'Idol' gala phase: Sony looks to reach lower SEC's with strategic tie-ups

MUMBAI: After the big bang promotional blitz that marked the arrival of Sony's big-ticket show Indian Idol in October, the marketing effort enters a new phase with the aim being to widen the sampling base for the talent show as it enters home stretch.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, Sony's senior vice president Albert Almeida says, "The big thing going forward is the Indian Idol gala phase; the show doesn't get any bigger. From a marketing standpoint, it is crucial for us now to have maximum people sample the show."

The show's reach touched 57 per cent of the universe within 3.5 weeks of its launch in the Hindi speaking markets CS 4+, according to TAM data.

Strategic partnerships is how the channel is looking at increasing sampling and penetrating into lower SECs and roping in audiences who don't feed on general entertainment channels on a regular basis. Almeida points out that the tie up with Aaj Tak, which does an Idol wrap, was working very well for them which was funneling audiences to each other. Sony has also been supplying content to Red FM and they have been plugging the show on a consistent basis.

One interesting endeavour is a tie up with Vividh Bharati which will showcase a sponsored capsule on Idol that is aimed at reaching out to a lower SEC base. Other deals include tie-ups with regional players like Amar Bangla and Power (Kolkata), leading FM stations in Bengal as well as alliances with local cable operators to play up the show with capsules being given to them. Key priority towns Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Kanpur, Punjab, Pune, Haryana and Lucknow are supported with media like outdoor and print.


When asked about the dip in ratings the show had seen over the past few weeks, Almeida explained it away saying that the international trend of Idol was that it opens high, the piano phase witnessing a slight dip and gala phase sprucing up the numbers again. "It will take two or three gala episodes to see the viewership really spruce up and for the buzz to build up," Almeida says.

Another consideration to bear in mind is the length of the episodes which have crossed into the regular habit viewing programmes and hence the dip, Almeida points out. Overall, Idol's rating trends are in tandem with what has happened in international markets, he says.

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