New Delhi: Lights, camera, action. Attracting talent was never so much fun.
Talent hunt shows on television were never such a phenomenon as they have become in recent times. Shows such as Sa Re Ga Ma Pa on Zee, Amul Voice of India on STAR Plus, Star Singer on Asianet, Indian Idol-3 and Boogie Woogie on Sony, Dance Bangla Dance on Zee Bangla and Star War on Eenadu TV are not only a source of entertainment but also a means to spot people in an industry facing talent crunch.
“It certainly is a way of addressing our viewers and potential ‘talented’ artistes in their respective fields,” says Ashish Kaul, executive vice-president, corporate branddevelopment, Essel Group and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.
For instance, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa is seen by the Indian entertainment industry as a credible talent pool for quality playback singers. According to Zee TV, three out of four playback singers in the Indian entertainment industry have beenpremiered on the prime time show.
Taking a cue, leading television channels across sports, general entertainment and other genres are running shows that are being used by employers from diverse sectors such as insurance, media and advertising to create a buzz and draw potential recruits.
MTV Networks India Pvt. Ltd, the leading youth channel, for instance, has just concluded its show called On The Job, where recruits were given an opportunity to showcase their talent in fields such as bartending, jockeying, photography, creative writing, media and personality grooming. The winners in the show have found employment with players such as fashion photographer Vikram Bawa, Bollywood’s leading choreographer Ahmed Khan, and Contract Advertising.
MTV’s Ashish Patil says a talent hunt show is an excellent marketing exercise for channels and firms targeting the youth
In a marketing tie-up with news broadcaster TV Today Network Ltd, MTV ran an episode on TV journalism where participants were given assignments for Headlines Today, a news channel targeted at the youth. The winner of the show won an internship with the channel. MTV plans a second edition of the programme soon.
ESPN STAR Sports, the leading sports broadcaster in the country, recently announced the launch of the second edition of its talent hunt show, Clinic All Clear Dream Job, for a sports presenter. The show is based on a successful international format followed in the US and Europe. The winner will get the opportunity to be a presenter on STAR Cricket, the recently-launched cricket channel by the broadcaster and will also be entitled to a one-year contract with the channel’s owner, ESPN Software India Pvt. Ltd.
“In order to ensure that we choose the best, we are exposing all contestants to a variety of tests and activities, which are tailored to separate the talented from the ordinary,” says R.C. Venkateish, managing director, ESPN Software India.
Hindustan Unilever Ltd has come together with Zoom, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Pvt. Ltd’s lifestyle and entertainment channel, for a reality show called Sunsilk Gang of Girls Spotlight Mein, which will have four talented girls groomed and mentored by leading players from the music and entertainment industry into entertainers.
Experts say such shows not only help grab fresh eyeballs but also help companies foster employer brands and find talent. “The entire episode on television journalism was shot at the Headlines Today studio and would have definitely demystified the profession for everyone who wants to become a television reporter,” says G. Krishnan, chief executive officer, TV Today Network Ltd.
Job portal Naukri.com, in association with CNBC-TV18, ran a programme called Job Show last year, which helped young aspirants land jobs after a tough session in a typical management job interview format. Companies, including Aviva Life Insurance Co. India Pvt. Ltd, Aricent (formerly Flextronics Software Systems Ltd), LG Electronics India Pvt. Ltd, and Dentsu Communications Pvt. Ltd, partnered in the job show to recruit talent.
“The applications from participants were sent to the HR department of the respective company and five shortlisted candidates were interviewed by marketing consultant and former CEO of Britannia India Ltd Sunil Alagh and two senior management people from the recruiting company,” says Sumeet Singh, national head, marketing, Info Edge India Ltd, the company that runs Naukri.com. Selected candidates walked away with a job at the end of the episode. “We saw recruitment of over 50 candidates by 26 companies during the 26-episode show,” says Singh.
Recollecting the experience, Abhay Johorey, director, transformation & services, Aviva India, says, “Naukri had approached us with this unique proposal of hiring on television: no dramatization, no coaching, no make-believe but some hard-hitting questions and someone could actually win a job.” Despite initial scepticism, Aviva decided to go ahead and ended up recruiting, too. “We hired two energetic and intelligent individuals as business analysts for our strategic initiative and business change team and they are an integral part of our organization today,” adds Johorey.
Zee TV, the general entertainment channel, recently had a show on air called Business Baazigar, which launched a search of people with smart business ideas. The winners got their business ideas funded by the broadcast company, and the on-air and ground activities of the show were sponsored by the Aditya Birla Group.
Experts say these talent hunt shows are a win-win business proposition for all stakeholders—the broadcasters, the employers as well as the job aspirants. “It’s an excellent branding and marketing exercise, especially for channels and companies whose main consumers are young people,” says Ashish Patil, vice-president, creative & content, MTV India. The MTV-Headlines Today partnership began as a marketing tie-up where both the channels cross-promoted each other and later on it was scaled up to content integration.
While the potential for recruiting through TV programming may be very limited because there’s only that much one can hire, it surely is a safe path to attention, say experts. The other advantage of these shows is that it gives candidates among viewers an opportunity to avoid pitfalls. “These kind of shows helps job aspirants take a leaf out of the strengths of successful candidates and take note of the reasons for failing and apply these learnings when faced with the prospect of a job interview,” says career counsellor and columnist Pervin Malhotra.