Dream "Job"? Think Again

Kartik Kannan posing on the sets of Dream Job 2

I see that these days, there are too many reality shows on the numerous channels that keep popping by the hour. Indian Idol certainly had a first mover advantage in terms of spotting talent to recycle in the music industry, but other shows have also done well like "Sa re Ga ma", "Star Voice of India". Bollywood seems to be providing the leading thrust in terms of reality shows for the TRP, but other than that Niche reality shows really bite the dust, if they dont innovate or market themselves properly. MTV Roadies has got cult following now in terms of brand recall given the unconventional advertising that they have done over the last 5 years. If you are a "Roadie", people look up at you as its quite a tough thing to be a roadie. That way as a niche show, they've done pretty well, to connect with India.

Another show that I was immensely interested was in Clinic All Clear Dream Job on ESPN-STAR last year. The show did manage to elicit quite a lot of responses for the auditions in the 4 cities, but somehow the TRP's didnt seem to set the Yamuna on fire. I guess if ESPN had done some marketing for the show, along with T20, and some of the other shows and included some travel/road shows, more so dividing India by the geographical region(as is done with IPL), Dream Job 2, could have been a success.

Today even though the winner of Dream Job 2 was given a contract with ESPN STAR for a year, his compatriots on the show, Medini and Akshob, have done some excellent work, much better than the winner. It hasnt probably changed the winner's life totally, making him a television celebrity. I think ESPN really needs to go back to the drawing board and ask itself what they need to deliver to make people interested in Cricket/Sports a better deal. They sure are proffesionals and know what they are into, but a little more careful interospection would reveal that they could handle the consumer interest towards the show much better.

Medini for one, works for cricinfo and daily had podcasts of a show with the likes of Ravi Shastri, Geoff Boycott and Ian Chappel. Akshob, worked for the official IPL site and has met almost all the bigwigs of the various IPL teams and has some great interviews published on the IPLT20 site. The winner of the contest, Jatin is still not really flashing across Star Cricket, and it is here ESPN needs to understand where are they providing the extra value to the winner over the other contendors. To me, Jatin was an outstanding presenter and I feel he should be given more oppurtunities for the 1 year that he is there, as that would be the stamp on which he would have to decide his career.

Sports broadcasting is tough to break into and even if you get there barring all the competition, given the clutter with so many channels telecasting matches, you need to be better than the best in business and ring a bell when the viewer sees you. You may also realise that its not too remunarative, and it would take a few years to get down to a comparable salary level as your engineering and MBA waale friends. Harsha Bhogle made it big, by taking the risks in an era where Television coverage was rare, but had an IIM MBA degree backing him. Today he is seen as a management consultant, a great Historian on Cricket and a numero uno commentator. Where are the rest? You dont remember any other Indian television broadcaster( Charu sharma, may be! ), who did not play Cricket for India, who's made the cut. Even if these reality shows on sports broadcasting do happen, its going to take doing to get through the clutter, but with the proliferation of more channels, come more oppurtunities. The latest I hear is Zee Cinema has jumped into the fray with the telecast of a India-Pak-Bangladesh series in June.

Secondly in the face of reality shows, the producers hardly seem to want the best and just competition, but are more inclined to add masala. Women in Sports Presentation- They may not be as good as some of the guys on the show, but their feminity and ability to keep viewers glued in works a big way in them making the cut. No this blog post is not against the fairer sex, but just a reflection of the truth.
Every tom dick and harry, can give an opinion on cricket. The roadside tea wala would say that Dravid made a blunder by batting above the order in the t20 match, so when cricket is so common place in India, the women on the show have a distinct advantage with their looks and as long as they can do flawless english delivery, they are almost home. Women, frankly dont need to know much about cricket's intricasies which we guys know. Just have the right structure and assets in place, get the language flowing, you've got people watching already. I have known only Zoe Goss and a commentator from the West Indies as the only sports commentators who really know their stuff. Another woman who seems to have got my vote from India would be Mayanti Langer, who hosts football shows on Zee Cricket, and was asked to co-host the IPL without she being a cricket expert. When the likes of Mandira bedi have made it big, its time for more women to be inducted to make the whole presentation saucy. Frankly I would prefer to watch Mandira bedi in her noodle straps than watching a Dream Jobber guy talk :-) . So looking at all this, as a guy, you are up against big odds and really need to be somebody who can sweep people off their feet.

Why am I writing about it?

I too was a finalist last year, and finished in the Top 8 in the country, before Mandira Bedi decided that she had enough of me, and it was time to vote me out :-). I was reminded of Dream job, when somebody at work pointed out that line in my Linked in Profile and asked me about it.I thought I'd make an alternate career, part time as a television Jockey, but later gave up on the dreams as I had to make a career out of my MBA. Right now, no complaints, I am working for an online travel company, and am enjoying the space, getting decent money and a glimpse into Mumbai. But if Dream Job 3 comes up, I dont think I would want to bet my career on that, I'd be happy making to the final 4, being on television for 2-3 months and make new friends. Post an MBA Its frankly tough to give up on a career growth and a well paying job, for doing something that may be your passion. For me Cricket and Travel are my biggest interests and I am happy choosing the latter for a career. I still would'nt mind doing the odd television show, but would never want to bet my career on television.
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