Star Plus has signed up telecom major Airtel as the presenting sponsor for the Shah Rukh Khan-anchored Kya Aap Panchvi Pass Se Tez Hai. According to sources, the deal has been struck at Rs 40 crore.
The Airtel deal follows on the heels of its competitor Vodafone signing up as the presenting sponsor for the Indian Premier League on Sony TV.
This promises to be a clash of the telecom giants.
Kevin Vaz, head of marketing and sales at Star India, confirmed the Airtel sponsorship, but he refused to comment of the value of the deal.
"Our title sponsorship of the programme is in synergy with the ubiquity of our brand," said R Chandrasekhar, head, brand and media, at Bharti Airtel. "It promotes mass connect and provides exclusive participation opportunities for Airtel customers."
Panchvi Pass is the Indian version of the international quiz show Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? on which adults are put questions from textbooks of Classes 1 to 5.
The contestant has a chance to win a specific amount at every stage and the maximum prize is Rs 5 crore.
The show will screen on from April 18, coinciding with the launch of the Indian Premier League tournament of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
This has kicked off a battle of sponsorships between the broadcasters.
Star Plus is still looking out for around eight associate sponsors to shell out about Rs 9-10 crore. Similarly, Sony Entertainment Television having signed up Vodafone for Rs 25-30 crore, is hoping to get one more presenting sponsor and rope in six associate sponsors, who will pay Rs 18-20 crore each.
Which has left sponsors with a somewhat difficult choice to make.
"Advertisers will have to decide based on which show will have their core audience. It is a big opportunity for advertisers with two new media properties launching at the same time. There certainly will be redeployment of investments," Prasanth Kumar, national director, central trading group, Group M.
Panchvi Pass will air from 8 pm to 9 pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, which will clash with the IPL telecast on SET MAX 8 pm onwards on weekends.
Media experts believe the show properties can co-exist. An industry source explained that the new format show will increase the contribution of the Hindi general entertainment channels to the overall television pie.
"Compelling content always increases the viewership base. Therefore, both properties are bound to attract serious advertiser interest," said Basabdatta Chowdhiri, CEO, Madison Media.