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FremantleMedia India makes online foray with talent hunt

MUMBAI: Having experienced success on Indian television with different kinds of shows, FremantleMedia India is looking at the digital realm and has announced an online initiative called ‘India’s Digital Superstar’.

Running online for 14 weeks from 19 January till May, the talent hunt is open to musicians, DJs, comedians, mimicry artists, dancers, contortionists and other performers who can participate by sending in entries.

Viewers online will be the judges. For the initiative FremantleMedia India has tied up with Zenga TV, a mobile streaming service, and OneDigital Entertainment, a YouTube multichannel network. The presenting sponsor is Amazon.in and the show is powered by Gionee. The radio partner is Red FM.

Anupama MandloiFremantleMedia India MD Anupama Mandloi said that the show took eight to 10 months to plan and come to fruition. The aim of the show is to aggregate talent across media. “From the outset it was conceived for the digital space. We have been producing talent hunt shows for a couple of years now. We have a niche for ourselves in this space. It made sense for us to get into digital. We have been instrumental in sourcing, discovering and unleashing talent across television. This show is a natural extension of what we do. We cannot just rely on television. Digital allows us to retain IP. If the show works in India, we can then take it to other markets as well.”

She noted that for its television shows FremantleMedia India sources talent from the digital space. “Content created on the digital platform is edgy, quirky, crazy and irreverent. Digital will allow us to take talent to another level. Another advantage of digital is that the cost is 10 times less compared to doing a show on television. The overheads are less. You don’t need to have a team travelling to scout for talent. We have a small team for this show. Digital content is growing fast.”

image001She noted that Zenga TV and OneDigital Entertainment will help provide infrastructure to allow for content discovery. “We will highlight trending videos. We will also guide people towards videos that are getting lots of views. People can send in multiple entries. People can send in entries for 13 weeks. The competition never stops.”

She also noted that sponsors are looking for differentiated content to be associated with and they are also looking to build their presence in the digital space. “You need to give them something that they can believe in. They believed that we do the show justice. We did spend time finding the right partners.  In terms of marketing, to create awareness about the show we will use print, radio and the internet.”

Meanwhile, as far as television is concerned, FremantleMedia India has sold a game show format to a broadcaster. Mandloi is also looking at fiction in a bigger way this year and is working on a sitcom. “Comedy is picking up. I think sitcoms will be the next big thing in the comedy genre. If one works, then you will see a trend.”

A few months ago it formed a JV with DJ Creative Unit. The JV has decided on a couple of projects for which pilots and screeners will be made. These will then be pitched to broadcasters.

Coming back to the online show, participants will be judged on the basis of the number of views and likes across YouTube, ZengaTV and Facebook. The winner will be given a contract worth Rs 2 million from FremantleMedia India and One Digital Entertainment. Auditions are open to Indians across the world.

Mandloi expects to learn from the show and will bring in other genres to the digital space based on this. She views digital as a place that will allow the company to experiment.

Amazon.in director of integrated marketing Manish Kalra said, “The digital medium democratises opportunities and choices and enables easy access to them for everyone like no other medium. We are very excited to be part of ‘India’s Digital Superstar’ and support this effort to celebrate the immense talent that is waiting to be discovered.”

ZengaTV and OneDigital MD, CTO Shabir Momin said, “The youth today is hungry for exciting and engaging content and ‘India’s Digital Superstar’ is an opportunity where every moment will count and adrenalin will be on the high. This gives everyone a chance to showcase talent from anywhere in the world and be the next star in this world that has no boundaries.”

One Digital Entertainment COO, co-founder Gurpreet Singh said, “With the unique format of the show specially created for the digital platform, ‘India’s Digital Superstar’ will create opportunities for Indians globally to showcase their talent without having to stand in queues or reach specific locations at a specific time. Moreover, the show is not about highlighting only a couple of contestants but we want to showcase as many talented Indian creators and that is why the call for entries never stops during the show. As long as the show is on, people can participate and stand a chance to win.”

Gionee Smartphones India head Arvind R. Vohra said, “Digital as a platform is connected to the youth of the country. ‘India’s Digital Superstar’ is the first in the country which creates the opportunity for the youth to showcase their talent and get recognised. We at Gionee are proud to be associated with the show as this allows the youth to follow their passions.”

The digital show will be inaugurated by ‘CEO’s Got Talent’ 2014 winner Atul Khatri, Salim Merchant, Anu Malik, music director duo Vishal-Shekhar, director and producer Abhinav Sinha, Bhoomi Trivedi and Swaroop Khan.