Television Gets Playful

Written by Anindita Sarkar | Updated: Nov 5 2013, 08:46am hrs
From 24 to KBC, quite a few television shows are trying to keep viewer interest up with the launch of mobile games

Remember the saying All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy Well, seems like our very own television industry has taken the onus on itself to do away with Jacks (read viewer) dullness with that much encouraging 'playing' eagerness. Also, as shown by Bollywood (read Ra.One, Don 2 and Dhoom 2)this play is surely more digital.

In August this year, Multi Screen Media (MSM) launched the KBC Play Along mobile application to promote its much popular television property, Kaun Banega Crorepati. The app allowed users to play along with the live game being telecast on air. The top scorers stand a chance to win Idea smartphones.

More recently, Colors, the flagship Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) from the Viacom18 stable, launched an interactive mobile game called, 24 The Game. Developed by Gameshastra Solutions, the 3D game is a promotional extension of the recently launched show 24 that allows players to live the life of ATU chief Jai Singh Rathod, portrayed on screen by Anil Kapoor. The game allows audiences to step into the shoes of the chief and explore his various characteristics over a course of 30 levels. Says Raj Nayak, CEO, Colors, Gaming is one of the highest consumed forms of entertainment on the mobile platform, which provides channels with the opportunity to reach out to a large section of the audiences amongst mobile phone users. The launch of a game supporting a television show enhances the overall viewing experience for audiences because it creates a more personal platform to engage with them.

Interestingly, on TV, it is not just the fiction and the non-fiction shows to which this experimentation is limited. Star Movies, which premiered the Oscar-winning movieLife of Pion October 27, launched an experiential online game titled Life of I to reach out to viewers and influence their tune-in for the premiere. Based on the movie, the game intended to make the participant experience the journey of a lifetime through the lens of Pi. Participants could log into the game via Facebook. Here, they got the chance to map out their own journey based on the events that transpire in the movie. With eight milestones to cross, the participant who could make it through all stood eligible for a trip to the various locations where Life of Pi was shot.

Says Pallavi Tibrewal, vice president, marketing, Star GEC Channels, Life Of Pi is an Oscar winning film and there had already been enough buzz around the movie in India. Even if some people may not have seen it, they surely knew about the movie. Therefore, what more could we do was the challenge. So we decided to create a more personalised communication for the movie through this game which would drive them to tune in and watch the film.

Also, in the course of the game, participants had to pass on the game to at least 10 friends. This was done with the objective to reach out to as many people as possible to promote the game and consequently, the film premiere, Tibrewal adds.

Interestingly, international shows have already developed a very strong presence across various digital platforms to provide multiple opportunities for viewers to keep themselves updated with the latest happenings on their shows; and gaming clearly forms an integral part in that. For instance, take international shows such as Breaking Bad, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and How I Met Your Mother. All of them have developed their own online games to engage the viewers beyond the mass media platform.

So, with 121 million internet users, is the online gaming world ready to play a key support system in the viewer engagement programme in India too

Says Atindriya Bose, country manager, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), Any strong entertainment IP with the right characteristics lends itself to be extended into a game. On the Playstation, there are successful games from filmsinternationally, Batman and Harry Potter series and in India, Ra.One, Don 2, etc. The TV programmes also have opportunities based on their content style and popularity to be successfully extended to both console and online games.

Now, while it is quite obvious that digital is the prime zone attracting majority of the gaming pie, efforts are being made in the offline world too. Take for instance, the Baalveer and the Evils of Bhayankar Pari board game launched by Sab TV. The board game immerses the players in the Pari world reeling under the threat of Bhayankar Pari. The goal is to rise as Baalveer and overcome obstacles in an endeavour to save Rani Mahal.

The game will be available in 42 major cities in stores such as Landmark, Crossword, Hamleys, Shoppers Stop and Planet M. The cities include Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Gurgaon, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Bhopal, Indore, Baroda and Jaipur. The game will be aggressively promoted on television, print and outdoor digital media.

Moreover, on-ground activations will also be carried out in leading malls to generate curiosity and buzz around the product.

Says Anooj Kapoor, executive vice president and business head, SAB TV, Last year we launched the board game which encapsulated the entire universe of Sab TV shows into one game. Now, we have decided to divide the games around individual shows which begins with Balveer. The other games are at various stages of planning right now. Apart from offline games, there will also be online games. However, one must understand that revenues generated from these games are quite miniscule. The idea, therefore, is to create more consumer touchpoints.