Star’s Kannada channel Suvarana is set to launch a half-hour historical cum mythological mega-series, Guru Raghavendra Vaibhava, come 21 June. The show will be aired from Monday to Friday at 10 pm.
Each episode will be repeated daily at 9 am and also on a vertical slot from 9am to 12 noon on Sundays. The channel plans to run 260 to 300 episodes of the serial.
Said Star India President (south) Jagdish Kumar, “Suvarna has been presenting quality programming and has become synonymous with fresh concepts and innovation. Also, our success with our series on Shree Shirdi Sai Baba on our main Hindi GEC is one of the reasons for telecasting a mythological serial during primetime.”
Added Suvarna business head Anup Chadrsekhar, “We have done a dipstick study looking at the power cuts in rural Karnataka during the daytime. Also, we have noticed a weakness in all our competitors’ programming during the 10 pm slot. Guru Raghavendra is a revered saint throughout Karnataka across all castes and communities. We hope to capture the audience’s attention through a serial on him.”
As part of the channel’s marketing plans for the show, besides the on-air promos on Suvarana, the channel has planned a print, outdoor and radio campaign. The radio campaign, primarily on Big FM, will include prizes to viewers who give the right answers to questions after having watched the serial the previous night. To reach a larger audience across the state, the channel has also roped in Red FM, and has plans on the back burner for approaching other radio stations such as Fever and Mirchi in the state inform sources at Suvarna.
The channel has also got permission from the Mutt (temple) at Manthralaya to beam the series everyday on a big screen on one of its grounds between 7 pm and 10 pm to catch the eyeballs of the hundreds of thousands of devotees that throng the shrine and hence garner more viewers. Suvarna is also considering to approach around 150 large Mutts in Karnataka for display of promos at their venues. Around three to four days before the commencement of telecast of the series, Suvarana teams will visit households in ten major towns in Karnataka and distribute 400,000 promotional leaflets and information literature.
Guru Raghvendra Vaibhava has been produced by M S Ramaiah Media and Entertainment P Ltd. (MSRMEPL), the screenplay and direction are by Ba. La. Suresh, with Hosamane Murthy as the art director.
“We will be recovering just half of our production cost of around Rs 200,000 per episode through the cost sharing and other incentives from Suvarna,” revealed MSRMEPL director M R Pattabhiram. “Since Guru Rahhavendra is equally revered and popular in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, we expect to break even and maybe make a profit with the dubbed versions in Tamil and Telugu. Star, however, has the first right of refusal,” he clarified. Pattabhiram is also considering a Marathi version of the series, since the saint was also quite popular in south Maharashtra.