London-based FactBased Communications has entered into a joint venture with Rossellini Associates of New Delhi to form FBC India, where branded entertainment will form a significant part of the services.
"India is one of the three strategic markets for FBC worldwide. A country where there are more than 250 million aspirational young Indians is a promising market for branded entertainment," says Alan Friedman, chairman and chief executive officer, FBC.
As a concept, branded entertainment is relatively new. It refers to a term where an entertainment programme has a successful brand association without sounding like an advertisement.
In India, one has begun to see this kind of programming in a small way. For example, on the programme Indian Idol (Sony), viewers are exhorted to send SMS or the contestants promote the Ambi perfumed car, it is called branded entertainment.
From February 22, Star One is also airing one of the first branded entertainment reality shows - Lakme Fashion House, which is a competition to select the best fashion designer from amongst 16 participants.
According to Friedman, branded entertainment currently represents 10 per cent of the global advertising market which when translated into money is over $30 billion every year.
Though branded entertainment can never overtake the 30 seconds TV ad spot, it certainly acts as an adjunct to the advertising campaign for the advertisers.
FBC has worked with international clients like Nokia, Motorola, Microsoft and Visa in this space. In India also, they see a huge opportunity for this kind of entertainment.
FBC Media holds a 50 per cent stake in FBC India with the other 50 per cent with Indian promoters such as Shashanka Ghosh and Samir Gupta.
After the reality show on Star One, the company is not only looking at adapting international formats for Indian audiences but also developing an Indian format for an international audience.
In the coming months, the company will diversify into formats apart from format shows and look at lifestyle and fiction programming as well.