January 2011
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Colors to Broadcast Indian Version of Guinness World Records

Christened Guinness World Records - Ab India Todega, the show will premiere in early 2011 and is being produced by Miditech.

It seems that 2011 shall see the Indian television diaspora offering viewers some newer and more adventurous international formats of reality content - customised for Indian viewers in their Indian avatar.

Some time ago, Sony announced that it would bring in a reality show, Wife Swap (originally produced by UK based independent television production company, RDF Media), early next year. Come January-end, Imagine TV, too, will launch its new game show hosted by Shah Rukh Khan. The show, Zor Ka Jhatka, is an Indian version of the international reality show, Wipeout.

Now, adding to that league, Viacom18's Hindi general entertainment channel Colors has acquired the rights to showcase Guinness World Records, which will be clothed in an Indian format to woo the domestic audience.

Christened Guinness World Records - Ab India Todega, the show will premiere in early 2011 and is being produced by Miditech.

The show will allow Indians to showcase their talent and go head-to-head with world record holders from other countries. It aims to validate the achievements of talented Indians as they attempt to break existing Guinness World Records and also recognise new world records.

For the record, India will be the third Asian country to telecast this format. The show has already been originally produced in the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Poland, Portugal, Greece and China. These original productions are complemented by distribution deals in an additional 80 territories, spanning six continents.

Commenting on this acquisition, Ashvini Yardi, head, programming, Colors, says in an official communiqué, "Guinness World Records, a pioneer in this field, will now provide Indian participants an opportunity to go down in history by having their achievement validated by an internationally recognised institution - a reward more precious than what any other reality show can offer on Indian television today!"

Rob Molloy, director, television, Guinness World Records, says, "This new deal demonstrates the incredible global reach and relevance of Guinness World Records and we look forward to welcoming lots more Indian talent to the record books. We believe that India has a wealth of undiscovered record breakers who have the talent and determination to make the impossible possible."

So will such a format pull in enough audiences for the channel?

Nikhil Rangnekar, executive director, India-West, Starcom Worldwide says that while the show format has already been explored internationally, it will be clothed in freshness in its Indian attire and "any new form of content always has a capacity to attract eyeballs".

He adds, "The challenge, however, will be its sustainability. The show will lose viewership if it fails to excite the audience eventually."

A few media experts believe that today, Indian audiences are gradually maturing and thus foreign shows are seeing a fit in the Indian context. "Therefore, while originality will drive the show in the beginning, good content is what will push the formats ahead," says Zubin Tatna, national director, planning, Mediaedge:cia.

Some experts also feel that most often, reality depends on its packaging - either celebrity driven or format driven, or a combination of both. However, what generally drives Indian viewers is content that has songs, dance, films or gossip.

"Thus, a show like the Guinness World Records - Ab India Todega might be a risky proposal for the channel since it may not be able to generate as much viewers. Also, the viewership will also depend upon its scale, the anchor, the time slot chosen and of course, its interest value," says a top media executive on conditions of anonymity.

From an advertiser's point of view, the property will surely draw interest since there are clients who like to ride on the publicity wave that such shows initially witness when channels promote the properties heavily.

"When a new show is launched, advertisers are always interested to become sponsors or buy spots on such shows to become a part of the huge initial noise that the channel creates for its property and thus ride on the first fervour," says Tatna.


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