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India's Raw Star: A New Tune

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | August 18, 2014
The television debut of Yo Yo Honey Singh will launch on August 24 and air every Sunday at 7 pm. A look at what makes the show different.

There was a time when singing and dancing reality shows were considered as sure shot success formulae on Indian television. While dance reality, courtesy the visual representation and innovation, still manages to hold audience attention, singing reality shows, over the past few years, seem to have lost some of their sheen. Many blame the lack of experimentation as the reason for this.

India's Raw Star Promo

India's Raw Star Promo

YouTube Innovation - Digital Promo

Gajendra Singh

Gaurav Banerjee

Ashish Golwalkar

Nikhil Madhok

Star Plus is aiming to do just that and break some of the clichés attached to the singing reality genre. It is all set to launch India's Raw Star, 'Yo Yo' Honey Singh's television debut show. The show is produced by Gajendra Singh's Sai Baba Telefilms. The man is credited with hit shows like Sare Ga Ma Pa and Antakshari to the Hindi general entertainment space.

So what's new?

As the name suggests, the show is about the raw talent hidden in the country. India's Raw Star will kick off with 10 contestants who will sing songs that they have written and composed or Bollywood songs modified in their own singing styles. The basic difference from other singing reality shows is that in the latter, people sing Bollywood songs in the hope of becoming playback singers.

Also, unlike other reality shows, where the audition process involves standing in long queues, India's Raw Star conducted the first-ever digital-only auditions. Honey Singh and his team scanned more than 50,000 entries - 20 per cent of which were from outside the country. In another first, there will be no jury to judge the contestants. Instead, the audience and Singh will decide who wins. The show will be hosted by Gauhar Khan and won't involve two funny hosts, which is typically the trend in reality shows, nowadays.

India's Raw Star is a 14-week-long series. Unlike other reality shows wherein the eliminations start from first or second week, India's Raw Star will not see any elimination in the first five weeks. According to Gajendra Singh, five contestants will be eliminated directly after five episodes and then three more contestants will be chosen from the audition and introduced in the show. The last round will have three contestants from which the winner will be chosen. The idea is to give the contestants more airtime.

Star Plus has roped in choreographer Michael Schwandtl (who has worked with artistes such as Katy Perry and Lady Gaga on their performances) to work with the contestants and visually enhance their singing performance. The show also has Ashish Manchanda (the only Indian sound engineer to have worked with Michael Jackson) on board who will be heading the sound team.

Another interesting point is that while other weekend reality shows choose one hour telecast time on Saturday-Sunday, India's Raw Star will air for two hours on Sundays (from 7 pm to 9 pm). Says Gaurav Banerjee, general manager, Star Plus, "We are not going to follow trends based on data touch points, we will follow trends based on what we believe is the reality of entertainment consumption in this country."

A younger, innovative Star Plus?

Star Plus, since its repositioning as Rishta Vahi, Soch Nayi, has been introducing non-fiction shows that cater to the progressive, young mindset in the country. Non-fiction head, Ashish Golwalkar says, "Our core TG for the weekend is very clear - 15-25-year-old females. The need was to refurbish, reinvent the genre and that's what we are trying to do."

The channel has done an interesting innovation on YouTube. Typically, one tends to hit the skip button to avoid ads on YouTube videos. In this case, Honey Singh will pick up the 'skip' button and say 'Even if you try, you can't skip me" and then go on to say that consumers will not be able to skip his raw stars."

"The digital promos will be contextual. We have selected top search product categories in digital and have done innovations around it, For instance, if someone is searching for cars, Honey Singh's promo will pop up and say - 'Stop searching for small cars, start riding the Rolls-Royce with me and my raw stars. We have something for music and sports too,'" says Nikhil Madhok, SVP - marketing and content strategy. "We are also creating a behind-the-scenes content called 'G-Factor' hosted by Gauhar. The hoardings we put up will give a feel that Honey Singh is popping out," Madhok adds explaining the marketing efforts.

The OOH sites will be spread across Mumbai and Delhi and nearly 250 of these sites will have innovations. There will be time bands on music channels like MTunes and 9XM wherein three songs of Honey Singh will be played back-to-back, packaged with a message from him, encouraging viewers to watch the show. The prize money at stake is around Rs 50 lakh. Besides, the winner will also be shooting for a song. Star Plus has roped in Karbonn Mobiles as the presenting sponsor for the show while Maruti Suzuki Swift has come on board as the 'powered by' sponsor.

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