Television

Colors bets bigger with India's Got Talent 5

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MUMBAI: It is said that emotions sell. It seems so right in the case of Viacom18 Hindi GEC Colors' talent show India’s Got Talent (IGT) where the emotional stories clubbed with exceptional talent led it to win the Best Entertainment Programme at the Asian TV Awards 2013. 

But while its fourth edition was high on pullling viewers' heart strings, the fifth edition that begins on 11 January at 9:00 pm every Saturday and Sunday, promises to bring out not just the contestants' emotional journeys but also oodles of undiscovered talent from the different corners of India.

Based on the international format, Britian's Got Talent owned by FremantleMedia, the channel says that the endeavour this year has been to find talent that would defy the dimensions of a stage through acrobatic, aquatic and circus acts besides many other scintillating performances.

IGT's auditions began much earlier in June and the number of cities and towns where the team scouted for new skilled contestants ballooned to 45, with their number of auditions also rising 45 per cent. Viewers will get to see familiar faces as judges: old-timer Kirron Kher is very much there for her fifth season; Karan Johar (in his second season) and and Malaika Arora Khan, who, in the last edition, had to leave midway to make way for Farah Khan (however, this time she assures she will definitely continue till the finale). 

Also, there are two new hosts – stand-up comics and artiste Bharti Kher and Mantra who with different avatars every week will add a tinge of humour to the proceedings. What's new this year is also the Golden Buzzer - which the judges can press to give a participant a direct route to the semi-finals. And since there’s a lot more being packed in this edition, it is no surprise that production budget has escalated. FremantleMedia India head of commercial & and operations Vidyuth Bhandary says it is up more than 25 per cent. 

“Since we are exploring uncharted talent, the investment in everything has scaled up. The dimension of the show has changed with the inclusion of performances on water and circus besides other platforms. It required us to leave the studio and build separate sets so that the contestants could show their talent,” says Bhandary.

A source from the industry informs that the last edition of the show was produced in a budget of around Rs 23-24 crore and thus an estimated Rs 30-32 crore is being sunk in this time around.

“India’s Got Talent is our flagship property which has grown exponentially season-after-season thereby attracting larger participation individuals across the country" says  FremantleMedia India managing director Anupama Mandloi. "Our team has worked together endlessly in an endeavor to showcase the creativity and enthusiasm which further adds to the scale and grandeur of the show.” 

On view will be perfromers from 3 to 80 years with stunts that include pole dancing, basketball, para-gliders, synchronised swimming, fire jumping and diffusive neon painting.

According to Bhandary, it is one of the most difficult shows from the production point of view. “It is not controlled like other reality shows. The size of a talent group varies from two to more than hundred people and managing the logistics gets really difficult at times,” he says, also adding that the production team includes a specialised crew that can handle any critical situation should it arise. 

“Since we have increased the variety of talent on the show, we have also scaled up the safety measures. Like during the water act, we had four divers ready to help in case of an emergency. There’s a fire marshal, ambulance, stunt team always in place. We make sure that the precautionary measures are always in place,” he adds.

Promotional budgets too have been hiked.  So if the channel's marketing team has drawn up a well-thought  digital campaign, the on-ground activities and campaigns on other mediums are no less.

Colors digital head Vivek Srivastava says that the digital campaign is divided in two parts, the first starts with a unique Twitter Concert before the show's launch. 

“Starting tomorrow, we start our two-day crowdsourcing activity for which we are inviting our Twitter followers to compose lines around the show using the hashtag #IGTTwitterConcert. The final composition would then be taken forward and sung as a song by a band. The final song will be launched with the show on 11 January,” he says, adding that the idea is to engage the audience completely.

The second phase begins after the show goes on air. “In that, through different mediums, we would promote the talent on the show with their stories,” says Vivek.

Even on radio, two innovative campaigns have been designed. While an Acapella act will be presented by this season’s participant, Ki Umjer that will be aired across radio stations and cities to showcase the international caliber of talent that will feature on the show, another one in association with Red FM will bring together 30 RJs from across the country in Mumbai. 

“The RJs will tell the stories of the talented individuals who reside in their cities,” says Colors marketing head Rajesh Iyer.

Another on-ground activity is planned at Mumbai's famed Churchgate station that will take place just before the on-air launch. 

“It will  give the common public a chance to show the talent in them,” says Iyer, adding that the overall outreach programme involves 3500+ spots on television, ads in 50 plus edition of key print publications, over 8,000 radio spots, OOH covering 100 towns and DTH imprints. 

“Since our target audience includes everyone from young to old, we have planned these extensive campaigns to pull in maximum number of viewers,” he says. IGT's concept is very different from any other show currently on air on any other channel. Unlike other reality shows that focus on one particular talent like singing or dancing, this one gives a viewer a varied variety. But still competition is competition. And that seemed to have touched one of the judges Karan Johar too. Karan whose celebrity chat show, Koffee With Karan airs on Sunday at the same time slot on Star World. He jokingly asked the media during the press conference which show would they prefer to watch him on - IGT or KWK? Karan didn’t get a straight answer but Iyer on a lighter note quipped, “We don’t compete with Koffee With Karan.”

However, he doesn’t dismiss competition with other GECs when they all are running reality shows at the same time slot – Zee TV has its most popular property - Dance India Dance 4, Star Plus has Nach Baliye 6 and Sony has Boogie Woogie. “But we can’t be threatened by that. What we have got to do, we have got to do,” he says.

Colors’ weekend programming head Manisha Sharma seconds and adds, “Every show says that they are different. But we have done well and have grown year after year because of our differentiated content. It’s the diverse talent that we bring on our show that works.”

IGT kick-starts its first episode with Bollywood’s favourite leading lady Madhuri Dixit-Nene who will join the judging panel while sharing inspirational stories and anecdotes with the participants. Subsequent episodes will also feature special guests including Remo D’souza, Manish Paul amongst many others.

IGT’s advertisers include Maruti Suzuki for the presented by tag, it is powered by L’Oreal Paris Total Repair 5 and associate sponsors include Tata Ace and Amul Macho.

And it isn't just that the Colors and Fremantle team that's oozing with confidence this season, even industry experts have given IGT the thumbs up.  Lodestar UM's vice president Deepak Netram says it  has a huge appeal because of the kind of talent it brings. "The promo of a girl with an amputated leg has already sent shockwaves. It has raised the expectations and the curiosity both. The promos have build up the excitement around the show. There's shock value along with emotional backing and it's something really to look forward to," he remarks. 

Weekends for Colors' fans obviously aren't going to be the same.

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