Pay-per-view is going to have a new meaning soon.
The Indian subsidiary of Endemol Group, the creator of programmes such as Big Brother and Fear Factor, is introducing Call TV.
Under this, viewers will end up paying for the entire cost of production and airing through paying for participating in quizzes, game shows and prize shows, through phone calls or SMS text messages. Such calls and messages cost significantly more than normal messages and calls, thus generating significant revenues for the producer and broadcaster.
“We plan to launch the Call TV format in India soon,” says Marco Bassetti, chief operating officer, Endemol Group. “Such shows will be of immense interest to broadcasters because they don’t have to pay for the content, yet they generate revenue out of it. Call TV is going to be big area for us in the coming years.”
Endemol already has several Call TV shows outside India, including Participation TV in Holland, where viewers pay for interacting with the channel and funded nearly 15 hours of programming each day. Endemol claims Participation TV generates around 100,000 call minutes a day.
New concept: Marco Bassetti, chief operating officer, Endemol Group. (Ashesh Shah / Mint)
In India, “we will be making a show called Kal, Aaj aur Kal, which is a local concept. However, we plan to introduce a host of shows from the global Participation TV catalogue also,” said Deepak Dhar, country head, Endemol India.
Bassetti said they have approached Indian broadcasters with ideas from Endemol’s international catalogue. “We have already tied up with two broadcasters, but it is too early to announce their names,” he said. “Such shows will not only help broadcasters save on exorbitant production costs but also tap a new source of revenue generation.”
According to industry estimates, the average production cost of one episode of 30 minutes of a fictional show ranges between Rs4 lakh and Rs8 lakh. Some non-fictional shows, such as Indian Idol or Kaun Banega Crorepati, where producers invest significantly in sets and anchor fees, are also estimated to cost the same. Normal chat shows, however, cost much less.
“If the concept is good, it will generate audience’s interest and of course, it’s good for broadcasters as well,” said Ashish Kaul, executive vice-president, Essel Group.
INX Media Pvt. Ltd, a newly launched broadcast company, claims to be getting more than 8,000 messages every day for various interactive polls and contests introduced on its music channel 9XM.
“Any form of interactivity will create connection and greater empathy with viewers so long as the content is good,” said Anthony Pettifer, group director, brand and communications, INX Media.
Industry observers said Call TV will find favour with broadcasters because it has a no-cost, low-risk offering through which they can also generate additional revenues such as in-programme brand placements.
“This seems to be great model for broadcasters if executed well. The game shows must be inspiring enough to attract viewers. Also, there are lots of opportunities for brands to be on screen as well,” said Atul Phadnis at Media E2E, a media and technology consultant.
Separately, Endemol plans to ramp up its production business in India.
“So far, we only produced non-scripted (reality) shows such as Big Boss and The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. But, now, we plan to launch some scripted (fictional) programmes as well,” said Bassetti.
Endemol has about 10 shows on channels such as Sony Entertainment Television, 9X, and Star One. In 2008, it plans to launch four fictional shows. Some shows that are in the offing include Indian versions of popular global titles such as Kids Are Alright, 8 out of 10 Cats and Set For Life, apart from exporting the Indian show Mission Ustaad to the UK.