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Indian Idols set for October launch, Sony lines up Rs 7-8-cr ad budget

29-July-2004
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Indian Idols set for October launch, Sony lines up Rs 7-8-cr ad budget

If one thought ‘Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin’ saw high spends, ‘Ye Meri Life Hai’ proved to be an equal, if not more. But now Sony is all set to make the mother of all investments on the promotion of its next big-ticket show, ‘Indian Idols’. Market sources inform that while ‘Ye Meri…’ is playing at an ad budget of Rs 4 to 5 crore, Indian Idols has a figure of Rs 7 to 8 crore for its promotions.

In the current scenario, budgets like these are rarely seen for the promotion of properties. But this just might be one reason that the property went the Sony way. Officials from FremantleMedia express that though there were other bidders for the product, the deal went to Sony because the channel expressed commitment in investing substantially in the show to make it a success.

Dwelling on this, Patrick Schult, Director of Operations, FremantleMedia says, “When a channel comes to you and says, ‘We believe in your product, we will invest in it and are committed to make a success of it’, you don’t say a ‘No’. Sony realised the need for speed in this business and hence they have the show.”

The channel is looking at creating as much hype as it can around the show. And the first look does give the property a sleek touch. In its attempt to get the best from the business, at least the Bollywood side of it, the judges include choreographer-director Farah Khan, singer-actor Sonu Nigam and music director Anu Mallik. By the admission of the judges themselves, Mallik is the one slated to play the ever-present ‘rude’ judge in any such contest.

These judges along with presenters Aman Varma and Mini Mathur and the performances of the participants will decide whether the Indian audience will be glued to the format as the channel claims it would be. An interesting aspect of the format is that related properties would also be created around the show.

These shows can play the dual role of promoting the programme and serving as a television property in itself; for instance, the channel might look at using it as an integral part of its New Year property, given that the show is on-air in the October 2004 – February 2005 period.

Tarun Katial, EVP, Programming and Response, Sony Entertainment Television, explains that the show is in three phases. The on-ground activities beginning in August and the following two rounds of auditions will give the channel 100 contestants. The viewer participation comes only in the subsequent stage.

The first round, which is the Theatre round will give 30 contestants, who will move on to the on-air selection of the Piano round that will give 10 finalists. This goes to the Gala rounds, which will see the drop of a participant in each episode until the final round, where the audience votes give the Indian idol of their choice.

While the mechanism does mean voting typically as is seen in elections, unlike elections, a viewer can caste as many votes as he wants, “It shows how passionate a viewer is about a participant. It does mean he makes that many calls,” explains Katial. The channel as yet has not disclosed anything more on the nature of the television property or its slot.

Coming back to the ad budget, while the channel refrains from sharing any figure on it, Katial expresses, “The promotions will be carried on a seven-month period. Beginning with the launch it will evolve in every stage, where we will take a 360 degree approach and get to the viewer with multimedia campaigns.”

With this, just between the two shows – ‘Ye Meri…’ and ‘Indian Idols’, the channel is making an investment of almost Rs 13 crore only in advertising. These investments accentuate the channel’s expectations from the property.

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