Aiming to redefine Hindi GEC fiction, Star Plus bets big on 'Everest'!

Announcing the launch of the show a few backs, Star Plus’s newest offering Everest is set to woo audiences starting 3rd November at 10 PM, replacing the on-going show ‘Pyaar Ka Dard Hai’. Everest, a weekday property (Monday to Saturday) revolves around a regular girl's struggle to win her father's acceptance, set against the extraordinary backdrop of the magnificent Mount Everest. In line with the channel’s strategy of offering innovative and differentiated content, EVEREST has been conceptualized, shot and presented on a scale never seen before on TV.

Claimed to be one of the biggest shows, a 7 to 10 Crore property, on the Indian Television, the show is written and produced by popular Hindi film director Ashutosh Gowariker.

Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India said, “Star India has always endeavored to bring to our audiences, innovative content that takes the Indian television viewing experience to the next level. Everest is another big leap for us in that direction. We are proud to have partnered with a visionary like Ashutosh Gowariker who is one of the most adept story-tellers of our country. EVEREST is a stunning visual delight and an attempt at presenting something never-seen-before to our viewers. I am sure that the story of our protagonist Anjali will resonate with millions in India and inspire them to conquer their own EVEREST.”

Adgully caught up with Gaurav Banerjee, General Manager – STAR Plus and Nikhil Madhok, senior vice president, content strategy and marketing, Star Plus to know more about the show.

‘Everest’, a game changer for Star Plus:

As we all know Star Plus has had a varied line-up of shows from Soap-operas to singing shows to dance shows and much more. Now, ‘Everest’ which is a big ticket property, Banerjee said, “Star Plus has always believed in breaking stereotypes and doing something new and I hope ‘Everest’ changes the game for us. I feel the idea of the show is different. We believe in women who are not daunted by the impossible. Secondly, it’s a finite series. The 104 episode show is shot outdoors with heavy backdrops ranging from mountains to military back grounds and much more. Since the show is a finite one, all the episodes are being shot first and then telecasted. The show is all set to set new stage of television production in the country.”

Setting benchmarks with big names and production houses:
Amir Khan and his production house, Sanjay Leela Bansali for Sarawatichandra and now Ashutosh Gwarikar for Everest! Banerjee said, “Star Plus has always been a successful platform for best creative talent in the country and ‘Everest’ is one more towards that direction. Apart from the names mentioned above we have also has some of the best producers for our various shows like Siddharth Tiwari, Shashi Mittal • Sumeet H Mittal, Ekta Kapoor and a lot more. So in short, we have always had a privilege of working with really brilliant creative brains.

When asked will the show set up a new benchmark for the Indian audiences, Banerjee said, “Hoping so. The series will re-define how television is made in this country considering its visual appeal and the way it will be presented. And when we got ‘Raw Star’, it created benchmark in the singing show genre, with ‘Mahabharta’ again we setted up a new way of how a mythology can be presented with such graphics and VFX. Like with all the big properties our aim has always been to make them really BIG and with ‘Everest’ too the idea is to go deep with the story line and present something different in terms of storytelling.”

The time slot:
The show is slated to go on air on 3rd November, from Monday to Saturday at 10 PM on STAR Plus. On asking about the reason behind making it a weekday property, Banrejee said, “The 10 PM slot has always guaranteed good eyeballs hence we decided to bring in another big director, Ashutosh Gowariker, with his work ‘Everest’ in the same slot.”

The Marketing Buzz:
As the show is mounted higher than the usual properties on the channel, the marketing team at the channel also has added the touch of ‘Everest’ in their efforts. The current on-air promotions talk about cancer patients fighting odds to win over the ailment and reach their ‘Everest’, while another promo talks about sportspersons fighting their odds to represent the country and make it to their ‘Everest’. Spilling the beans on the marketing and promotional gamut the channel has spread out for this show, Nikhil Madhok – SVP - Marketing, STAR Plus, said that the promos are designed so as to convey the idea of struggle and victory to everyone irrespective of any socio-cultural barriers. He informs us that the channel has devised three innovative and highly differentiated strategies to make Everest a memorable property. “There will be a digital and radio campaign launched shortly asking viewers’ #WhatsYourEverest, which is essentially to make the show relevant to everyone and not just the sport lover”.

He goes onto the say that, “For the first time on Indian television, a fiction property will have a two and half minute theatrical promo which will play on Star Plus at 7.58 pm on 18th October 2014, after which it will also break in theatres with the Shah Rukh Khan starrer ‘Happy New Year’. He specifies that this promo has been devised keeping in mind the scale and the feel of the show.

With Fair and Lovely as the title sponsor on board, the channel has tied up with the Fair and Lovely Foundation extending a helping hand to young women struggling to make it to their Everest. “This help or assistance could range from mere counselling to emotional and monetary support for education, health, professional or personal struggles etc”, he added.

Last of the three innovations, Madhok informs us that the channel has tied up with some outlets of Costa Coffee and created an ‘Everest’ zone. “With the temperature as low as 5 degree, customers will get to experience the Everest (well, almost!). The server will be dressed in winter-protection jackets while the customers entering the snow covered floor will also be dressed similarly. The idea is to offer customer and our viewers the first-hand experience and ‘feel’ of the Everest”, he stated. This activity beginning from 22nd October is charted out for the next couple of weekends across cities in the country.

Apart from these special initiatives, Madhok informs that the usually done extensive 360 degree marketing campaign is also carried out. “This includes the Star Network with 30 other channels, activations on radio, outdoor innovations including 3D hoardings etc. We are also pushing the property quite aggressively in print along with our strong presence on digital including the YouTube masthead and page takeovers in MSN and Yahoo”, he added.

Along with Fair and Lovely as the title sponsor, the channel also has roped in Godrej Ezee as the co-powered by and Vinod Cookware as an associate sponsor.

Keeping in mind the scale of the show, understandably, the channel is projecting Everest as a premium offering. Speaking of the ad-rate the channel is looking at with the show, Madhok confidently states that the cost of the show is evidently and significantly higher that other properties, not only on the channel, but across the category currently. “With an iconic filmmaker associated with the show, the scale and magnitude of production, I believe our current list of sponsors and the others we are currently dealing with; they are all upbeat about the show and ready to pay the premium! And I believe that this is going to break the clutter and brands will be happy to associate with such property, regardless of the premium”, he concluded.


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