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MTV explores ‘What Women Love’ through ‘Splitsvilla 8’

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MUMBAI: With the motive to kill boredom, music and youth channel MTV is all set to kickoff the eighth season of Splitsvilla. Themed, ‘What Women Love’, the new season is set to cross extreme boundaries.

MTV Splitsvilla season 8 has roped in Karbonn Smart as the title sponsor with Airtel and Schmitten luxury Chocolate as co-presented sponsors. Spraymintt, Glam-up, Bacardi Breezer and Manforce are the powered by sponsors.

The many firsts’

The makers have tweaked the format this season. The odds are tripped in favour of the girls as it is the boys who will be seen doing all the hard work to find a way into their lady love’s heart. To show what women truly value in a man, the creators are pitting eight celebrity boys against eight non-celebrity boys to woo 14 girls.

“Last season, we explored with getting celebrity boys on the show and we got good eyeballs. So, this year we thought of getting more celebrity boys as part of the format,” explains MTV EVP and business head Aditya Swamy.

The eight celebrity boys are, ex-winner of Splitsvilla 5 Paras Chabra, MTV Roadies X2 winner Prince Narula, MTV Kaisi Yeh Yaariaan fame Utkarsh Gupta, model and radio show host Ishaan Chibber, model Viren Singh Rathore and TV actors Amaad Mintoo, Zaan Khan and Yash Pandit.

Secondly, the all new combination of actor Sunny Leone and VJ and actor Rannvijay Singh as hosts will give the show a whole new flavour as they mentor the girls and boys.

Thirdly, to add on to the action, for the first time, the show that goes on-air from 4 July will kick off as a bi-weekly, airing on both Saturday and Sunday at 7 pm for the first two weeks, thereafter being showcased every Saturday at the same time.

“When you launch only on a Saturday, people have to wait for one whole week for the second episode, but this season in 24 hours viewers will get to see the next episode,” says Swamy.

Splitsvilla is in a more controlled environment

The seventh season of the show reached the 100 million viewers mark and registered 60 per cent growth over the previous season.

Making a reality show is not a piece of cake. Unlike Roadies, where the channel is working rigorously for 11 months, Swamy feels Splitsvilla is in a more controlled environment. “Roadies is a travel based show, Splitsvilla is shot on one location. The time it takes is less than what it takes to do Roadies which starts from one place and ends at another,” he opines.

MTV content and programming head Shalini Sethi who finally sealed the theme ‘What Women Love’ informs that this wasn’t the only theme that came to the creator’s mind. “We did discuss a couple of other themes, but we locked on this one keeping in mind what is happening in today’s time where the country is talking about issues relating to women and women empowerment among others.”

An extensive survey was also conducted amongst the target audience, especially women and girls to understand what they expect from men. “Everybody had a different perspective, yet meaningful,” asserts Sethi.

This season, the creators have chosen Goa as the love destination. Except for the finale, the entire show was canned in 45 days. It took three-four months for the channel to execute the new season.

Swamy reveals that the planning for the next season begins on the very day the last episode is shot.  “We treat our shows as brands. So when you are working on a series, you hope that it will last for weeks, but when you are building a brand, you are building it for a lifetime. The whole idea is to build Splitsvilla as a brand. And it is so difficult for a seven year franchise to let go off it,” states Swamy.

He believes that the coming in of new people brings a lot of freshness to the show. “We keep challenging ourselves to do better every season. Internally we had new minds coming in and contributing for the new season. We had Sethi who has recently come onboard; she had her own points to put,” says Swamy.

With always having a mix of old and new people, the channel has roped in a new co-producer in Vikas Gupta’s Lost Boy Productions, with Colosceum being the producer.

Digital marketing

MTV has close to 13 million fans on Facebook, a million and a half Twitter followers and close to 95,000 followers on Instagram. The website grabs eyeballs of 20 million visits. “We have been able to use the digital environment very well. We also have a vast network of channels within Viacom18. There are 18 channels within the network and MTV will use that to promote it. To top it all, there are several brands like Airtel, Breezer, Karbonn etc having their own marketing plans. Content marketing is the in-thing today,” says Swamy.

On the marketing front, Swamy reveals that the spent is too less as a lot of marketing is driven on its own assets. “If you put a value to it, it’s huge, but we own a lot of these assets ourselves, so it is not paid marketing. We invest a lot in content,” quips Swamy.

A media planner believes that the ad rate for a show like Splitsvilla ranges anywhere between Rs 1.30 lakh to Rs 1.50 lakh for a 10-sec slot. “Look at the show today, it has already tasted success and still counting. The reach, visibility and also the content is growing season after season which is good for any youth reality show,” concludes the media planner. 

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