From Roadies to Splitsvilla, Rush to Coke Studio, MTV has been on its toe and experimented with variety- which is a demand of its core target audience, the youth. With a promise to bring something new to its viewers, MTV is foraying into comedy reality, a genre which it has never tried earlier. Meanwhile, following two successful seasons of MTV Drive with Nano, the channel has now organised a social road trip for bikers.
The series will document his journey as he expresses his take on various topical events including cricket, films, TV, music and fashion. He will be seen reconnecting with his old Bigg Boss 'frenemies', making a music video on Mumbai and styling an IPL team.
After its launch on July 14, the show will be aired every Sunday at 7 pm. The channel has associated with Swipe's Fablet for the show.
Talking about the show, Aditya Swamy, EVP and business head, MTV India, says, "We have trademark shows like Roadies and Splitsvilla, then we launched Rush last year, which was a 13-part film in an edgy and fast-paced thriller format. This time round we thought of doing something which is really funny and, hence, we are getting into comedy reality; something we have never dabbled with before. It's on the thin edge of reality and fiction."
Currently, MTV airs Splistsvilla and with the addition of 'Time Out with Imam', 'Soun Trippin' and 'Coke Studio', the channel will be airing four original shows in this quarter. It is pertinent to note that the channel airs music for 12 hours a day (7 am-7 pm).
Talking about the kind of research carried out before finalising on the format of Time Out with Imam, Swamy adds, "We are very active and large on social media. We took the real time feedback and what we saw was that 70 per cent people following Imam were of age less than 25 years. Also, Imam stands for different kinds of things like fashion, glamour, music and celebrity which are high on youth data. Though the concept was lukewarm, when we exposed it to youth, they were in splits, laughing, talking about it. Their body language was encouraging for us to do something like this."
The channel is going all out to promote the show. While there will be promotions across Viacom18 network channels, the show will also have huge digital drive, not only on MTV's website but also on Colors' website.
Taking an innovative and cost-effective way, the channel has organised flash mobs in many cities across the country. In confluence with Imam's personality, MTV will promote the show through rickshawalas in Mumbai, wherein 500 rickshawalas and promoters will sport Imam masks.
The channel will also connect with its audience through the launch of a new app, Imamogram, which will help fans say something bold and cheeky to anyone they want with a personalised message delivered by Imam himself. The series will see real time radio integration in an episode.
Swamy says, "We are using technology in a big way to promote the show. Unlike GECs, we don't have exorbitant amounts to spend on marketing the show. Hence, we have to think out-of-the-box to create awareness. We are using our own network channels and other lower cost media to promote Timeout with Imam. "
Meanwhile, MTV has also come up with yet another social travel show, this time for bikers. Called 'Chase the Monsoon', this will be a 21-day biking road trip where contestants will set out with their partners to explore sights, scenes and lifestyle during Indian monsoons, albeit on a limited budget. MTV has got tyre manufacturer CEAT as its lead sponsor for the show (http://chase.mtvindia.com).
Participants can form a team with one of their Biker Buddies or their better half and register as a couple to qualify for the road trip. A final selection of three teams and one couple will set out for the 21-day road trip on July 23.
The entire journey will be documented by MTV's production team and shared across various social platforms on a daily basis. Postings will comprise photographs, videos and textual updates. MTV plans to telecast four episodes of the road show on TV as well. Besides, it will also use video snippets from the teams' day to day activities to promote the social trip on TV.
This is MTV's second social road trip after the broadcaster partnered Tata Nano to launch the second season of the social travel show, Drive with MTV, in May. MTV claims that the first season of Drive with MTV, held in 2012, garnered 1 to 2 million video views across platforms that include MTV's YouTube channels and its other web properties. The recently concluded second season received around eight million video views, with five million coming only from YouTube.
Speaking to afaqs! on the need of doing another social road trip for the channel, Ekalavya Bhattacharya, head, digital, MTV India, states that this format of a reality show works wonderfully well on the web and not many brands and channels have explored this format to its full potential in India.
"This social road trip will be very different from what we do in Roadies. In Roadies, it's more about the tasks than the trip but here, it will be the other way around. Moreover, this time we decided to do it for bikers because many feel that riding in rains is not safe. That's why we have CEAT as a partner who wanted to spread the message that riding in rains is fun and not a threat," Bhattacharya adds.