Close Up Antakshari, the popular music game show on ZEE TV was temporarily discontinued effective 7th September, after a finale where people from various countries were flown in. The show is going to be back on the air soon, reportedly from January 2003. However, there is a major change, Close Up is no longer going to be the title sponsor for the show. It would be Sansui Antakshari this time around.
The reason sited is Rs 5 crore plus, the channel is reportedly asking for sponsorship of the programme. Close up has been associated with the programme for about 10 years now, which incidentally might be the longest running sponsorship for the longest running programme on Indian television.
Talking to exchange4media on this development said Apoorva Purohit, President, ZEE Telefilms Ltd, "Our contract with Close up got renewed every year. However, when it got over this July, no new agreement was signed. Programming team believed that programme should be rested for a few months and brought back in a fresh look to avoid viewer fatigue." But did the channel not approach HLL for a renewal once it was decided to re-launch it? Purohit explains, "We did discuss it. However, we could not come to an agreement where sponsorship fee was concerned. Another, major reason for change in sponsorship is that Sansui was very keen on it. However, let me reiterate that Levers is an extremely important client to us."
When asked if it would not strain the relationship between the two, Purohit said, "These things happen, Colgate and Philips were long term sponsors for ZEE programmes, once the sponsorship deal ended, it did not strain the relationship. Besides, we are in discussions with HLL on a whole host of properties, I am sure something will come out of it."
Anil Khera, CEO, Sansui was not available for comment. However, Quadrant, the agency handling the Sansui account is convinced that it is a good move. Bhaskar Thite, Head of media, Quadrant, Mumbai stated, "Keeping the TRPs and the bonuses offered by Zee in mind, it is a viable proposition." However, he added, "It is being handled by the client directly, and I am not at the liberty of talking monies involved."