Having strong fiction programming in place, foremost Hindi GEC Star Plus is now attempting to rebuild its Sunday programming band with the launch of two new shows on 24 August.
As reported earlier by TelevisionPost.com, Star Plus was working on overhauling its weekend band after its two shows ‘Mad in India’ and ‘Ishq Kills’ had failed to garner eyeballs, and consequently gone off air within a few months.
Now the channel is back with a singing reality show, ‘Raw Star’, in the early primetime band, followed by an urban drama, ‘Airlines’.
Starting 24 August, viewers every Sunday will see ‘Raw Star’ from 7 to 9 pm, followed by ‘Airlines’ from 9 to 10 pm.
With ‘Raw Star’ the channel attempts to reach out to the youth. ‘Airlines’, too, will find resonance with young women as it showcases a girl’s ambition to become a commercial pilot and the challenges she faces.
By September, the second part of ‘Satyamev Jayate’, which is on course, will also throng the Sunday programming line-up. The channel will present six more episodes in the second part and plans to lock the launch date soon.
Gaurav Banerjee - Star Plus general manager Gaurav Banerjee said, “Our idea for Sunday is to programme Star Plus for young people, which is why we have these shows. Though we have not tried this in the past, we hope to be successful. If we don’t, we will learn something from it.”
Star Plus SVP of marketing and content strategy Nikhil Madhok added, “Over the past one year, a large number of youngsters, especially young women, have flocked to the channel. They were largely driven by ‘Mahabharat’, ‘Ye Hai Mohabbatein’, as well as shows like ‘Diya Aur Baati Hum’, ‘Veera’ and ‘Ek Hasina Thi’. So it’s a focused strategy to attract the youth.”
In the past, Star Plus presented numerous successful dance shows like ‘Nach Baliye’ and ‘India’s Dancing Superstar’, while in the singing reality genre it had only ‘Voice of India’ and ‘Music Ka Maha Muqabla’.
Gauhar Khan, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Ashish Golwankar, Gajender Singh, Gaurav Banerjee during the press conference of India’s Raw Star.
Banerjee said, “We have done quite a few dance shows, but we haven’t done a music show in a long time. This prompted us to start thinking why there are no music shows and why they aren’t working.”
The fact that music consumption is far from seeing a decline propelled the concept of creating a show which is not about playback singing.
Yo Yo Honey Singh
Having Yo Yo Honey Singh as the mentor and judge and Gauhar Khan as the host, the show aims to create upbeat entertainment featuring all kinds of popular music. The channel is constructing the show as a musical concert through a two-hour weekly episode.
Star Plus weekend programming head Ashish Golwalkar stated, “We haven’t been very successful with our weekends except when we had ‘Nach Baliye’. We are looking at various voices and attitudes that have the ability to pull crowd and have the X factor. We are not looking for perfect singers, but charmers. We may redefine the fortune of music shows in India.”
‘Raw Star’ will not have any judges or eliminations and will solely be based on public voting. The 14-week property will present an equal chance to all the 10 selected artists to showcase their talent and public voting will commence only after Week 6.
Banerjee added, “We have looked at every dimension of a regular show and broken it down.”
The first cliché to be broken through this show is the time slot, which is early primetime (7 pm), unlike other big-ticket non-fiction properties that target the 9 pm band on weekends to attract more audiences.
“I feel there is a lot of conventional wisdom in television that reality shows should come on weekends and big fiction shows should come at 9 pm. About five years back we launched ‘Saathiya’, which is the number one fiction show at 7 pm. If a fiction show at 7 pm can be number one, why not non-fiction? We want it to be early evening as we believe it has a lot of opportunity and potential that nobody has gone into,” asserted Banerjee.
For the first time, the singing show will introduce the concept of music choreography and Star Plus has roped in international choreographer Michael Schwandtl who has worked with artistes like Lady Gaga. He will work with the contestants to visually enhance their musical performance. The show also has Ashish Manchanda, who will be heading the sound team, and has worked with Michael Jackson.
Another cliché that has been broken concerns the auditions. Showing respect for the artists, the channel held digital auditions where people could upload their videos, thus sparing the contestants the ordeal of standing in queues in the heat.
Madhok mentioned, “Our video count went up to 50,000 to 1 lakh as a large number of people auditioned from across the world. After they were selected, Honey Singh invited them. Our objective is to provide the singers a springboard for showing their talent and moving forward in their careers.”
Produced by Gajendra Singh’s Sai Baba Productions, the show will present Mohit Gaur from Jaipur, Dipti Sharma from Vadodara, Darshan Raval from Ahmedabad, Suraj Biswas from Puri, Pardeep Singh Sran from Malout, Jeffrey Iqbal from Neuuark, Mohan Rathore from Gajipur, Mansheel from Pune, Rituranjan Mohanty from Puri and Rimi Nique from Thailand.
The show has already roped in two sponsors, Karbonn as the title sponsor and Maruti Suzuki Swift as the powered-by sponsor.
Star Plus has designed a 360-degree marketing campaign for the show, but its innovations have a big play on digital.
The first is when viewers click to watch a video on YouTube, they will be greeted by an ad in which Honey Singh says that “Even if you try, you can’t skip me”. Just when users scroll to the ‘Skip Ad’ button, Singh will pick it up in his hand, saying “I won’t let you skip me or my raw stars”.
Additionally, there are some contextual videos on YouTube and across the web, where if one is searching for cars, a Honey Singh video will tell them to ‘stop searching for small cars and ride with me in my Jaguar with my raw stars’ and so on. The contestants will also engage with fans on social media.
The channel is creating behind-the-scenes content which will be available on the digital platform. Gauhar Khan will be the host for the special episodes called the ‘G Factor’.
Kick-starting this weekend, the outdoor campaign will have a 3D look to it.