Twin NDTV channels to telecast Apsara Awards live

MUMBAI: After Jai Jawan and the India Fashion Week, NDTV has taken another step towards broadbasing viewership by deciding to air the Apsara Film Producers' Guild awards live on 29 May.

The awards, in their first year, will be shown live for two and half hours on both NDTV India and 24x7. While news channel Aaj Tak had been the first last year to announce a similar intention to telecast live the Indian Television Academy awards last year, in reality the channel aired only sporadic snippets of the event.

On the other hand, NDTV Media CEO Raj Nayak says the NDTV channels will air the Apsara awards in toto. "The Apsara awards are unique as they are the first instituted for both the film and television industries, and have been brought into being for and by the industry." Credibility and transparency are among the factors that led NDTV to consider airing an entertainment event of this magnitude live.

The awards will be a formal affair, complete with red carpet and an impromptu opening of the envelope with the winners' names on stage, a la the Oscars. The completely transparency of the conducting of the awards (Price Waterhouse Coopers auditors went to each guild member to collect and seal the votes) clinched the decision to air the event on NDTV, says Nayak.

Needless to say, film events of this kind have a tremendous viewer interest, which the channel will undoubtedly cash in on. Reliance Infocomm is the presenting sponsor the event, while Nokia is one of the ground sponsors. A 15 camera set up will be used to cover the event, including behind-the-scenes coverage and interviews. The channels also covered the nominations nite in April.Says Film Producers' Guild of India president Amit Khanna, "We see a definite fit in taking the programme live on the NDTV network, as the content is more focussed toward a formal, credible and transparent awards ceremony, as opposed to an entertainment show. We see in NDTV a great partner to highlight the process and indeed the credibility which is essential in any awards ceremony."

"The acquisition of such prestigious content is not only a reflection of our ability to produce a live show of such style and class but also our ability to build on the content in a manner which helps the overall imagery of the event. We would be going behind the scenes, covering the lead-up to the main event, the people behind it etc. It also marks the significance of mainstream news channels and the impact they are having on viewers", says NDTV president Prannoy Roy.

Says Nayak, "We have proved that news channel programming need not be just plain news bulletins. With programming like Hum Log, Gustakhi Maaf and Jai Jawan, we have led the way in innovative programming." Thus, the Apsara awards give the channel an opportunity to broadbase the content without trivialising the essence of the channel, he says, adding that the channel would be open for similar properties in the days ahead.

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