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University Challenge online drive nets huge response

LONDON - An online competition to promote the quiz show 'University Challenge' in India has netted 2m responses, the best response to a BBC World online promotion to date.

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The BBC's commercially funded 24-hour international news and information channel has been promoting the launch of the show with a campaign using online, SMS, print, outdoor and radio advertising.

In the tie-up with Yahoo! India, visitors are encouraged to click on the banners throughout the website, to access a microsite with information about the show and channel.

The campaign has also included outdoor advertising and radio promotion across major cities, as well as a press campaign in the national issue of the magazine Outlook.

The series, shown in the South Asia region, is sponsored by Samsung Sound and began a 27-week run on August 7.

A high-profile roadshow running concurrently with the first four shows visited India's four main cities and attracted 18,000 students.

The campaign has been covered in more than 60 regional and national newspapers in India and the show's host, Siddhartha Basu, has supported the PR activities by being interviewed online and live on radio.

The original format of 'University Challenge' first aired in the UK in 1962, hosted by Bamber Gascoigne. It was revived in 1994, with 'Newsnight' host Jeremy Paxman bringing his irascible presenting style to the programme.

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