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Miditech does a Holmes on Roop Kund

By , agencyfaqs! | In | August 06, 2004
The mysterious lake in Uttaranchal contains the remains of about 300 people, who died some 600 years ago


So you thought documentaries don't work with the Indian viewer besotted with the K-series of soaps? & #BANNER1 & # Well, times must be changing since documentaries are grabbing a decent share of eyeballs these days.

Still not convinced? Then, take the Week 28, 2004 (July 4-10) for instance. 'Leopards of Bollywood' at National Geographic, produced by Miditech, stole a march over other English programmes at English channels like AXN, ZEE English and Discovery. The programme (source: TAM C&S 4+ ABC, top five metros) had a TVR of more than 0.9, which was more than double of most of its competitors.

Come to think of it. When has a programme produced in India and by Indians last beat competitors like Zee's Friends (starring Jennifer Aniston) and AXN's oomphy Wild On?

That's precisely where Miditech's USP lies. The television production house is known for some of the most incisive programming coming out of Asia. Started in 1992, Miditech, over the years, has specialised in producing natural history, travel and adventure documentaries for major broadcasters around the globe.

Following the success of Leopards of Bollywood, the next big thing from Miditech is its documentary on Roop Kund, a mysterious lake in Uttaranchal, which contains the remains of about 300 people, who died some 600 years ago. There are many theories explaining these deaths, but none are satisfying. Miditech's programme will finally unravel the mystery, when it makes a debut on "Riddles of the Dead" on National Geographic shortly.

Nikhil Alva, one of the co-founders and now CEO of Miditech, is very bullish on such documentaries. "As India becomes a mature market, we will see documentaries finding a large number of loyal viewers, as it happens in the US with CBS 60 minutes," he says.

"If you look at our portfolio, 40 per cent of our programmes are documentaries, while 40 per cent will be fiction and 20 per cent will be on reality show/entertainment," he adds. Miditech has so far produced five soaps for the Indian televiewers; the latest being 'Hum Do Hai Na' on Sony.

On future trends of infotainment in India, Alva says reality shows are destined to be popular in this country. "More and more channels and production houses will be partnering with global players and produce shows - combining local flair and international format," he says.

One such example is Sony's Indian Idol, being currently produced by Miditech, which is conceived by Freemantle Media and 19TV in the UK. The show apparently has taken the West by storm and has been rolled out in 25 countries since its launch in 2001. Interestingly, American Idol (the US version of the show) had three times more voters than those in the US presidential elections. The Indian chapter is scheduled to commence in October, this year.

Miditech is, of course, no stranger to reality shows. In fact, the critically acclaimed series, 'Hospital' on BBC World, about life as it unfolds in the Capital's All India Institute of Medical Sciences, has the distinction of being India's first reality series.

"We, at Miditech, are keen to expand our talent pool and also send people abroad to work with international producers making reality shows. We are also looking at international projects where an Indian team will shoot and edit and produce films in far away places like the Amazonian jungle or sub-Saharan Africa," he elaborates.

In the Indian context and as seen in NGC and Discovery, international producers making films on India for global viewers and also for Indians has been the overwhelming trend. It will be interesting to see how and when Miditech manages to actually reverse this direction.

Looking at Miditech's work over the last 12 years, it's pretty clear that the company hasn't veered away from its vision to produce hard hitting programmes on environmental and social issues, and also travel and culture in India.

In the current times, isn't that rare? © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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