Television

From bikini auctions to Bollywood acts - channels ready with Diwali programming

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It‘s that time of year again, when channels try every trick in the book to attract the viewer, and consequently, the advertiser.

Star Plus set off its festive programming with special Navratri episodes of Yatra, and Balaji soaps which were laced with a Dandiya flavour. For its Diwali line up, Star Plus is trying a novel tack by roping in the stars of its afternoon band for a special show on Star Gold.

Sony is hitting back with a one hour special of Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin, with Jassi celebrating her first Diwali after securing a job at Gulmohar Fashion House. Zee‘s ace is the telecast of Ram Gopal Varma‘s spookfest Darna Mana Hai next week during its Thursday Premiere slot. Zee MGM is joining the festivities with the telecast of the Cider House Rules and Full Frontal on 25 and 26 October at 9 pm. While Zee Cinema has Humraaz and The Hero in its kitty for the 1 pm slot on Saturday and Sunday.

MTV gets one step closer to localisation with programming tailored for Diwali. The Janasheen MTV Ishtyle Diwali Special will have veejays Cyrus Sahukar and Sophia talking to Celina, Fardeen and Feroze Khan on the making of the movie. Not very Diwali - like, but MTV claims Celina Jaitley will add spice to the show by talking about her her ‘bikini‘ scene in the movie, while papa Feroze and son Fardeen come together on the small screen for the first time. This one will be on air at 7.30 pm on 25 October, with repeats the next day at 2 pm and again on 29 October at 10 am.



MTV VJs acution Celina (Janasheen) Jaitley‘s bikini and violin in Janasheen MTV Ishtyle Diwali Special

The added Diwali attraction on MTV is viewers‘ chance to win Celina‘s itsy bitsy bikini, Fardeen‘s jacket and Feroze Khan‘s stylish suit. There‘s also a contest thrown in that will fetch a bumper prize of a Hero Honda Karizma bike.

Regional channels are, as a matter of fact, leaders when it comes to tailoring programming to festive needs. Vijay, the Tamil channel from the Star stable, had a special event Navrathri Vizha, a festival of classical music, that attracted music connoisseurs to the ground event as well as to the airing of the event. Both Vijay and Sun‘s Telugu channel Gemini have relied on ‘exclusive‘ line ups of programmes with big film stars participating. Soaps too will weave in the Diwali flavour. Vijay also has five new primetime programmes due for launch during Diwali. The off air marketing plan, say officials, is a full blown campaign with a good media mix aimed at creating awareness for these shows. The plan will include outdoor hoardings, lit vinyls, bus back panels, lamp pole kiosks, call taxi branding, print ads, radio advertising... a plan that will be seen across Tamil Nadu, ranging from Chennai, Coimbatore, Maduari to smaller centers like Tiruppur, Arruppukotai, etc.

In Maharashtra, frontrunner Alpha Marathi is celebrating Diwali with a special edition of its popular show Nakshatranche Dene, which will feature songs around lights and the festive season, sung by eminent artistes. The show will air in the afternoon on 26 October. While soap Avantika also completes 400 episodes with a flourish next week, Alpha too has scheduled a line up of feature films to mark Diwali.

Interestingly, says Alpha Marathi business head Nitin Vaidya, at least a dozen publishers of the extremely popular Marathi Diwali magazines have opted to advertise on the channel. Lured by a special package, these otherwise reticent advertisers, including Shatayushi, Shatkar, Chanderi and Awaaz, have come on board this year, apart from regulars like local jewellers and builders. Vijay also sees a spike during festive seasons like Diwali and Pongal, with saree and jewllery retailers pumping in special communications during these phases.



Gemini has its Deepavali Dhamaka

Vijay TV officials are clear about the dividends such shows offer advertisers. "Events on Vijay offer a lot of value to clients and the response to our events has always been excellent. Participating clients get a unique opportunity to gain benefits from off air and on air entitlements," say officials.

As far as regional language television is concerned, the cricket World Cup that was supposed to have hampered festival TV ad spending this year, did not affect revenues substantially, although there were minor course corrections, say Vijay TV officials. The Alpha TV Punjabi package includes the Diwali special of Sitarre Ki Kehende Ne that will be telecast on 25 October.

Following it will be the Diwali special of Sadda Campus at 8 pm featuring Punjabi folk artist Pammi Bai. Kujh Pal Tere Na will feature a tete-a-tete with Punjabi pop superstar Harbhajan Mann at 8.30 pm. This rendezvous will be telecast in two parts, the second part of which will be telecast on 2 November at noon.

The special gift for viewers this Diwali from Alpha TV Punjabi will be the television premiere of Punjabi feature film Pratigya featuring Priti Sapru as part of the ongoing Priti Sapru film festival on the channel. The film will be aired on Diwali Day at 2.30 pm. To mark the fourth anniversary of Alpha TV Punjabi, the channel also telecast Hans Raj Hans live at Guru Gobind Singh Stadium, Jallandhar on 21 October.

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