After airing first four seasons on Multi Screen Media's Sony Entertainment Television, Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa started its dream run on Viacom18's Colors in December 2010. And since then, the show has sustained viewership and also grown in numbers. One of the premium television properties, the Indian adaptation of 'Dancing with the Stars' is all set to kick-start its seventh season with a huge promise.
Talking about the challenges, Raj Nayak, CEO, Colors, says every year, the challenge for the channel is to give the audiences something new. "There will be a lot of new things that will be seen this year on JDJ. There will be global dancing forms which the country has not seen ever before. And, the content will be spiced up. There will be a lot of viewer engagement. Also, we have outdone ourselves this time in terms of casting."
According to Myleeta Aga, SVP and GM, BBC Worldwide India and content head, Asia, the look and feel of the show will be different this year. "In the tonality, music, and style, JDJ is younger this season. We are trying to attract more of a younger audience," says Aga, and adds that JDJ Season 7 will witness 13 different sets of surprises as every contestant will bring in his/her own surprise, content.
While the channel has a creative team and the production house also looks into the acts, it's the choreographers who take credit for putting up the show. "The creative team gives them pointers, shows inspiring things to give them ideas. There is Remo as the overall master but it's the choreographers who make the show. They need to understand their celebrities, see what kind of dance they can show, what kind of emotions will work. At the same time, what kind of expectations judges have," Aga adds.
Dhirendra Singh, AVP, BPN, says, "JDJ has all the substance of a good reality show. Its popular celebrity judges, celebrity contestants and their emotions fascinate viewers, thus triggering appointment viewing."
In its first edition on Colors in 2010-11, JDJ saw an increase of around 102.41 per cent in viewership over the previous year. Thereon, the show has risen. In Season 6 it grew by 31.82 per cent over the previous season."(The market considered here is HSM, C&S, 15+).
Last year JDJ Season 6's average viewership averaged at 5.1 TVM (4.5 TVM in Season 5).
The 'celeb' factor
Hosted by Ranvir Shorey and last season's winner Drashti Dhami, JDJ will continue to be judged by Madhuri Dixit, Karan Johar and Remo D'Souza. This time the channel has got one more judge on the panel, Winner of 'Dancing With The Stars 2014' Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
Salman Yusuff Khan and Lauren Gottleib will take on the role of adversaries and join hands to challenge contestants in an "exciting" dance combat. To ease tension on the floor, popular comedian Sudesh Lehri has been roped in to provide the much needed comic relief.
The contestants are Kritika Kamra, Mouni Roy, Purab Kohli, Karan Tacker, Sophie Choudry, Pooja Banerjee, Ashish Sharma, VJ Andy, Shakti Mohan, Akshat Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Kiku Sharda (of Comedy Nights with Kapil) in his avatar as Palak and S. Sreesanth.
Colors is leaving no stones unturned to promote JDJ7. While the TV promos are already on-air, the show will also be marketed through radio, cinema, digital and ground activations.
As a part of the ground activations, the channel is going out in the smaller markets, including LC1 markets. Branded autos/rickshaws with speakers will play the signature tune of the show. The 15-day activity will promote how the show is different this time and the timings.
Nayak adds, "Colors has been very good at one thing. For all our shows, we are very focused - we know that if you drop a penny, it should sound like a Rupee coin. We have a great marketing team who is good in spending and getting good bang for the buck."
While Nayak refused to divulge any information on the marketing spend, industry experts peg it at Rs 7-9 crore.
According to Vivek Srivastava, digital head, Colors, the idea of the show this time is to "connect" with the contestants. "We have a fantastic cast. We are starting a contest that will go on for four weeks. It will be about people shooting their own moments, performing on songs and giving it to us. Thereafter, the good ones will be given an opportunity to come and meet their favourite celebs and also perform with them."
Besides, the channel will release Twitter mirror images, behind-the-scene footages on the social media and conduct chats between the fans and their favourite contestants. "The entire thrust is on how much more you can give to the audience. And take them from two days to seven days a week," Srivastava adds.
JDJ is a high-investment property. As per sources in the industry, the production cost of the show ranges from Rs 60-70 crore. "The production cost has only grown by inflation," adds Aga.
Cadbury Bournvita has come on board as the presenting sponsor of the show for the third time in a row. Besides, Colors has roped in Gionee Smartphones as the powered by sponsor. The latter was also one of the sponsors of Colors' Khatron Ke Khiladi.
The associate sponsors are Ultratech Cement, Liberty Shoes, Ruchi Soya, Johnson & Johnson's Clear & Clear and Luminous Water Purifier.
Talking about the advertisers' response, Simran Hoon, national sales head, Colors, says, "We have got huge advertiser response. As always we have a mix of old and new clients. We have made sure we up the ante in terms of sponsors and give more value to them."
The channel has increased its ad rates by 15-20 per cent over last year. According to industry estimates, Cadbury could have shelled around Rs 14-16 crore, while Gionee may have spent about 20 per cent less. The associate sponsors have been charged around Rs 4-4.5 crore and the channel is asking for 2.5- 3.5 lakh per 10-second ad spot.
Nayak adds, "Jhalak is one of our flagship shows and does very well for us. As a channel we deliver value and that is something we work hard on. Every season of Jhalak breaks even and makes profit. This season we are looking at 25-30 per cent growth rate in ad revenue as compared to last year."
Industry experts believe that Colors could rake in Rs 68-74 crore ad revenue this season.
Besides the free commercial time (FCTs), Cadbury gets integrations as well. For instance, JDJ airs a video clip showing the practice sessions of the participants. The segment of the video clip is branded by Cadbury and says 'Tayyari Jeet Ki' which is in sync with Cadbury's thought.
Arvind Vohra, country head, Gionee in India, says, "Association with JDJ is our first time for the show. We are not very old in the country anyway. Our target audience is 12-25 years, a segment that the show caters too as well. It's an absolutely correct platform for the lifestyle and youth audience base. Investing in JDJ, therefore, is our strategy to keep our marketing efforts going."
Mamatha Morvanakar, MD, West at OMD India (the media agency that handles Johnson & Johnson) says that JDJ is one of the key tent pole properties from Colors that is supported by a lot of marketing and programming push. "JDJ7 is most relevant for JNJ's Clean and Clear brand. Besides, CNC has a new story to launch and JDJ will provide the necessary impact for this launch. CNC has been associated with the show in the past and the association has worked well for the brand, making the choice easier this time around!"