The big pull of small screen

Monday, 19 August 2013 - 8:53am IST | Agency: DNA
Series revolving around an upcoming release are getting a nod from channels and viewers.

Film stars doing the rounds of reality shows or making special appearances in serials to promote their films is di regueur. You only have to look at the calendar to know which film is releasing and you can tell who is going to show up on TV soon! And if two films are releasing simultaneously or within a week of each other like Chennai Express and Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbaai Dobaara did, there is a star explosion. So much so, that viewer fatigue is setting in, thanks to the overdose.

As one avid TV buff Aparna Patil says, “Stars are everywhere, so it’s no longer exciting to see them on reality shows. Also, TV producers are not able to seamlessly integrate them into their serials.”
That’s precisely why channels are devising new ways to engage the audience and at the same time promote the film.

What’s new
Last weekend Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha and Imran Khan after gracing various shows to promote Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbaai Dobaara, did a two-hour Eid special exclusively for the small-screen audience. They were joined by TV stars like Jay Bhanushali, Mahi Vij, Gurmeet Choudhary and Sanjeeda Sheikh in the fanfare.

“Partnering with Once Upon A Time in Mumbai Dobaara, the storyline of which was in sync with the theme of our event seemed a logical step. Having stars piques TV viewers’ interest and helps in gaining traction for the show.”

Earlier, there was Ek Thi Naayka a paranormal series that was launched to promote the film Ek Thi Daayan. It had top TV heroines doing an episode each while Emraan Hashmi, Kalki Koechlin, Konkona Sen Sharma and Huma Qureishi did cameos. As Ajit Thakur, general manager, Life Ok, says, “Instead of selling the film, which is the usual practice, Ekta Kapoor (producer) sold the concept. It was launched eight weeks before the film’s release. Also, the film’s stars appeared as characters and not as themselves which added to the novelty.”

On the anvil

Now, with the big-ticket Krrish 3 lined up for a Diwali release, an animated series Krrish based on the hit franchise is being readied to be aired just before the film hits the screens. A perfect way to recall the superhero film and at the same time serve as a platform to promote its next big screen offering. Krishna Desai, senior director and network head – Kids, south Asia, Turner International India Pvt Ltd reasons, “It makes sense to time it well. However, the animated Krrish is younger, just a boy of 10-12 years. But like Hrithik’s Krrish, he stays with his grandmother in the Himalayas. Also, there’s Jadoo the alien, and all the adventures are build on that.” Of the four animated series, one will be aired before the release and the remaining ones later.

Buzz is that a series based on the sequel of Ragini MMS is being planned around the time of the release of the film.

Way ahead
Though these specials are in their nascent stage, the question is will they help in increasing footfalls in the theatre and interest the TV viewer? Shailesh Kapoor, CEO Ormax Media says that Ek thi Naayika managed to capture the essence of Ek Thi Daayan and led to a good opening for the film. “Given the time slot (11 pm) on which the series was aired, it got reasonable TRPs too,” he points out.  He adds that channels and film producers are going beyond the obvious to grab eyeballs. “When they create specials, the producers more than anything else look at the amount of promo time they get on TV, which is most important for them.”


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