'The key to grab viewers' interest is interactivity': This is the new mantra that the nine-month old channel Zee Business is adopting. The channel is introducing three new interactivity-based programming, which will be aired in August 2005.
Sameer Ahluwalia, Editor, Zee Business, said that their aim was to provide new levels of interactivity. "We are introducing three new consumer-centric concepts in television that will make viewers participate. First is a bidding show, second is a chat platform and third is an opinion poll show, each unique in its way. We want to live up to our tag line 'Aap ka Fayada'," he said.
The bidding show, christened 'Boli number one', allows viewers to win products for as low as Re 1. It works on the principal of lowest unique bid. Bidding cycle will be 24 hours for a particular product, divided in four slots of five minutes each, at the end of which the winner will be announced.
Commented Ahluwalia, "It's a novel concept, backed by technology that is transparent and hands free, which is provided by CellCast. No one has run this show ever and we have strategically chosen the four time slots of 9.30 am, 1.30 pm, 5.30 pm and 9.30 pm to pan it through the day."
It is interesting to note that the four time slots can also boost TRPs of the shows succeeding them. However, Ahluwalia feels that the shows are not just about ratings but also about building customer loyalty.
For the second show, the channel is launching a first-of-its-kind chat platform. It will be incorporated in News Tonight, the prime time show on the channel that discusses one subject of relevance to viewers daily.
"Once you are registered, you can type chat and send your message to 7575 and it will appear on lower half of the screen. Other viewers can respond to messages or even direct questions at the guest on the show. The messages will be relevant to the topic of the show. And to ensure that, we have a built-in control, where we can delete irrelevant messages," explained Ahluwalia.
Third is an opinion poll that the channel has initiated for their 8.30 pm show Zee Business Special, which showcases the biggest stories of the day. Said Ahluwalia, "During the show, one question will be put to viewers, which will trigger an immediate graph based on the responses."
Clearly, Zee Business is endeavouring to strengthen its foothold in the market. But time will tell how well these first-time initiations turn out for the channel.