Sonys Maha gamble

MUMBAI: A look at Sony Entertainment’s TAM TV ratings from week 33 to week 34 shows that the channel has slipped to number six position with 292,684 television viewership ratings (TVTs) from its earlier score of 349,377 TVTs.


With yo-yoing TVTs to contend with, Sony is betting big on the seventh season of Kaun Banega Crorepati, which comes to drawing rooms in a new and improved avatar.

Big B to play Sapt Koti Mahadhani... Kaun Banega Maha Crorepati starting 6 September


Sapt Koti Mahadhani... Kaun Banega Maha Crorepati premieres on Sony on September 6 at 8.30pm and will be aired over 13 weekends, with the aim of creating a platform of opportunities for Indians across ages, genders and socio-economic groups.


The channel is looking for a big change in viewership numbers through the show. “Yes, we are not satisfied with a few of our currently running shows. Also the TAM TV ratings have moved to a new currency and we will take time to stabilise. The show will surely help us gain momentum,” says Multi Screen Media CEO Man Jit Singh.


A measure of just how much is riding on the show is the many changes it has undergone in terms of its format, level of audience engagement, prize money and so on.


For starters, not only has the set moved base from Film City to Yash Raj Films Studio, the set design too has had a complete makeover.

Sneha Rajani is hopeful that the format, its simplicity and Big B will surely make it tick


This time round, audiences will get to hear a different sound track as well. While the music has been scored by Sawan Dutta, Varsha Jain has done the set designing.


Explaining why they’ve changed the set, Sony EVP & business head Sneha Rajani says: “We had booked YRF Studios last year to shoot this season of KBC. The set this time is bigger, better and grander. We have added more elements.”


Adding to this, Big Synergy Media CMD Siddhartha Basu says: “It was a challenging task, but we achieved it. The licensors loved the changes and accepted the change in format and set. They have also suggested that it be used in other countries, if affordable.”


The biggest change comes in the form of the prize money, which has been increased from Rs five crore to Rs seven crore. About the figure, Singh says, “Seven crore in the seventh season, is the right amount.”


Elaborates Basu: “We had to increase the engagement level of the audiences. With the changes in format, the drama has risen and so has the engagement of the audience,” and points out that the show needed a change. “It has been accepted by people for 13 years. But now, the viewers deserved evolution, development and variety. Keeping the fundamentals same, we have given our audiences the change,” he says.


Speaking at the show’s press launch at ITC Grand Maratha in Mumbai, Rajani says, “Big B is roaring in this season. The format, its simplicity and Big B will surely make it tick.”  


What’s new?

·The money tree will now consist of 15 questions.


·Introducing Sapta Koti Sandook, which will give contestants a chance to win anything from Rs one crore to three crore, five crore and seven crore.


·The Fastest Finger First round will now be a ‘best out of three’ with the winner at the end getting to the hot seat.


·More choice of lifelines - Flip the question (Alat Palat) replaces Ask the expert and 50:50 replaces Double Dip.


·A brand new lifeline called ‘Power Paplu’ that will aid those who seek to revive an already used lifeline.


·In the entire game play however, a hot seat contestant may use only four of the five lifelines on offer.


·Introducing Play along for the Fastest Finger First contestants, who do not make it to the hot seat. These contestants can now play along with the hot seat contestant and the one who answers the maximum number of questions in the minimum amount of time gets to win Rs one lakh at the end of the episode.


·The time limit for the Phone a friend lifeline will now be 45 seconds instead of 30 seconds.


·Audiences can win by playing Ghar Baithe Jeeto Jackpot.


As things stand, the first three episodes have already been shot and Sony is going the whole hog in terms of marketing and promoting the show. “It is a 360 degree market campaign on radio, TV, print and hoardings,” informs Rajani while a highly placed media planner reveals, “KBC is the biggest show for Sony. The channel hopes to improve its position in the ratings chart through this. It would have spent anywhere between Rs 10-12 crore on promotions.”

The team brings a better, bigger and grander Kaun Banega Maha Crorepati


Digitally-speaking, the channel is leaving no stone unturned to promote the show. It has launched its flagship KBC 2013 website ( and the KBC official mobile application. On the cards is a host of rich and immersive video content and games that will see users take home Apple iPads.


The website will include entire episodes of the show and an AB special, where users can watch Big B rendering poetry and catchy one-liners. Joyous moments of contestants on winning large sums of money and glimpses of interactions with stars and celebrities will also feature on the website. Surfers will be able to play games like Globe Quiz, where they can scroll and move round the earth’s axis, click on any part of the world and answer a trivia question. Other highlights will be the KBC Web Game, where users can test their speed and accuracy online, Insta Hot Seat and Prize meter & Heat map to name some.


Elaborates SET executive VP-new media, business development and digital/syndication Nitesh Kripalani: “KBC is one of the most admired and loved game shows on television today. The popularity quotient is huge and the fan base is getting bigger every year. Our digital platform is especially designed to give our users much more than what they can get from their television sets – a whole new immersive on-demand second screen experience right at their fingertips.”


He explains that the idea is to bring “the KBC experience up, close and personal, across multiple platforms, be it mobile, tablet or online.”

With the changes in format, the drama has risen and so has the engagement of the audience, says Siddhartha Basu


Says the top-placed media planner, “The channel will look strong with the show in the ratings chart,” and points out that with an airing time of one and a half hour, it will rake in money from advertisers. “The channel should have sold its advertising slot at Rs 3.5 crore (approximately) for per ten second advertisements. They would be targeting getting close to Rs 200 crore through ad sales,” he says.


While Sony is sure hoping Big B’s charms reflect on its ratings, “The real competition will come from Bigg Boss and 24, both to be aired on Colors. Though the show will get good viewership in its first week,” he adds.


Now whether this Maha Crorepati will have a maha effect on Sony’s rating, is something we will have to simply wait and watch...

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