It's raining crime shows on the Indian television space

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | September 16, 2013
While MTV is launching a show that focuses on cyber crime and cyber abuse, Zee Media has announced the launch of Crime Reporter, which gives tips on how to fight back.

Crime has always paid well on television and it has been an important genre for the general entertainment space for a long time now. Re-construction of crime incidents to spread awareness about the same entered the TV space through the news channels with shows like Sansani (STAR News, ABP News-2004) and Vardaat (Aaj Tak-2004). Criticism played its ground while the news channels got dramatic anchors for these shows to boost ratings.

MTV Webbed

MTV Webbed TVC

Crime Reporter

Aditya Swamy

It didn't take long for the genre to gear up on the general entertainment (GEC) band with Crime Patrol that appeared on Sony Entertainment Television (Sony) in 2003. Subsequently, Channel V got Gumraah (to focus on youth-based crime incidents) in 2012, closely followed by Savdhaan India on Life OK.

All the channels have tasted the genre (fictionalisation of real life crime incidents) at some point or the other. Consider Shaitaan on Colors, India's Most Wanted on Zee TV (the first such series on GEC), along with a few regional versions like Pyaar ya Dehshat and Police Files, two similar shows on Big Magic (focusing on crimes in UP and MP) and Crime Diary on ETV Marathi.

Now, youth entertainment channel MTV has brought MTV Webbed, in partnership with an NGO. The show will focus on creating awareness about the cyber abuse cases, highlighting the increasing rate of cyber crime. The channel has partnered with Cyber Crime Awareness Society (CCAS) to get to the core of these cases, in a 10-part series that started on September, 14. The show is an MTV India IP (intellectual property).

The show is the first initiative to go on-air under the channel's global social responsibility platform, MTV Act. Earlier, the channel had tied up with different NGOs for various CSR projects, albeit off-air.

MTV Webbed is based on the theme 'Think before you click'. Each episode of the show will be hosted by a different actor, including Jay Bhanushali, Siddharth Shukla, Karan Vir Bohra, Ritwick Dhanjani, Pratyusha Banerjee, Sana Syed, Priya Wal and singer Chang.

Aditya Swamy, EVP and business head, MTV India, says, "We have got aboard actors who have been born in the internet generation - they can relate to this in a better way. A generation of internet natives, they enjoy the benefits of being connected but what's changing is the dangers that this connectivity poses. The only way to protect yourself is to Think Before You Click."

To promote MTV Webbed, the channel has organised outreach programmes in 200 colleges, apart from the traditional campaign across TV, outdoor and radio. In the colleges, there were seminars organised about cyber abuse and the way it can be prevented. On CNN IBN, a debate focused on the increase in the number of cyber abuse cases and its prevention.

The channel may plan for a second season if the show receives a favourable response. MTV Webbed will be aired at the 7 pm Saturday slot and replace Splitsvilla 6, which ended in the previous week. "That is our prime time slot," adds Swamy.

It is learnt that 2012 saw 47.9 per cent cyber forgery and 39.1 per cent cyber fraud being reported under the IPC category for cyber crimes. Under the IT Act, hacking with computer systems, with 49.2 per cent, and obscene publication/transmission in electronic form, with 32.6 per cent, were the main cases.

Milind Agarwal, president, CCAS says, "In the last few years, we have seen an increase in the number of cyber abuses being reported. Most of the youngsters do not know how to tackle this issue and what precautions are to be taken. This show will act as a medium for us to reach out to the numerous victims of cyber abuse. Also, MTV enjoys a huge fan following amongst today's youth."

Meanwhile, Zee News has planned a show called Crime Reporter which will focus on real cases along with an analysis of how to prevent similar incidences. Crime Reporter will be featured on Zee News, Zee Uttar Pradesh Uttarakhand and Zee Madhya Pradesh Chhattisgarh from Monday- Friday at 11 pm, and on Zee Rajasthan Plus at 11:30 pm. The show will have national crime stories.

The show will give tips and guidance to viewers on how they can save themselves in difficult situations and how to counter criminal mentality. Naveen Kumar, a seasoned investigative journalist, will take the mantle of anchoring this show.

Kumar adds, "The show will be very different from those running on the general entertainment channels. This is not entertainment. We might reconstruct a few parts of the incident, but we won't fictionalise it."

The show will have a mix of dramatisation of some parts of the story, sting operations, investigative and hard core crime news. Each episode will feature either one big news of the day or 3-5 smaller important crime news incidents of the day. Kumar explains, "At the end of the day, many people want to watch a show which can give in-depth information about the major crime stories of the day. We don't have such compact crime bulletins as of now."

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