Endemol sure is the one content company that is gaining from the television boom in India. The production house has already two formats on Sony and a recently signed deal with STAR India for 'The Match.' It has now closed deals with STAR for 'Heartbeat' and Sony for 'Fear Factor'.
After acquiring the Endemol format, 'The Match', STAR India has bought 'Heartbeat', which is slated for the Diwali release on Star One. As for Sony, the channel recently procured 'Operacion Triunfo' better known as 'Fame Gurukul.' According to the MIPTV deals signed, it has also got the broadcast rights for 'Fear Factor.'
Sony officials refrained from commenting on the development but sources informed that the channel intends to air the Indian version towards the end of the year. The original 'Fear Factor' version airs on AXN.
In India, STAR partners with Siddharth Basu's Synergy to produce 'Heartbeat'. Other shows from this combination are 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' on Star Plus and 'Bluff Master' on Star One. Speaking about 'Heartbeat', Deepak Segal, EVP, Content and Communication, STAR India, said, "It is a very exciting format and will definitely interest the Indian viewer. With KBC 2 coming on STAR Plus, this kind of a property would be apt for Star One."
Explaining more on the reasons for bringing the show on One, Segal said, "The show is a perfect fit for the kind of programming that we do for the urban, upwardly mobile audience."
'Heartbeat' has no anchor presenting the show but only a voice, which questions the participant. As to who would be that voice, the Indian name of the show or the timing, Segal said that such details are still not in place and that the channel is targeting October, 2005 for releasing the show. The other show that STAR recently acquired from Endemol is 'The Match'. Unlike 'The Match', which has a higher reality quotient, 'Heartbeat' is more of a studio-based format show.
International reports quote the show as a combination of reality with the quick-building drama of a game-show finale. The show aims to be lure young viewers who like the reality 'feel' and the older viewers, who tune in to the situational drama and challenge of slightly harder and more up market questions.
Interestingly, Endemol's 'Dance Dance' is not working for Sony.
Is there any concern on the acceptance of 'The Match' and 'Heartbeat'. Segal replied, "It depends on the format. We believe that these are formats that we would be able to adapt well for the Indian viewer."
'The Match' is a sports-based show, which internationally is based on soccer but in India it would revolve around cricket. Even though STAR hasn't yet decided which channel would air 'The Match', in an international release, STAR India's COO, Sameer Nair, said, "Bollywood stars competing against each other for audience votes to make it to the final cricket team should be among most novel ideas to hit television. We are committed to making it a big celebration for our viewers."
In context to 'Fear Factor', the property is a challenge show where six contestants compete in a series of three challenges to face their fears and internationally win prize money of $50,000 dollars. How this changes in India would be very interesting.