Television

‘Yudh’ will rewrite Indian television history

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MUMBAI: When the shahenshah of Bollywood enters the daily soap genre ruling the small screen, it is bound to create curiosity among his fans and others.

And the channel, Sony, airing Amitabh Bachchan’s debut in a fiction show with Yudh isn’t shying away from going an extra mile to keep the buzz alive before the big launch on 14 July.

 “We have gone that extra mile to break the clutter and establish top of mind recall,” says Sony Entertainment Television (SET) SVP head-marketing Gaurav Seth.

The 20 episode fiction series, which will replace Balaji telefilms' Bade Achche Lagte Hain and air Monday to Thursday at 10.30 pm, is said to be an audience pulling because of the legendary artist on-board.

“Some shows open slow and take their own sweet time to get bigger while others are quite the opposite.  A lot of shows on Sony opened really big but over time people felt that they were dragging. But with the new show, we are hoping for a win-win situation. Bachchan will pull crowds and finite episodes will keep them hooked on,” strongly believes Seth.

 “Considering that Anurag Kashyap is the storyteller here, I think it is an advantage. It is quite high-tide drama show,” he adds.  

Filmy style

The channel is pitching it like a movie, and hence, following the rules and steps taken during movie promotions. The first look was launched through a poster, followed by music release and then a trailer on television and digital.

It was last year, 6 June to be precise, when the channel started the buzz around the show.

Set to go down in the history of Indian television, the channel is using unique and innovative ways to reach out to the viewers. To promote the show as the next big thing, a robust 360 degree marketing activity has been lined up.

The marketing initiative started in the national capital, where a 50 feet tall poster was unveiled from the famous Statesman house. The poster revealed the first look of the show; and the cast spearheaded by Bachchan along with the directors Anurag Kashyap and Shoojit Sircar were present at the unveiling.

This was closely followed by the protagonist listing his company Shanti Constructions at Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). The trading at the stock exchange started after the star rang the opening bell at the BSE on 17 June. 

The channel has also been extremely strong on digital. Starting 11 July, viewers will get a chance to view a 10 minute sneak peak of the first episode. All one has to do is to tweet about the show and the video hosted on yudh.setindia.com; the more one tweets, the more closer they get to unlocking the 10 minute video.

The strategy will be used throughout the season, wherein viewers will get a chance to view the first few scenes from the next episode of the show by answering the question asked post every episode.

Bachchan who is active on twitter, launched a lot of trailers on his timeline.

Starting 21 July, the channel also plans to launch a character based application. Online quiz has also been planned wherein people will be asked a few questions about themselves and based on the answers they will be told which character personality comes closest to them. “The objective of the activity is to build key characters from the show and for viewers to identify with them,” says Seth.

SET refused to divulge the production cost but sources claim it could be close to Rs 3 crore per episode (including marketing spends). The amount is more than ever used for a fiction show on Indian television. Generally, the production cost of a daily soap is less than Rs 1 crore per episode.

Yudh has also managed to break boundaries in terms of ad rates. A 10 sec ad spot is being sold at double rate than the usual at Rs 3 lakh.

Sometimes, it is just not about investments, believes Seth. “At times, we have done high-budgeted shows and spent a lot in marketing them as well. But it is not always about investments; sometimes it is all about creating content that you believe in. You have a big star and you believe he has certain kind of affinity with the audience.”

Will it be able to break-even? “The marketers have shown interest in it,” says Seth.

Many advertisers have jumped on the opportunity to associate with it. Cadbury and OLX.in are the main and powered by sponsors with six associate sponsors namely Honda, Maruti Suzuki, Nutrela, Syska LED, Ultratech and Goibibo.com.

Masses on mind

And similarly like a movie, the channel with this show aims to target the entire country and not any particular TG.

“Bachchan appeals to both, male and female.  We are talking to the masses, irrespective of men and women,” asserts Seth.

With 10.30 pm slot, is it skewed more towards adults? “It is my belief that AB is loved by both youngsters and older generation as well.”

The promo of the show will be seen across channels like news, music, movies and regional.

The channel has secured over 10,000 spots outside the MSM network. “Sometimes you have limitations on what you can take and cannot take because of your rival networks, but outside that almost everything has been covered,” pinpoints Seth.

Radio listeners from Mumbai, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and cities of Maharashtra and Gujarat with a population of over 1 million will also be hearing spots of the promo on the radio station’s popular show. Movie goers too will witness the high octane promo in multiplexes and single screens.

The one-hour series will be competing with other shows like Veera (Star Plus), Doli Armaano Ki (Zee), Tu Mere Agal Bagal Hai (Sab), yet-to-air Laut Aao Trisha (Life OK).

“The slot doesn’t have much of competition. Whether it does extremely well, or not well, is not on our mind but the idea was to create a show that will stand alone on its own entity. All I am saying is that here is an opportunity for a finite period of time for you to come and sample a great legend on a television show,” concludes Seth.

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