woman, thereby, understanding the women in our own lives better."

Talking about the marketing activities of the show, Akash Chawla, marketing head, national channels, ZEEL, informs, "We started promoting the show on digital media instead of traditional media and are looking forward to engaging with the youth through the medium."

According to Chawla, it has been challenging and extremely interesting to promote the show that is being hosted by actor Abhay Deol. "We have promoted the show through Google hangouts, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but not in the conventional way. For instance, if one goes to the YouTube page of the show, the viewer can actually follow the complete life track of the participants. We have also targeted the blogger community and have done activities online to engage with the viewers. After the first episode, the feedbacks that we have got from our social media tools are very encouraging."

The show has been promoted extensively on all the channels of Zee network, along with cross-channel promotion on various news channels and music channels. The channel has also tied up with the leading DTH operators including Dish TV to generate buzz about the show that is being aired Monday to Friday at 10 pm.

Zee TV will also conduct BTL activities in the second phase of its marketing campaign to maintain sustenance as the show is slated to run for 65 episodes.

Talking about the sponsorship deals of the show, Ashish Sehgal, chief sales officer, ZEEL, tells afaqs! that the show has got on board a few associate sponsors and hopes to lock the deal for powered by and title sponsors soon. "It is not like a daily fiction show or like a complete non-fiction property, so it's a bit tricky to close sponsorship deals. But, we are selling the inventories at a premium cost."

But will such a format work? Anita Kotwani, principle partner, Mindshare, believe one will have to wait and watch. "I am happy that the channel has experimented with a new genre and has tried to get away from the mundane and usual concepts but as of now, it's a wait and watch situation in terms of its acceptance with the audience. From a media agency's point of view, we will take notice of the show's performance and then think of making an investment into a genre that has never been tried before and is neither fiction nor non-fiction."

Dhirendra Singh, AVP, BPN, avers, "It's a new concept and Indian audience have not experienced this kind of non-fiction format. It is this different format of the show that will attract first time viewers. But the content will decide whether consumers will hold on to this show." Singh felt the other challenge is the show's timing. The programme will compete with well-established fiction shows like 'Pyaar ka Dard' on Star Plus and 'Uttaran' on Colors that have good viewership. In such a scenario, content will play a vital role in fascinating the audiences and making them stick to the show, he opines.

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