Television

How Star Sports created 'Cricket Connected' while staying distant

The show is made from home amid the COVID-19 scare

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2020/04/23/star.jpg?itok=fVZYBmwM

MUMBAI: In the absence of live sports amid COVID-19, Star Sports, in order to keep cricket enthusiasts engaged, had launched a talk show called Cricket Connected.

“Cricket Connected is an attempt to create a window every week for fans to connect with each other and with cricket legends," says a source close to Star Sports.

The show has, so far, featured cricket legends such as Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, Gautam Gambhir, VVS Laxman, Kevin Pietersen, among others, along with host Jatin Sapru. It is produced both in Hindi and English. So far, three episodes of the show have already been released.

The show is an output of video conference of cricket legends along with a moderator (anchor), and it required a complete re-design of production. “We have not done anything like this in the past and don’t believe anyone has ever done the same so far,” says the source. “We create virtual connections with the help of video conference application Zoom, on which we have added a layer of technology that allows us to produce a call in a typical chat show format.”

The lockdown has forced everyone to stay indoors but the show must go on. Hence, the broadcaster has allowed one of its directors, who used to direct Hindi IPL, to set up a production control in his living room. He, from his house, not only monitors, records the conference call as a show, but also remotely accesses the archives to get relevant footage. The director also gives final touches to show from his makeshift PCR.

To guide the moderator and panellists and to maintain the pre-decided flow of the show, the director and a producer join the call only through audio. The operation remains very similar to a typical production. However, the production design is very different from the one done via a proper production control room.

The show is a combination of video conference features, relevant contextual visuals and one-on-one Instagram video chats of current cricketers along with two dedicated segments like Kids Connected and #AskStar. Kids Connected is a segment, wherein the broadcaster urges viewers to send clips of cricket-enthusiastic children either commentating or anchoring about cricket and #AskStar is an interactive segment during which a question asked by a cricket fan is answered by one of the panellists.

The two major challenges the broadcaster faced while producing the show were good internet bandwidth and the two-second lag during video call. “We record the call in the morning before 1 pm for good bandwidth to ensure the content that we are producing is in line with our broadcasting quality,” source explains.

Whereas, to overcome the second issue we started giving a cue to the next speaker during a live conference call. Source adds, “We built a customised solution on the Zoom application that allows the anchor to actually know when the expert is finished talking and helps to maintain the flow.”

Not every cricket veteran is tech-savvy and understands the video call. Hence, the broadcaster ensures that each of the panellists is given a detailed brief about the show flow and a tutorial of the Zoom call prior to recording. The anchor being a bridge between the panellists and viewers, is also briefed a day prior to the recording. Cricket experts join the video conference call either through mobile phones or laptop cameras.

"Generally, the idea and flow of the show is decided on Monday of every week and the conference calls take place either on Thursday or Friday morning. Moreover, the one-on-one interaction between two cricketers is recorded as per their availability. We also allow the panellists to choose their video call background but suggest them to maintain the look and feel quite natural,” Source reveals.

The content strategy of the show revolves around four basic pillars: news points, great stories, anecdotes, and interactive segments that talk about the life of current players under lockdown.

“We wish to discuss cricket topics that are relevant and contextual; topics that are not making news but have the potential to be news,” the source says while talking about the first pillar of content strategy. “We choose the content that is relevant in the week. Something that will get fans to discuss on social media and are likely to be trending.”

The source further adds, “The second pillar of our content strategy is to pick up interesting moments from cricket history, which are still relevant and can be given new angles. We choose topics that have great stories and anecdotes around them to keep them trending for a week.”

The third pillar is about interactive sessions, wherein the aim is to create engagement with viewers and cricket fans through social media, a quiz on the life of a sporting star, or an important cricket match in history. The most important pillar out of all four is the last one wherein it attempts to show the life of current cricket stars under lockdown and give glimpses of their lifestyle.

There hasn’t been a specific marketing strategy to promote this show. The show is an alternative to live cricket but is likely to be continued for a long time. So far, the first episode has gained a cumulative reach of 8.3 million and overall watch-time of 48.6 million.

