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Tamil Nadu sees the dawn of Reality television

03-July-2002
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Tamil Nadu sees the dawn of Reality television

Vijay TV is all set to launch “Kathai alla Nijam”, the first Tamil reality show, during the third week of July. Bearing no resemblance to the controversial “Temptation Island” or Channel V’s “Popstars”, during the course of this talk show, real life stories will unfold. Apart from letting the viewers have a peek into reality, it will also enable them access to the show through live calls. To make this possible, the channel has been working with several publications like Kumudam and senior journalists, for these real stories.

Hosted by actress Lakshmi, this show will be the first of its kind in the south, where much of channel viewing is dominated by daily soaps and film related programs.

According to Suresh Iyer, head of programming, Vijay TV, “It is our commitment to bring to Tamil audiences fresh programming and formats. Kathal alla Nijam, with its elements of reality and interactivity will be something that will be truly novel and exciting for the viewers”.

Produced by K. Balachander’s Minbimbangal, this one-hour daily live reality show promises to bring out the truth and emotions of real stories and emotions of real people.

According to Balachander, “Tamil television desperately needs some relief with something that is completely different. Kathai alla Nijam, I am sure will bring in a new wave of television into our industry, and I am glad Minbimbangal is at the forefront of this pioneering format”.

With Vijay TV’s “Marumagal” coming to an end, this show heralds a new beginning for the channel. With new soaps like Poo Vilangu by telephoto and novelist Indumati’s Nee, Naan, Avval, the channel hopes to see a rise in its market share from the 20% that it enjoys now in the 162 crore Tamil television market. According to the INTAM report, Marumagal occupied the number one slot among the top 50 prime time shows in the SEC A and B homes in Tamil Nadu. Also, with its popularity not being a threat to the market leaders, Sun TV, much is being done to beef up Vijay TV.

But despite all the excitement surrounding the new show, there is an equal amount of skepticism surrounding it. Being a nation that hasn’t been too comfortable with the Oprah Winfrey style of bearing out lives in public, media planners are doubtful about how such shows will be accepted by the public. According to some, the lives of ordinary people aren’t glamorous enough, to catch attention. But others claim that if the show promoted properly, it could instigate curiosity.

According to P Lakshmi Narayanan, TBWA Anthem, “Media planners always think in terms of recall. So it will be a while before we’ll know about the returns and viewership of a new show that doesn’t involve celebrities.”

Others point out that if a “Kaun Banega Crorepati” could work, Kathai alla Nijam could work too. Lakshmi Narayanan agrees however that, “A lot will depend on the publicity and promotional tactics of the channel”.

But with associations like K. Balachander and Lakshmi, and Star’s success with shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati, the hopes are high. Now it isn’t long before we know if the channel will succeed in introducing this new genre to Tamil viewers.

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Prior to joining Madison PR in 2012 Chaudhary was Group President Corporate Communications at Reliance Industries Limited.