After World Cup, its Rolling Stones for MAX

MUMBAI: After the cricket World Cup what? That's been the question regarding MAX. Well the broadcaster has chosen one of the biggest names in the music business as its next big act. Rock music legends The Rolling Stones will visit India in April and MAX will air one of the concerts in Bangalore a month after it is performed.


Show promoters DNA Networks' Venkat Vardhan said that two concerts would take place on 11 and 14 April. The first one is in Bangalore for which tickets will go on sale on 10 March. In fact today the whole of Asia tour is being announced in different countries. The Karnataka government has been most helpful and the company is trying to get the band to perform in Mumbai the next day, Vardhan said.

"Economically however this has to be made viable. Petitions have already been made to the Maharashtra government. We are pushing for a reduction in the 50 per cent entertainment tax. Other states charge between 15-20 per cent. Also the 50 per cent tax on sponsorship and on complimentary tickets given out must be abolished as this is blatantly unfair to the organiser. Fingers crossed things will work out but if not then Delhi and Kolkata are other alternative venues," Venkat said.

SET CEO Kunal Dasgupta said: "When I was approached by Dilip Doshi to be the broadcast partner I did not think twice. After all I have spent a large part of my life getting "no satisfaction" and "Jumping Jack Flash". Max will be the primary host and it is important to note that just two concerts worldwide from the Rolling Stones 2003 World Licks tour are being aired on television. The first one was the Madison Square Gardens event, which was televised by HBO in the US. The second one will be the Bangalore concert. After MAX the event will air on Sony. It might go to HBO or AXN later on depending on how much revenue can be generated, Dasgupta said.

"For all events we have different event producers but for this one I am going to be personally involved. I would say that this is the pinnacle of my career with Sony and we will be creating a promotional campaign using the network, which will create a new dimension to event marketing, Dasgupta added.

Dasgupta also tried to draw a link between cricket and the Rolling Stones. "Mick Jagger is a major cricket enthusiast and he co-promoted before selling his stake to Satyam. I would like to point out that tickets for the Singapore concert have sold out in two hours and we expect a similar reaction to Mumbai. This band cuts across age groups, gender. Not everyone speaks English but everyone is aware of the Rolling Stones," he said.

MAX business head Rajat Jain said, "We view this as a major event that doesn't come around too often. We have bagged the rights to Devdas along with three or four other films. The trick to hooking viewers is how you push the smaller events and properties around the major ones. The Rolling Stones and The World Cup are major events. The CEAT Cricket Awards is a medium sized event. The Rolling Stones do not represent a shift in programming strategy whatsoever. We will continue to focus on events related to cricket and movies. Whether or not The Rolling Stones becomes one of the defining events of the year is for the viewer to decide."

Venkat said McDowell No.1 is the title sponsor. There would be an opening act for both concerts but it is still to be decided whether this would be English or Hindi music. " Nine to ten bands have approached me personally requesting me to give them a stage for such an important occasion. The finer details of the concerts like arrangements, ticket prices, promotional campaigns will be announced on Tuesday. As far as other events are concerned the Adnan Sami tour is taking place and we are trying to promote Indian music as well."

Ex-cricketer Dilip Doshi, whose company it is that is promoting this event, said: "This represents a long time dream come true. The band has withstood all the problems associated with rock 'n' roll for 40 years. Mick Jagger has been a cricket fan for 30 years and has been wanting to come down to India for a while now. However due to logistical reasons this was not possible earlier. Jagger in fact visited India in 1996 for the World Cup semi final."

An innovative promotional video was aired showing the excitement that the Rolling Stones create today whether the music lover is from Mexico or Holland.

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