After the telecast of Jhalakk Dikhla Ja (Bangla) and Antakshari Premier League, ETV Bangla, the Bengali general entertainment channel, is now all set to launch another reality property, Bigg Boss, for the Bengali market.
In what is being seen as a wise move by some media planners, the channel will also launch two new fiction properties on the back of this popular reality show. The major prime time slot between 8 pm and 10 pm will thus see a major revamp on the channel.
On June 17, Bigg Boss' launch will be preceded by the premier of a blockbuster Bengali movie, Muktodhara, at 5.30 pm, followed by the first episode of the show at 8.30 pm.
June 18 onwards, the channel will launch two fiction properties, Dui Prithibi (a young girl's journey to the helm of politics) at 8 pm and Biyer School (the story of a man's endeavour to save the constitution of marriage) at 9.30 pm. Interestingly, Biyer School has a male protagonist. Though the channel claims it to be a family show, planners and buyers agree that the show will get a very high rub-off of Bigg Boss in terms of male audiences.
It may be noted that Network18 has extended the property to ETV Kannada for the Karnataka market early this year. The highest rated episode of Bigg Boss' Kannada version has gone up to 7 TVRs as of date.
Ravish Kumar, executive vice-president, Viacom18 and business head, regional channels, ETV Bangla, admits that the channel is trying to keep one reality property alive through the year. He adds, "We are planning to build that kind of line-up which has a mix of both fiction and non-fiction, even on weekdays. None of the competition channels, at present, have a reality property on weekday primetime band. Non-fiction gives an element of freshness and the engagement is higher."
He adds that the fiction line-up is equally important as it helps in bringing the appointment viewing and builds repeat value.
Meanwhile, Kumar agrees that shows like Bigg Boss are costlier as compared to other shows on regional channels, but it is the need of the hour. Though he decided to remain tight-lipped on the financial details, media planners and buyers suggest that the channel expects about 40-60 per cent higher ad rates for the property.
Generally, GECs in the Bengali market sell weekday evening prime time slots at the rate of Rs 8000-10000 for a 10-second slot.
The channel has taken on board Mithun Chakraborty to host the show and reveals that he was the first choice. The actor enjoys huge popularity in the region and has already appeared on Dance Bangla Dance, which has worked wonders for Zee Bangla.
The channel is very confident of the property and is already planning to bring in the second season in the market. Meanwhile, the property is being promoted heavily in the state. Along with about 98 hoardings and billboards across Kolkata, a canter van was flagged off on June, 8 and will cover about 1,500 km across 30 cities in West Bengal.
More than 1000 spots have been placed on channels outside the network (Network 18 and ETV channels) as a part of cross-promotion deals. These channels include news, movies and music channels. Apart from this, five radio channels have been tapped, including Big FM, Radio Mirchi and Aakash Bangla.
On June 17, there will be full page (mostly front page) ads in newspapers such as Anandabazar, Telegraph, Ebela and Bartaman, apart from few other publications in the state. Other marketing activities include an exclusive website, SMS marketing and online voting, alongside heavy promotions on social media websites.
The channel has got Raja Biscuits as the title sponsor, while the footwear brand Paragon has come on board as the powered by sponsor. ETV Bangla expects to close four deals for associate sponsors by Monday.