FBC India targets $4.5 million booty riding reality TV wave

NEW DELHI: Banking heavily on reality shows, Fact Based Communications (FBC) Media India, a joint venture between the Europe based FBC and four Indians, has lined up six shows over a period of 18 months.

Whats more, though the parent company doesnt dabble much in fictional works,FBC India has decided that fiction is a good route to success and would be setting up a division that would explore development of such properties for various TV channels.

Incidentally, Star Ones reality show involving budding fashion designers --- Fashion House --- is an Indian version of FBCs show of the similar name that has been a great hit in various parts of Europe.

We do feel that development of branded properties like reality shows on the line of Lakme Fashion House offers great opportunities here in India as demand for TV software increases with proliferation of channels. Its this opportunity that we want to exploit,FBC India director Samir Gupta said.

As proof of the demand, Gupta offers the example of MTV and Sony. Both are slated to start airing reality shows some time in the next two quarters.We are also producing a show for Zee TV,the US-trained Gupta adds.

Guptas parents have been in the media business for long. Mother Urmilla, for example, has been a deputy director-general with Doordarshan during the pubcasters hey days and had also served a stint at Star India in the late 1990s and early 2000s as the head of its then aborted DTH division.

Concurring on the potential of the Indian market is Alan Friedman, FBC Media chairman and CEO, who believes that India is an emerging market for it has a vast pool of talented and hard working professionals. He plans to target the

rapidly expanding (upwardly mobile) middle class segment, which accounts for more than 250 million of the total population.

Dwelling on branded products that can be sold to TV channels, Gupta said that the world over some companies develop formats or localize it for particular markets, which in India is being done by FBC India as it liaises with advertisers, programmers and broadcasters for possible endorsement and airing of such shows. The type of work that we are doing would come to the fore from April onwards as some programmes go on air then (including possibly Fashion House on Star One),Gupta said, adding that over the next four years or so reality shows would be much in demand.

However, in the same vein, he added that after four years or so, the demand for reality shows is likely to plateau off as such shows cannot replace soaps and serials.Globally, reality shows work on cyclical basis and we dont think India would be an exception, Gupta explained. That there is money to be made in reality shows can be gauged from the fact that a typical reality show can cost anywhere between $ 700,000 to $ 1.5 million.

Take, for example, Fashion House, which is being shot through 25 remote cameras and other gizmos. Its as close to being 'live as you can get like the Big Brother show in the US,Gupta said.

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