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ibibo in search of its i-Serial star; seeks to change Indian reality show scenario

13-July-2010
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ibibo in search of its i-Serial star; seeks to change Indian reality show scenario

Ibibo.com has joined hands with Maruti Suzuki to launch a first-of-its-kind talent hunt that will give the winner a chance to write, direct and even act in a serial that would be created and designed by the winner of the talent hunt.

Explaining the proposition behind experimenting with this unique idea, Rahul Sharma, Vice-President, Brand Solutions, ibibo.com, told exchange4media, “We believe that entertainment is now moving towards the online arena, with social gaming and reality entertainment becoming huge on the SNS platform. With the Internet revolution making its presence felt in almost every aspect of our life, certain traditional ways of entertainment are bound to fade away with the oncoming of new and exciting initiatives that are taken, keeping in mind the latest trends. Such initiatives are taken up because the general public themselves want this change to happen as they are ready to mould themselves accordingly. Therefore, initiatives such as ‘ibibo i-Serial Star’ can be said to be a pathbreaker in bringing about a paradigm change in the Indian reality show scenario.”

Facing talent fade out

However, the challenge is to increase the shelf life of online talent hunt winners, given the fact that umpteen TV reality show winners are forgotten in no time despite the adulation that they receive through such a visible medium. Sharma, however, insisted, “Entertainment is a booming industry, which is constantly in need of talent. Talent hunts not only give an opportunity to perform in front of a live audience, industry and celebrity judges and be seen by millions of people, but also creates a direct interface with the who’s who of the industry. Past winners from our shows like ‘iFresh Face’ and ‘iHunk’ have made a mark in the modeling industry and have featured in prestigious ad campaigns and music videos.”

He further maintained, “If you have talent, you should definitely show it to the people, and a social networking site is the best and convenient medium to do so. Internet videos are gaining momentum and attracting a lot of attention. From Bollywood to comedy shows, many Indian TV channels are regularly uploading their content online. Popularity of the Internet is increasing among people and there is more scope of entertainment as compared to television.”

When asked about the steps being taken to ensure the talent is not forgotten, Sharma replied, “ibibo acknowledges their talent by verifying their profiles and promoting them in the celebrity section on the aggregated verified profile page and dashboard of the site, where millions of users view their profile and interact with them. Apart from these promotions, their contact details are shared with modeling and casting agencies, where they can get a break in the glamour industry. We also assure that they are covered in print and electronic media and they play online games and interact with their fans on ibibo.”

Where does one go from here?

According to Sharma, “The future of these online reality games is ascertained by the fact that they have grown steadily over the years with an increase in the online participation. The online platforms are more accessible and credible since the participants do not have to stand in long unending queues to appear for auditions, and here their talent is judged and voted by the users themselves. We already have a model bank where regular alerts and mailers are being shared with the community to keep them updated about the latest events and opportunities.”

On the association with ‘ibibo i-Serial Star’, Sunila Dhar, Assistant General Manager - Marketing, Maruti Udyog Ltd, said, “Maruti has always been on the forefront in coming up with innovative and novel initiatives. So, when ibibo discussed the ‘i-Serial Star’ concept with us, we were quite excited since this was something new and we felt it would generate interest and participation and a touch point with the aspiring youth. Maruti also believes that the digital media is an important medium to reach out and interact with the youth. This platform provided that opportunity as well.”

The ‘i-Serial Star’ winner, like any other talent hunt, will be decided by other users’ casting their votes. However, in order to make it authentic, a jury will oversee the proceedings and choose the final winner. “The selection of winners will be based on the number of votes obtained by the participants and the choice made by the judges Raman Kumar and Khalid Hashmi. The serial will be broadcast exclusively on ibibo.com,” Sharma informed.

The contest has been divided into three categories – Acting, Directing and Scriptwriting. ibibo will give a chance to eight actors, two script writers and two directors to get featured in the online serial. The contestants for the Acting category have to upload a video enacting a scene. For Direction, they have to upload a short film that they have directed; and for Scriptwriting, they will have to upload an original script. Winners will be selected based on the number of votes that the participants get, followed by the final decision by the judges – Raman Kumar, who created India’s first serial on satellite TV, and Khalid Hashmi, who launched Zee News.

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