afaqs! news bureau

IPL and Colors strike a three-year entertainment licensing deal

Colors and IPL will create format shows and other properties starring cricketers and Bollywood stars, to be broadcast on Colors throughout the day

The third season of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2010 is set to be a round the year extravaganza, rather than a 45-day cricket tournament.

As part of a three-year licensing deal between IPL and Viacom18's Hindi GEC, Colors, entertainment properties centred on the IPL tournament will be created. The special programming content will feature cricketing greats and Bollywood star power, to bring to the nation what is being called 'cricketainment'.

The partnership between Colors and IPL is a move inspired by IPL's chairman and commissioner, Lalit Modi's desire to extend IPL to a year-long brand, rather than restricting it to the seasonal 45 cricket playing days of the tournament.

IPL and Colors strike a three-year entertainment licensing deal
IPL and Colors strike a three-year entertainment licensing deal
In an official communiqué, Modi comments, "The partnership with Colors takes the IPL cricketainment quotient into an all-new orbit. With this unique partnership with the channel that we have entered on behalf of our franchisees, we are delivering on our promise to extend the IPL franchise beyond cricket, beyond the IPL season. This move combines our IPL cricketers' mass appeal and Colors' flagship format shows, to create an unprecedented genre of cricketainment."

IPL has initiated the association between the two parties on behalf of its franchisees, which include team owners, cricketers playing in IPL and Bollywood actors associated with the teams and the game. As part of the entertainment licensing deal, Colors will not only broadcast shows around IPL when the tournament is in progress, but afterwards as well.

Speaking to afaqs!, Rajesh Kamat, group chief operating officer, Viacom18, and chief executive officer, Colors, says, "Both the tournament and the channel are two-year old brands and both believe in being disruptive. IPL created a stir in the game of cricket and Colors did the same in the GEC space. The coming together of the two brands is a deadly mix of religion and passion -- cricket is a religion with the cricket-crazy nation and Bollywood stars are a passion with Bollywood lovers."

As part of the programming innovations, the third edition of IPL will see national and international IPL players as contestants on Colors' reality show, Fear Factor Khatron Ke Khiladi, which will be launched post IPL.

The second offering will be an award show, titled IPL Awards Night. The show will be on-air on April 23, a day prior to the grand finale of IPL 2010. The awards show will be produced and handed over to Colors for broadcast by IPL.

There will also be a cricket talent hunt, Rockstar, which will be shot in a stadium and later aired on the channel.

Apart from this, programming related to fashion shows, parties involving cricketers and Bollywood stars and fashion-lifestyle related content could be aired on MTV, another Viacom18 channel.

Kamat shares that the channel realises that cricket and glamour can be a lethal combination, as proved by the popularity of a show such as Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena. In the reality dance show, which was aired on Colors last year, each contestant couple comprised a cricketer and a TV celebrity.

The association with IPL is purely an entertainment licensing deal, emphasises Kamat, and has no bearing on IPL's broadcast rights lying with another broadcaster, Max. The channel hopes to monetise the IPL led content; but according to Kamat, it's too early to say whether the channel would sell the entire content and properties in one go, or opt for programme-specific deals.

On how the channel would fit round-the-year IPL programming into its regular programming schedule, Kamat states, "Fiction is bread and butter for the channel. Thus, IPL-led content will be geared to fit towards non-fiction slots. Moreover, IPL-based content will serve to add variety to the content on offer for viewers."