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‘Idol’ hands success to Asia’s channels

Local versions show up in Indonesia, Singapore, India

SINGAPORE — The success of FremantleMedia’s “Idol” format across Asia has been as much about channel building as auds and coin.

Localized versions of the show have aired in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and India, with second seasons already commissioned in Indonesia and India and expected, but not yet finalized, in Singapore and Malaysia. Japan and the Philippines are expected to air local “Idols” for the first time this year.

Ratings and ad revenue success may have been a certainty for dominant terrestrial channels RCTI in Indonesia and MediaCorp TV’s Channel 5 in Singapore. But “Idol” has helped put payboxes 8TV in Malaysia and Sony Entertainment Television in India on the ratings map.

In all 63% of the country’s viewing audience saw Jaclyn Victor crowned “Malaysian Idol” on Oct. 10. Ratings for the finale consisted of a 45% audience on leading national channel TV3 (a 25% growth since its bow) plus an 18% audience on TV3’s cable offshoot 8TV, some 350% above the channel’s primetime average.

“Indian Idol’s” ratings are double SET’s usual 3.1% average, and the Oct. 28 premiere episode was SET’s highest-rated show of the week. The first season is still in the gala stages. Execs hope it will become the tentpole that will continue to propel the channel’s growth in the same way that the local “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” boosted Star Plus.

In Indonesia, Joy Destiny Tiurma Tobing took the title on RCTI, the final episode winning its Sept. 4 timeslot with a 30% aud share.

In Singapore, 1.7 million saw Taufik Batisah crowned “Idol” on MediaCorp TV’s Channel 5 on Dec. 1. ” ‘Singapore Idol’ was a great success beyond our expectations,” says MediaCorp Group CEO Ernest Wong. “It was a phenomenon. It showed Singapore has talent. And it bonded the nation in a very entertaining way.”

“Dominant broadcasters would expect to reap advertising revenue and high ratings; it’s interesting to note the impact of ‘Idol’ on channels like 8TV and SET,” says Sue Adams, managing director, Asia at FremantleMedia, which shares the format with 19TV.

“Broadcasters have been innovative in the platform potential of the franchise — with some optimizing it across TV, radio, print, mobile phones and ‘on-the-ground’ events,” says Adams.

As for a panregional “Asian Idol,” Adams says details are still being worked out including production issues and finding a venue.

“The format is likely to be very different,” she says, “it may not even be a competition but more of a celebration of the region’s talent.”