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Will KBC 5 repeat last season’s success?

After a truncated fourth season that did better than the benchmark ratings for non-fiction shows last year,will KBC’s focus on aam aadmi deliver similar ratings this time?

Written by ALChougule |
August 12, 2011 7:12:45 pm

After a three-year break and shifting channels,people were quite apprehensive about its success when KBC returned on Sony in October last year. Nobody,including the channel,expected it to recreate its past magic,nor deliver those magic figures. The benchmark ratings for big-ticket non-fiction shows last year were between 3 and 4 TVR and KBC was expected to at least touch those figures,more so because of Bachchan. But KBC performed better than expected and Bachchan reiterated the fact that there is no one like him . It opened at 6.2 TVR,averaged 5.2 in the first week and ended with an average of close to 4 for the seven-week truncated season. The show re-established itself and was the most successful among non-fiction programmes last year.

What probably helped KBC get those numbers was innovation and tez,teekha and tabatod format. Since it is a personality-driven show,the auditions and personality tests helped get candidates a fair bit of general knowledge on the hot-seat. But more importantly,the higher number of candidates from small towns and humble backgrounds making it to the hot-seat and wining decent sums ensured better connect and higher eyeballs from small centres. Sony’s EVP and head of marketing Danish Khan admits that a combination of the above factors besides aggressive marketing and promotion contributed to the show’s success. Concurs Natasha Kapoor,Media Purchase Director (buying),MediaCom,“I believe it was bit of everything,added to that was the charm of Bachchan. We all have seen how the audience reacts if we replace a key character in a programme,KBC 4 went on to prove the same.”

What probably helped sustain viewership to a great extent is the small town phenomenon and regional focus the channel played on. “Absolutely,” confirms Natasha. She elaborates,“As we are becoming more regionalised,the focus on markets like Gujarat,UP,MP,Punjab etc. is increasing. As with Indian Idol (and other talent hunts) where people watched and voted for the singer from their city/state,even here the show sustained on the people who played the game. The small town phenomenon has become a tried-and-tested game now.” Even Bachchan had admitted in an interview that people from small town India proving them on the show was a big draw.

But Danish denies that the show got the bulk of the eyeballs from smaller markets. “On the contrary,it cut across cities,states,regions,demography and psychography. After IPL,KBC is the only pan-India show that got uniform ratings across markets,” he defends. However,Natasha says that it’s not only the small markets but newer and emerging markets capable of changing the number game which contributed to the ratings. Now after the acid test and successful season last year,will KBC 5 repeat its success? What could be the ratings this time around? Apparently,Sony has done even bigger marketing and promotional exercise this year. “KBC mirrors and celebrates India’s diversity. If last season it provided a glimpse of India’s multi-cultural,multi-religion,multi-language and multi-region diversity,this year we have taken it to the next level in terms of caste,religion,language,region,dialect,mindset and age groups,” promises Danish. A senior programmer from another GEC says that while in the last season the channel got its content and focus right,this season it is communicating the right way – koi bhi insaan chhota nahin hota. “The tag-line says it all. Urban viewers,particularly the new generation,has seen it all. It’s the small-town viewers who are the real target group,” he points out.

This season,the show will not only have a full 13-week run but will have one-and-a-half hour episodes,starting at 8.30 pm and ending at 10. Obviously when the focus is on small and new emerging markets,it makes sense to start at 8.30 when the episodes are 90-minute long. But Danish says the real reason is they want KBC to end exactly at 10 so that viewers can catch up with their favourite shows Saas Bina Sasural and Bade Achhe Lagte Hain on time. As for the ratings,Danish says it would be great if KBC touches last season’s ratings. “Last season it was sampled by 92 per cent of C & S viewers. Given the depth of reach it should deliver on expected lines,” he adds. Natasha also is not circumspect either though she says the bigger test for KBC is this year. “While the excitement of KBC and that of innovative creatives is piquing people’s interest,it remains to be seen what the show will deliver. I think it will hover around the same numbers as last year,” she hopes.

KBC 4 took Sony to 220 GRPs level last year and the channel hovered around 190 GRPs through the seven-week period but came down to 150-160 levels post KBC in the absence of a strong fiction property. Now with Bade Acche Lagte Hain doing well at 3.4 TVR and Saas Bina Sasural also picking up decently,is it possible that Sony will bridge the gap,overtake Zee and stay ahead at the third spot for a longer time? Danish refuses to hazard a guess. “GEC business is too competitive and unpredictable. But Sony is certainly on growth path,” he says cautiously. “There is a possibility of Sony gaining numbers with KBC and Bade Acche.. and being a close competitor for the third number position. But Zee and/or Colours also have their own ammunition planned for the period and we can only expect an interesting fight in the Hindi genre space,” is Natasha’s prediction.

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