All eyes were on the top six contestants of the National Talent Hunt show on February 21 as they celebrated His Majesty’s 32nd birth anniversary with the ‘Grand Finale’ at the YDF hall, which also coincided with the National Education Day. The lavish celebration was highlighted by a birthday cake worth Nu 120,000 with the contestants singing songs including patriotic compositions. The show which was aired over the weekends amidst much fanfare by Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) for more than two months is now believed to be the most popular of its kind. However, Talent Hunt organizer, Mila Communications told The Bhutanese that the show failed to generate high returns.
Proprietor of Mila Communications, Mila Tobgay said that the gross proceeds earned by Mila Communications from the show amounted to Nu 2.3mn while the total cost of the show estimated to a whopping Nu 1.8mn. He agreed that the show gained immense popularity but not in terms of proceeds.
Records show that Mila communications along with BBS, Bhutan Telecom Limited (BTL) and Tashi cell (T-cell) earned Nu 564,056 SMS votes which were converted to Nu 2.8mn. As per the agreement between the organizers and partners, BBS had the highest catch of Nu 1.6mn followed by Mila Communications who took Nu 1.09mn while BTL and T-cell received approximately Nu 68,000 and Nu 12,000 respectively.
Sponsor contributions amounted to a total of Nu 1.2mn. The principal sponsors included Bhutan National Bank (BNB) contributing Nu 0.3mn and Lhaki Group of Companies with Nu 0.2mn. Contributions from the rest collectively amounted to Nu 0.7mn.
Financial constraints were the biggest challenge throughout the show. “Nutritious food for the children, transportation and medical expenses also cost a lot,” said Mila.
Mila said, 30% of Mila communications’ net profit if any, goes to government coffers as Business Income Tax (BIT) and permission fees of Nu 5,000 to Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA).
Mila Tobgay said the primary objective of his show was to bring smiles on the faces of the viewers.
Mila has identified that the best way to remind individuals of their responsibilities in conserving the country’s rich culture can be through young children. He thinks children make good negotiators between parents in times of domestic issues. “A parent may not pay heed to someone as literate as a drangpon but will always have the heart and ear to a few words from their offspring.” In this context, he intends to educate the general public through such shows which involves children in conserving culture and tradition.
Although the Talent Hunt season 2 started on December 17, 2011, Mila Communications’ crew began taking auditions across 20 Dzongkhags from October 2010. By the end of January 2011, 4,742 contestants auditioned to be on the Talent Hunt Show. Registration fees for contestants were waived off completely by Mila to encourage maximum participation and enhance the search for pure talent. 22 talented contestants covering all regions got through for Thimphu to be on the show.
Mila communications invested more than Nu 0.8mn in prizes awarded to the top six contestants. Tshering Dorji, 10, and Dawa Norbu, 12, who hails from Pemagatshel won the first and second place, taking home a cash prize of Nu 200,000 and Nu 150,000 respectively.
Tshering Yangki, 8, Tshering Dorji’s sister and the youngest contestant won the third place and received a cash prize of Nu 100,000.
Tenzin Wangmo, 10, from Trongsa who won Nu 50,000 for the best Zhungdra singer was also awarded a laptop worth Nu 47,000 as a token of appreciation for outstanding discipline and displaying rapid improvement over the course of the show.
Kesang Dorji, 10, from Mongar won a sum of Nu 50,000 as first prize for top comedian and Jigme Palden Dorji, 12, from Chukha took home Nu 40,000 as second prize for top comedian.
Kinley Dorji, 14, from Punakha failed to garner votes despite exceptional talent. However, the organizing committee recognized his merit and he was awarded a bi-cycle worth Nu 42,000.
Organizers of Talent Hunt show comprises of 11 employees. The company has adopted a strategy which will focus more on attracting more sponsors or advertisers in future as expenses are inevitable.
Mila Tobgay is content with the show despite its minimal returns and is coming up with Talent Hunt season 3 which begins on December 17. “Auditions for the show will commence one month from today, as plans are already in place,” he revealed.