Channels step up the battle on the dance floor

15 May,2013


By Meghna Sharma


For a nation that thrives on jigging and jiving in filmland, it is not surprising that dance shows are a hit. Starting with the longest running, Boogie Woogie, a number of other dance reality shows have made their mark on Indian television, and their popularity seems undiminished.


Priti Murthy

Although most shows are Indian versions of successful Western formats, they have been able to garner a strong following. What is about these shows that make them click with people? Priti Murthy, National Director – Insights at Maxus, tips her hat to the film industry. “Thanks to Bollywood, there is a big dance and music consumption in the country. And as a genre too, it has done well – nationally and internationally. Also, as a format it appeals to the whole family. Thus, such shows are bound to do well.”



Ajay Bhalwankar

“Dance spreads joy. It’s a beautiful medium of expression. People emotionally connect with the contestants as they become stories of common man becoming a superstar,” says Ajay Bhalwankar, Content Head, Hindi GEC, ZEEL.


Zenith Optimedia’s managing partner Sanjoy Chakrabarty says, “There is a high level of involvement and engagement value is high too as people start liking a certain participant, vote of him/her. Also, they are on TV for a short period of time unlike daily soaps which go on and on. Hence, people like to watch them, no matter if celebrity or non-celebrity are participating.”


Sanjoy Chakrabarty

Color’s flagship show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa has always improved the channel’s ratings among the GECs. “Viewers always look out for something fresh and entertaining and dance reality shows provide them the same. The kind of experiment one does with dance forms and shows make them really exciting and refreshing. Like on our show Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa, viewers get to see a different side of celebrities that appeals to them. It is a show where dancers and non-dancers perform and entertain audiences on the same platform,” says Manisha Sharma, Weekend Programming Head, Colors.



Manisha Sharma

Star’s Nach Baliye finished its fifth season early this year and the channel has launched another show – India’s Dancing Superstar. While Nach Baliye has celebrity couples, the latest entry onto the bandwagon provides platform to dancers wherein there is no barrier of age, dance form or style. “We are extremely happy that within its launch week, India’s Dancing Superstar has emerged as the number one non-fiction show on television,” says Nikhil Madhok, VP marketing, Star Plus.




Nikhil Madhok

Same style, new twist

Season after season, shows have been received well by the audiences, making channels very happy to reinvent their offerings every year to stay ahead of one another. “We will retain the format of original DID and instead of having just extraordinary dancers, this edition of DID will have extraordinary moms showing off their extraordinary dancing prowess which will shock and surprise the viewers. The biggest USP of DID SuperMoms is that it’s for the mothers. It’s for those women who don’t believe that marriage and kids are a barrier between them and their dreams. It will be the mother of all dance shows,” says Mr Bhalwankar when asked what will be the USP of DID this year.


Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa has a new theme this year – Dance Ka Maza Ab Hum Chakhaenge. “Every year we try to do something different with our flagship dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa. We have had a different line up of celebrities every season from all walks of life which adds a new flavour to the show. Like last season we had a sportsperson like Sanath Jayasuriya to a comedian Bharti Singh and this year we are bringing in Bollywood actors like Aarti Chhabria to singer Shaan,” says Ms Sharma.


With the show the channel attempts to remain engaged with the audiences with new elements and constant innovation every season. This new season will also see an interesting line of up rounds as the season progresses and wild card entries with new twists and turns. “We have upped the challenge and raised the bar this year. It will definitely be bigger and better this year,” Ms Sharma adds.


However, the question remains – is it necessary for such shows to invent themselves? According to Ms Murthy, dance and music shows have become a staple diet for Indians and reinventing shows by focusing on moms or kids in a particular season only adds to it as they target the whole family. “If a format has clicked with the people then such reinventions only add more value to them.”


Similarly, Mr Chakrabarty feels it is important for such shows to reinvent themselves as the element of surprise is always good. “One has to keep taking it to the next level,” he adds.


Dance to the marketing mix

Although the shows are popular and get a lot of eyeballs to the channels, the channels don’t leave any stone unturned in marketing them to stay ahead of each other.


For IDS’s launch Star’s marketing highlight was a massive on ground engagement during the audition phase. According to the channel, it helped in building traction for the show even before the first episode was shot. “We will be using digital in a big way through the show. Already the Chavat Boyz who featured in our first episode have started creating a cult following on digital for their innovative dance style,” says Mr Madhok.


Colors on the other hand plans to go all out with a mix of TV (Home Channel + Cross channel), Radio, Print, Outdoor, Cinema and Digital for JDJ.


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