Star Sports is also mulling to take this show to regional languages such as Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. Though it’s in the primary stage, the broadcaster is likely to come out the same show in Tamil in the next 10 days, which will rope in cricket experts from that region, who would talk about CSK as a team and its players as well as about the Tamil Nadu team’s performance in Ranji Trophy. The broadcaster is also thinking of coming up with the same format in football in order to engage the Indian soccer fans.

So far, the broadcaster has not onboarded any sponsors or advertisers. With the rising traction, sources close to Star Sports mentioned that the network is planning to go to market with this show

The upcoming episode of Cricket Connected will feature unknown achievements of Sachin Tendulkar as his birthday (24 April) that falls during this week. The episode will also feature KL Rahul, who turned 28 last weekend. The original telecast of the show is scheduled every Saturday at 7 pm and 9 pm. However, re-runs are shown till Tuesday of the following week.

Latest Reads

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/03/starwprld.jpg?itok=6lHWNy-d
Star World Invites You to Its ‘Weekend Watch Party’

After a long week of work, some leisure time is essential. With all our weekends now being spent within the confines of our home, there is no better time to catch-up on some of the most talked-about, mind-bending drama series on television! So, tune-in to Star World Weekend Watch Party every...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/03/banijay.jpg?itok=FcHRhIEB
Banijay completes landmark deal to acquire Endemol Shine Group

MUMBAI: Banijay today announced the completion of the acquisition of Endemol Shine Group, previously co-owned by The Walt Disney Company and funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management Inc. The closed deal, which has been successfully approved by the relevant regulators worldwide in...

Television Production House Fiction
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/03/barc.jpg?itok=7MVLSMfP
BARC week 25: Star Plus continues to hold top spot in urban market and pay platform

Star Plus topped the chart on the pay platform and in the urban market in Week 25 of 2020 ( Saturday 20 June 2020 to Friday 26 June 2020  ) of Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) data. However, Star Plus slipped down to seventh position in the rural market.

Television TV Channels Viewership
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/03/indiatv.jpg?itok=BYww9CQn
India TV makes 3 key appointments

India TV has appointed experienced professionals at three key positions. Ajay Kumar has been appointed as consulting editor, Anand Pandey will be editor- research and planning and Jaya Prakash Singh has joined as chief of bureau, Mumbai.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/03/tv.jpg?itok=N3bOhVl2
TV ad volumes on Kannada channels grow as Covid2019 situation improves

The third biggest contributor to south India’s ad space, amounting to Rs 5,000 crore in the year 2019 (as per TAM AdEx South Side Story), Karnataka is a crowded space when it comes to advertisers and marketers both.

Television TV Channels Regional
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/02/prive.jpg?itok=BS6zPI6d
This July, Immerse yourself in a wonderful world of amazing stories with Privé Collection on &PrivéHD

Be it true love, ghosts, football, killing – you name it and the collection has it all! Here’s an exciting, tragic, creepy, action-packed and funny assortment of tales like no other! From fearless action sequences to epic adventures or maybe a cheerful animation to something hysterically funny, we...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/01/aplause.jpg?itok=lMwW7zks
Applause Entertainment partners with Gurinder Chadha and Sunder Aaron

MUMBAI: With a strong focus on building an exciting and ambitious content slate that serves a diverse set of audiences, Applause Entertainment has rapidly emerged as one of the leading studios in India. An Aditya Birla Group venture, the content studio led by media veteran Sameer Nair has announced...

Television Production House Fiction
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/01/sportskeeda.jpg?itok=BQrqjlhJ
Sportskeeda to launch an original interview series “Free Hit” with Sourav Ganguly, Kapil Dev, and Yuvraj Singh

Sportskeeda, India’s largest all-sports news website is all set to launch its original interview series “Free Hit”. The first-of-its-kind series FreeHit catches-up with legendary cricketers in their own homes, and listens-in as they narrate their journey of becoming what they are today. 

Television TV Channels Sports
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/01/Raktim-Das_0.jpg?itok=Oy5L5CQe
TV9 appoints Raktim Das as COO of Studio9

Beefing up its management team and adding momentum to its pan-network digital expansion plans, TV9 Bharatvarsh announced the appointment of former Zee executive cluster head, innovation studio, and custom content Raktim Das as COO of its property Studio9.

Television TV Channels Regional

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required