A programming concept that has become all too popular this year, & #BANNER1 & # especially across music and Hindi general entertainment channels is the reality talent hunt.
Whether it is ZEE's search for filmi talent in India's Best: Cinestars Ki Khoj, or Sony's Indian Idol or CHannel [v]'s model hunt Get Gorgeous, or even rival MTV's search for fresh faces for its youth serial Kitni Mast Hai Zindagi, music and Hindi general entertainment channels seem to be dabbling in reality talent hunts in a big way this year.
Not to be left behind, South Indian channels too seem to be buying into the concept of a talent hunt in a major way. Southern Spice Music (SS Music), for one, has kicked-off a five-city Voice Hunt, which will culminate in the launch of a four-member band by the end of September.
In its second leg at Coimbatore, the hunt began in Chennai on July 27 with two-day auditions that resulted in a final shortlist of six candidates. Almost 471 participants registered for the Chennai leg, with a similar turnout expected at Coimbatore, says Bryan Peppin, head, production and programming, SS Music.
Cochin, Bangalore and Hyderabad are the other three stopovers for the hunt, with the auditions to be completed by the end of this month. "We will select between three to five candidates from each city. However, if the talent in a city is really good, then we may consider increasing the number like in the case of Chennai," says Peppin.
Investment in the property in terms of publicity, promotions and production, says Peppin, comes to about Rs 1-crore, with auditions in each city preceded by a local press meet, followed by road shows spread over two days.
This strategy, says Peppin, ensures that there is maximum buzz for the event, resulting in a good turnout of people during the auditions. "We genuinely endeavour to provide a platform for South Indian talent. Hence creating awareness and interest for the hunt is mandatory," he reasons.
Incidentally, SS Music had kicked-off a similar talent hunt last year titled 'The Next Best Thing', which was to cover the four states of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. However, the event was called off after the Kerala leg, owing to a lack of support by advertisers, says Peppin.
This year, the channel is taking no chances with sponsorships sealed for the entire two-month period of Voice Hunt. Fanta is the title sponsor for the event, while Sandpiper Beer, Lawman Jeans and P&G's Head & Shoulders Shampoo are the associate sponsors.
Title sponsorship has been sealed at Rs 30-40-lakh, while associate sponsors have had to shell out about Rs 15-20-lakh.
The one-month-long audition stage will lead in to a ten-day workshop in September in Chennai, which will involve intensive training and grooming of the shortlisted candidates from each of the five cities.
Peppin says that the channel is in talks with choreographer Raju Sundaram, designer Chaitanya Rao and noted singer S P Balasubramanium to be part of the expert panel during the ten-day workshop. The panelists will also double up as jurors during the grand finale of the Voice Hunt.
Jurors during the audition stage are Peppin himself, popstar Shalini Singh and SS Music veejay Carrey.
The channel has begun telecast of the hunt on Saturdays at 8.30 pm, while the reality programming component will be introduced from the workshop stage, says Peppin. "That is the time when we will really get candid with the participants. I guess it will be fun." © 2004 agencyfaqs!