Posted: 15 September 2011 at 1:46pm | IP Logged
KBC continues to score
Till about a year ago, Kaun Banega Crorepati was written off and the head honchos of top three channels had serious reservations about the show's potential to perform reasonably well, leave alone recreate the old magic. Last season KBC came and went in a jiffy, but it managed to stand out as a clutter breaker and created a few flutters. However, the opening of its latest season that started on August 15 gave a scare to Star Plus, Colors and Zee. When TAM's mid-week data for three metros showing Sony marginally ahead of Star Plus and Colors and well ahead of Zee was released three days later, it sent shivers down the spine of the top three channels. Though Star Plus eventually retained its leadership position in the over all HSM market, KBC helped Sony race ahead of Colors and Zee to claim the number 2 position after several years, with 245 GRPs against 232 of Colors and Zee's 194. Since then, Sony has retained its number 2 slot with 242 GRPs in week 35 and 258 in week 36 respectively. KBC opened at 5.24 TVR over one and half hours time band and averaged 4.5 in week 34. For week 35 and 36, it averaged 4.3 and 4.8 TVRs respectively.
Like the last season, this year too KBC did better than expected and scored in the non-fiction genre as the highest-rated show. While most non-fiction shows aren't doing well and peter down after their opening week highs, KBC stands out as an exception. What could be the reason for KBC's power-packed performance over five seasons and after more than 450 episodes spread over 11 years? "I believe its relevant re-invention, far-reaching participation and intrinsic excellence has ensured KBC as the number one non-fiction show for the second year running on Sony. And of course, the sterling conduct and charisma of the host. What's remarkable this year is that it's supreme at prime time across three half-hour segments, starting as early as 8.30 pm, aggregating more rating points to the Sony kitty," says producer Siddhartha Basu of Big Synergy.
Apart from its inherent strength in the format, its positioning reaching out to the most common denominator has also probably ensured sustained numbers, particularly from non-metro and smaller centers. After all, the show has enough small town sob stories for emotional connect as well. Sony's COO N P Singh denies that bulk of viewership is coming from smaller centers. "It's being watched everywhere. In fact, the numbers coming from the three HSM metros (Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata) have been quite encouraging," he defends. However, Anil feels the show has better connect in smaller towns. "Metro viewers sample other entertainment options such as niche and youth channel. A show like Khatron Ke Khiladi (or even Bigg Boss) will have less appeal in small towns. But KBC's positioning and communication indicates that it is being watched in big numbers in small towns," he adds.
The show cuts across demography and geography says Basu. He adds that among the key pullers this time on KBC, those that have provided the peaks in the first four weeks, are hot seat players who have made people laugh.
Whether the show is addressing the lowest common denominator or highest common factor and where the ratings are coming from is anybody's guess, but the fact remains that KBC continues to be a channel driver. The only difference is that it no longer makes that big an impact as it did in 2000 because of wear and tear of format's novelty, besides over crowded cable and satellite TV galaxy and far too many entertainment options. Also, it doesn't last more than 13 weeks anymore. Obviously, today no non-fiction show can change a channel's fortunes in 13 weeks but a fiction show can do that over a much longer period like Balika Vadhu did for Colors three years back. But the point is KBC doesn't disappoint as other non-fiction shows do.
Sony did record good gains from KBC4. Why they had a truncated season is a mystery. But Sony failed to build on the momentum because of weak weekday fiction. Saas Bina Sasural didn't deliver great numbers. However, today Sony is in much better shape because of Bade Achhe Lagte Hain. But the question is what after KBC? Will Sony retain its number two position? "KBC plays an important role in our strategy. It has taken us to the next level. But our main focus is fiction. We will soon be launching another fiction show Kuch Toh Log Kahenge. After KBC gets over, we will build a strong line-up of fiction in 9 to 10 pm band," says Singh.
Anil Kumar of Starcom, a media buying agency says the advantage for Sony this time is that even before KBC came they already had cracked a strong fiction property. "Even if Sony falls from the current levels post-KBC, it will hover around 210-220 GRPs as the shows that will replace KBC will deliver some numbers. So even if it doesn't remain number 2 channel, it will be among the top 3," he feels.