Sony announces 'Indian Idol 2' series; six sponsors signed on

MUMBAI: March 2005 saw Abhijeet Sawant becoming a household name in India when the Mumbai boy was crowned the first ever Indian Idol on Sony Entertainment Television (SET). Riding on the success saga of the first series of the show, Sony has now announced the second series.

The channel has signed on Airtel, Asian Paints, Nokia, Marico, Maruti and Pepsi as the sponsors for the show, which would involve promotions on various conventional and unconventional media vehicles as well as innovations.

The second Indian Idol will be produced jointly by Miditech and Fremantle. The judges (Farah Khan, Sonu Nigam and Anu Malik) and the hosts (Aman Yatan Verma and Mini Mathur) of the show remain the same as the previous series.

Like last time, Sony will yet again unleash another wave of innovations as part of its 360-degree marketing and communication campaign.

SET India CEO Kunal Dasgupta says, "Indian Idol?s internationally successful format has not only hooked millions of viewers the world over but has also proved itself as a credible to be the platform for that catapulting true talent in India to unparalleled stardom. As witnessed last year, Indian Idol truly holds the potential to deliver a massive ratings success and create national frenzy. We are certain that this year, Indian Idol will only get bigger and better, taking Sony to greater heights."

In addition to a recording contract with Sony BMG, the Indian Idol will be awarded a contract with Sony worth Rs 100 million.

Registrations for the second season of Indian Idol begins this month. Contestants can dial 646 from their Airtel phone or register via their landlines. The Indian Idol crew will travel to 13 cities including Jaipur, Ajmer, Jodhpur, Baroda, Ahmedabad, Indore, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Karnal, Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow and Kolkata, inviting registrations from participants. The eligible ones will receive the audition details.

In October, auditions will be held in Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow and Kolkata where the show producers will first shortlist contestants. The contestants will then be auditioned and short listed by producers of the show. Thereafter, the panel of judges will undertake the task of choosing 150 Indian Idol aspirants from those who register.

The judges will further whittle these 150 down to 28 in November. From hereon, viewers will be able to cast their votes for the 12 finalists.

SET India executive vice president and business head Tarun Katial said, "As witnessed last year, Indian Idol took viewer engagement and interactivity to new heights and catapulted its finalists to ultimate stardom. This year too, the channel will give its viewers the platform to realise their dreams and put fame and fortune within their reach while offering distinctive, breakthrough entertainment. This year too, Indian Idol will be packed with all the elements of reality, scale, emotion and the journey itself, that will make the Indian audiences connect with it, leading to extreme interactivity involvement and mass frenzy."

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