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Zee's new weekend line up brings dance and laughter

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | October 18, 2013
After launching a slew of weekday prime time shows, the channel has now announced two shows for the weekend evening prime time, a sitcom and a dance reality show.

Along with bringing its flagship dance reality show, Dance India Dance in its original form, Zee TV will also launch a sitcom, Bh Se Bhade after years. Come October 26, the channel will launch two of its properties for the weekend prime time between 8 pm and 10.30 pm.

Bh Se Bhade

Dance India Dance

Ashish Sehgal, Akash Chawla, Nitin Kenny, Ajay Bhalwankar, Mudassar Khan, Mithun Chakraborty, Jay Bhanushali, Shruti Merhcant and Feroz Khan at the launch of Dance India Dance 4

The cast of the show at the launch of Bh Se Bhade

It is learnt that the channel expects Rs 175-180 crore from DID's fourth season, spread over 34 episodes. With Maruti Suzuki continuing as the title sponsor of the show, an FMCG brand has been signed as the powered by sponsor. Out of the eight associate sponsors that are expected, the channel has signed up with WeChat and is in the process of finalising sponsors from confectionery, mobile handset, apparel, chocolate, commercial vehicle and food brands. The channel has upped the ad rates for the show by 35 per cent as compared to the previous season of DID. About 70-80 per cent of the inventory is sold out.

Ashish Sehgal, chief revenue officer, ZEEL, explains, "Dance India Dance is on the upper notch than all its editions (moms and others). Kids' versions have also done well in terms of viewership, but advertising is restricted for the kids' shows, in terms of the cola brands and the telecom brands being unable to participate. That's why monetisation is a little trickier than DID in its original form; else, Li'l masters would have made more money than DID."

Promoting 'Dance It Out' in the current season, DID will come in its original form (performers aged 15-25 years) after over a year. About 15 per cent of the total ad revenue generated by the channel comes from DID, informs Sehgal. He adds that despite being a perennial property, the show is never a challenge to sell, "the challenge is the pricing," he laughs.

The earlier season (DID3) was telecast between December, 2011 and April, 2012. Meanwhile, the channel launched various editions of the talent hunt show, Li'l Masters (4-13), Dance Ke Super Kids (that had winners of the two seasons of Li'l masters competing), Super Moms (mothers as participants) and Dance Ka Tashan (where winners of earlier DID seasons competed).

The show, this time, will promote social causes through different performances, though this might not be used for commercial benefits. While the channel claims that the original judge trio Geeta Kapur, Remo D'souza and Terence Lewis will remain an inseparable part of the DID family, the new season will also have new judges (called Masters) on the show, Mudassar Khan, Shruti Merchant and Feroz Khan.

When asked about the expectations from the show, Ajay Bhalwankar responds that currently, the slot (Saturday, Sunday 9 pm) gets about 4500 TVTs and this is expected to get doubled with 'Dance It Out'.

Also, ad-regulation to 12 minute per hour is not going to hurt DID in any way, Sehgal informs, since the advertising was always restricted to 12 minutes during the reality shows. The high impact properties are mostly sold out to sponsors and the scope of competition advertising is restricted.
Meanwhile, the channel will take the dancing show beyond television screens with online and on ground promotions. These streams will also be monetised. Advertisers can sponsor the on-ground events which will be spread across 10-12 cities in phase one, and later extended.

Akash Chawla, marketing head, Hindi channels, ZEEL suggests that the online and on ground channels are very important engagement platforms and will be used extensively. The online participants will be given an opportunity to get a wild card entry on the television show. "Ultimately television is the bigger platform," adds Chawla.

The channel is also promoting the show on traditional media with on-air promotions already started.

Meanwhile, Bh Se Bhade is a sitcom, following some others on the channel including Filmi Chakkar, Gubbare (1999), Hum Paanch (1995) and Ghar Jamai (1997). The show is about a common man, Mr Bhade, who is blessed with an awesome super power. Produced by JD Majethia's Hats Off Productions, the 52-episode series will precede Dance India Dance on Saturday and Sunday evening slots.

Bhalwankar, content head, Hindi GECs, ZEEL, adds that Zee has given many initiation points to the genre. "Dance India Dance gave a start point to many dancing reality shows and so did Fear Files for the horror genre. We expect that Bh Se Bhade will do the same for the sitcom genre of programming. Plus, it's tough to write sitcoms consistently. Even SAB TV has had a few failures though Taarak Mehta is their flagship property."

He adds that with Majethia and his perfect casting, the show will be loved by all age groups from 6 to 60. He suggests that casting too plays a very vital role in sitcoms.

Ambient media branding forms a very important aspect of the marketing plan for the sitcom. The primary targets are markets, theatres, colleges, transit media and auto rickshaws. The sabzi section of Big Bazaar will have placards with whacky one-liners like 'we cannot reduce the price hike of onions, but we will take away your problems'. The ads in auto rickshaws will have lines like 'we cannot control the speeding meter but we will take away your stress.' At bus panels there will be lines like 'we cannot reduce the increasing bus fares, but we will take away your problems' and on pole kiosks there will be creatives like 'we cannot reduce the increasing traffic, but we will take away your problems.'

Apart from this, the show will be marketed largely through promos on OOH screens at railway station ticket windows, Café Coffee Day outlets, McDonald's outlets, colleges, malls, residential areas and buses via outdoor screens.

The characters on the show are Bhade (Deven Bhojani), his wife Sushma (Sucheta Trivedi), his mother-in-law (Sarita Joshi), his son Sunil (Varun Khandelwal) and his daughter-in-law Menka (Bhavna Vyas).

The channel has got almost a new programming line-up, with a slew of show launches in the last couple of months that include Do Dil Bandhe Ek Dori Se, Ek Mutthi Aasmaan, Khelti Hai Zindagi Aankh Micholi, Punar Vivah - Ek Nayi Umeed, Jodha Akbar and Buddha.

Is there more to come? Bhalwankar says, "Yeah. There may be three more before December!"

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