As the cricket fever spreads across the country, many channels are creating special properties or programming around cricket tournaments.
For instance channel 9XM has a special programming line-up during the long cricket season. This includes the show ‘Bakwaas’ being programmed into a World Cup special called ‘FullToss Bakwaas’. The show has animated characters ‘Bade-Chote’ with stand-up comedians and lookalikes playing characters inspired by cricketers and some other unique characters often seen at matches. The channel has adopted cricket-centric packaging. It also has cricketing elements such as Coin Toss for selecting songs and shows such as 9XM Jugaad and Top 9 too have similar cricket themes incorporated.
Amar Tidke, Chief Programming Officer, 9X Media said, “With the whole nation obsessed or fixated on cricket, we wanted our viewers to have the cricket experience, but with the 9XM flavor. Hence the channel will also flaunt packaging that is cricket centric and elements that represent the game. Just like we love our movies, we love this game, and this is our bit to support team India.”
Apart from this &pictures is looking to ride on the World Cup this year with the airing of the cricket documentary ‘Beyond All Boundaries’ which was directed by Sushrut Jain. The documentary follows the lives of three ardent cricket fans.
Ruchir Tiwari, Deputy Business Head, Zee Hindi Movie Channels says, “With Beyond All Boundaries we had an opportunity to showcase something unusual and inspiring. India being a cricket-loving country, this documentary is a tribute to them and gives viewers a glimpse into the sport. We plan to bring more such unique films that are entertaining, distinctive and engaging.”
Aaj Tak and Headlines Today have roped in Sachin Tendulkar for special commentary on the World Cup. CNN-IBN and IBN 7 too are lining up special programming. While CNN-IBN has a show called Kings of Cricket which is a seven episode documentary featuring the history of the World Cup. IBN 7 has a show called Cup Katha which analyses every edition of the World Cup since its inception in 1975.
Apart from the World Cup there are plans by TV channels to launch special programming for the upcoming IPL season. Turner International channels HBO and WB have their annual special cricket properties. While HBO has the Hollywood Premier League, a two-month long movie festival that offers blockbuster movies right after the IPL matches. WB on the other hand has its T20 property on similar lines.
Sony PIX too has PIX Premier League which is geared toward the IPL and also runs some promotions for its latest movies on the show Extra Innings on the sister network channel Sony Max.
IPL affects a majority of TV channels during the prime time slot at 9pm. However, over the years channels have learnt to work around it. Movie channels have learnt to do this b creating special post IPL properties which showcase blockbuster movies at the 11pm slot after the matches. This includes channels such as Star Movies, Star Movies Action, HBO, Sony PIX and Zee Studio.