Sony is out to ensure that the 8.30 pm slot doesn’t lose the numbers that ‘Fame Gurukul’ has generated. In the process, the channel has planned to bring ‘Indian Idol’ in the 8.30 pm slot along with Endemol format ‘Deal or No Deal’ – both in November. Another change that could take place is the channel’s decision to wrap its long running show ‘Kkusum’.
While ‘Indian Idol’ continues to be all fame and the prize money worth Rs 1 crore, ‘Deal or No Deal’ offers as much as Rs 2.5 crore. Even though the channel’s Business Head, Tarun Katial, offered no comments, sources close to the situation divulged that while ‘Indian Idol 2’ would be launched on November 14, 2005, the Indian version of ‘Deal or No Deal’ was slated for November 16, 2005 launch. Both are one-hour shows. ‘Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin’ is expected to be placed in the 10.00 pm slot.
Sources further informed that the channel was contemplating on bringing ‘Idol’ in the Monday and Tuesday slots and ‘Deal or No Deal’ in the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday slots.
At an earlier interview, Katial had said that there would be a combination of new shows and changes in the existing ones to arrest the drop in the 9-10 pm slot. The wrapping of ‘Kkusum’ is in line with this, even though more details on this aren’t available yet. However, Balaji is already in the process of developing another show for the channel, currently called ‘Kandie Floss’. A new show might be coming in the 9.30 pm bracket for the channel.
Coming back to the 8.30 pm block, the industry at large expressed that for Sony to bring in more format and reality shows in this slot might just turn out to be a beneficial decision. “It appears to be a sound strategy,” said Sandip Tarkas, CEO, Media Direction, “This genre has worked for them so why not use it more.”
Sony has time and again emphasised on the channel’s intent of bringing in counter programming. ‘Idol’ and ‘Deal…’, staying away from linear programming does stay in line with this intent. “They have vetted the slot for this kind of programming anyways with ‘Fame Gurukul’. The fact that there are two different shows coming in would even mean that there wouldn’t be any monotony,” said Manish Porwal, Executive Director, Starcom (West).
Agreeing with him, Pradeep Iyengar, Vice-President, Carat Media, said, “Experiments can work and for Sony, it makes more sense because really there isn’t much to lose. They have captured an audience that obviously is attracted to this kind of programming more than soaps and they would want to retain those eyeballs.”
Tarkas brings in the international performance of the show here, “What we need to see is that unlike a ‘Millionaire’ or ‘Idol’, that have been successful in many international markets, ‘Deal’ sees success in select markets – how well the format works in India still remains to be seen.”
Porwal expressed concern on the format of wage and win. “We want to win on intellectual grounds,” he insisted, adding, “This format does come with its limitations, but once you have factored this and you have modest expectations, the show can be a good investment.”
He further explained, “From the way I see it, the show will have impact and generate some amount of curiosity, but it isn’t going to be very high on numbers. What we will see is a focussed approach and integration for clients, especially for banking and telecom clients.”
Adding more on this, Iyengar said, “Everyone loves easy money, but you really never know – there have been formats of Rs 10 crore and Rs 100 crore, but nothing delivered as Rs 1 crore was delivering in 2000. Why should these factors make any difference now?”