MTV ‘Roadies X2’ takes a different route

MUMBAI: MTV Roadies has become India’s longest running reality show and this time round, there’s something different in store. “It’s the 12th season and yet it feels like the first,” says MTV India EVP and business head Aditya Swamy about the cult youth reality show.

So what is special this season? For starters, the show has gone for a complete makeover. This year it is breaking the format wide open, thus bringing in the unexpected.

Going the unexpected way...

This season, few changes in the format are the highlight:

1) Sans the bad boys Raghu and Rajiv, it brings on board a whole new legion of gang leaders to join the original roadie Rannvijay Singh. The new gang leaders are actress Esha Deol, Olympic medalist and boxer Vijender Singh and television actor Karan Kundra.

According to Swamy each one of them represents a certain factor. For instance, Vijendra represents the fact that winning is all that matters; Kundra represents that Roadies is just not about being physically tough but also being smart and Deol represents the girl power.

“Each of them brings new packet to the show and along with them they will bring their own fan base that will increase the viewership base for the show itself,” adds Swamy.

2) Having a female personality as a gang leader in Deol itself is a novelty this season.

3) MTV wants to reflect youth power in the show. For the past 11 seasons, judges took over the power to select the contestants. This year, the channel has given the power to the audience as well. “There is the power to the audience and young people believe that they have the power to drive change more than ever,” states Swamy.

4) Another change in the format is the journey itself. Roadies X2 gangs will ride along the scenic route from the holy city of Varanasi to the birthplace of The Ganges in Nepal.

“Like always everyone expected the journey will start from Goa but this time around it is starting from Varanasi and goes all the way to the Himalayas. It is going to be a visual delight in terms of locations and the feel of the show,” Swamy says.

Let the game begin...

The auditions were held in four cities - Pune, Kolkata, Delhi and Chandigarh in December. Thousands of hopefuls showed up at each audition venue, some even camping over night to get an early entry into the auditions.

According to Swamy, auditions are an event in themselves. He believes that the confidence is growing in the youth every year. “The views of youth are becoming much broader and liberal today. I see less lack of judgments and much more acceptance happening with young people. To top it all, I also see more and more girls coming in for auditions, which is very positive sign.”

In the game, participants will not just compete against each other to become the ultimate ‘Roadie’ but will compete in gangs too. Each ‘gang leader’ - Rannvijay, Vijender, Kundra and Esha - will pick five participants for their own gangs.

These gangs and their leaders will then compete against each other through a series of tasks to eliminate each other from the show. The gang leader and the gang member that stays through the end, winning the maximum number of tasks will be adjudged as the winner.

Roadies X2 will see participation of 20 contestants (five members in each of the four gangs) and will air for 17 episodes.

Behind the scenes

Swamy shared his thoughts on how tough it is to make a reality show in this country. He reveals that out of 12 months, July is the only month of break for the channel.

The channel starts planning for the show sometime in August followed by audition rounds that takes place in September till November. And the shoot begins in the month of December followed by the edit etc. The show goes live in the month of January with the season ending in the month of June.

“People say that Roadies is the longest running reality show in the country, but what people don’t think that it is tough to make a reality show in this country. It is our labour of love. Every member of the crew has to embody that Roadies spirit because they live in the toughest of conditions, work with really challenging situations. A lot of the tasks are actually done by the crew themselves to check whether it is safe and do-able.”

Swamy says that everybody has a role to play. Nobody is a celebrity and nobody is a worker, all are Roadies. Each one comes back wiser, stronger and more confident every season.

Big pockets

This season Hero MotoCorp continues to be the title sponsor and Vivo Smart Phone has come on board as the associate sponsor along with traditional long term partners like Mountain Dew, Ciat tyres etc. In all, the channel has roped in 12 sponsors this season. Swamy believes it is a big magnet for advertisers as well to connect with the youth.

The show is all set to hit the television screens on 24 January with expected 20 per cent higher advertising revenues in its 12th season. It will be aired on Saturdays at 7 pm.

According to media analysts, the channel expects 15 per cent higher ad-rates for its 10-second slots, while the title sponsor, Hero has spent about 22-25 per cent higher to get the association.

While the channel chose to remain tight-lipped about the financial details, the analyst has also informed that a single 10-second slot on the show is being offered at Rs 25,000 - Rs 30,000.

Along with this, unlike many other successful properties on television, Roadies demands Rs 15,000 - RS 17,000 for a 10-second slot on the repeats of the episodes too, which is close to 50 per cent of the original telecast.

Marketing buzz

The channel has targeted top colleges in the country to promote the event. It has also got on-board few Bollywood celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham and Akshay Kumar to talk on how excited they are that the show is coming back on television.

Roadies is also very popular on the online platform and has high viewership. Digital auditions too will help the channel attract eyeballs from the youth.

According to a media planner, even in the 12th season, the show is going to work for the channel. “It’s become a youth icon now. There is no chance of the show seeing a fatigue as it has already made a strong base for itself in the crowd. Every year there will be newer audiences coming in to watch the show. Moreover, on the digital front too, the channel gets good traction. To top it all, it’s fun and popular.”

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