Friday, June 22, 2007

One-Upmanship in Indian TV: Quite Literally!!!

Continuing on my previous post on the spate of talent hunt contests going on across TV channels in India, and the mindless TRP hunts they are involved in… I was amused by an interesting aspect of one-upmanship going on between Sony, Star and Zee.

Sony’s Indian Idol originally started the race – having 3 judges on the panel. (Sonu, Farah and Annu Malik)

Zee thought they need to be one step ahead. So when Zee started its Saregama talent hunt – they got in 4 (3 guru’s and a rotating judge). Then came Star TV – with its own “Voice of India” contest. Aah… but 3 judges or 4 judge shows had already been done. So they innovate – by introducing a 5 judge panel. Wow!! What a master-stroke!! How Innovative!!! No wonder 5 judges will give more drama and action than 4 or 3 judges.

I wonder what the hell the creative gurus in these channels eat for breakfast. Can’t be the normal stuff you and I eat – because with that stuff going in, we would assume that this is stupid differentiation. But maybe not for them.

This actually reminds me of a scene from the english movie "Something About Mary" - where a rather pshyco kind of man tells the lead actor of his new revolutionary idea. He intended to capture the health and fitness market by beating the popular "8 minutes to fitness" videos by coming up with a "7 minutes to fitness" video. Bulb!!! Some of these creative heads in these channels must have absorbed this really well.

Another trend – rather fad catching on is having a 30% reservation for contestants from Pakistan. This was started by Laughter Challenge show on StarOne. And well – how could others not copy it to be innovative and different. They have had a long trend of uniqueness in their shows for ages – so what is all the serials in all the channels are the same or even cooked by the same chef. Or when one KBC kicked off a chain of me-too's. Or even the spate of imitation laughter shows flooding the channels.

Is the Indian audience really so dumb?

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