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Star takes ad rates to new highs for 'KBC 2'

MUMBAI: The biggest television property to be unleashed this season is coming with a heavy duty price tag attached. Star India today presented the KBC 2 upfront pitch to the media and client fraternity.

The highlight was most definitely the 'Big B' who was there himself during the presentation. If the original series of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) in 2000 changed the face of Star India, then by looks of KBC 2's business proposition, it could well change the face of the revenue inflow of Star India in 2005. Or so is the expectation of Star India COO Sameer Nair and his ad sales team.

 

 

Remember the famous KBC kicker line - "Nau Baj Gaya Kya?" (Is it 9?). It's the same this time round as well, except that KBC 2 will not be in the daily prime time slot. Scheduled to hit the tube in August in the 9 pm weekend slot (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) Star officials have confirmed that KBC 2 is going to be the last of its kind, ruling out any possibility of a series 3. Also, KBC 2 comes with a limited edition of 85 episodes (the backlog remaining as per Bachchan's original contract with Star) as compared to the 309 aired during KBC's first run in 2000.

The shooting of the show is expected to commence from April, and very obviously the plan for Star Plus with KBC 2 is to build its weekend franchise. The changes incorporated in the show is firstly that the prize money has been doubled to Rs 20 million. Secondly, branding associations have been explored with every single facet of the show. The last being the addition of numerous touch points to make an entry into the show and not restricting it to only telephone landlines.

Key differences in approach

While the launch of KBC in 2000 took place on Star Plus, which was then a weak platform, KBC 2 in 2005 will launch on the strongest general entertainment platform in the country. Also, an important point to note is the fact that in 2000 there were only 25 million C&S home, that figure is now well over 52 million. While the entry questions available for viewers in 2000 was limited to only landlines, KBC 2 will allow for new entry mechanisms via SMS, Internet and landlines with the entry question being aired frequently on prime time. While KBC in 2000 redefined prime time viewership, KBC 2 is positioned to redefine the weekend viewership on the Indian tube.

Show me the money!

Talk about optimisation! The monies involved this time round forms a new benchmark that has been created in Indian television. Star has proposed eight associate sponsors, who will have to cough up Rs 195 million each. What the sponsors will receive in turn is presence in the sum total of 7,295 promos that will air across the network. The break up being 4,165 on Star Plus, 630 on Star Gold, 840 on Star World, 840 on Star Utsav and 410 on The History Channel. The promos will incorporate the branding of each of the eight sponsors, plus 60 seconds of commercial time per episode which adds up to a total of 5,100 seconds across the 85 episodes. A point of note here being that the associate sponsors can only come on board for the entire series and not in parts.

Other branding opportunities available are:

1) Computer branding - Rs 90 million

2) Money Tree branding - Rs 70 million

3) Cheque branding - Rs 35 million

4) 50:50 Life Line question - Rs 20 million

5) Phone a friend - Rs 35 million

6) 30 second clock - Rs 35 million

A ten second spot buy for KBC 2 has been priced at Rs 595,000. The property also promises to the biggest multimedia barrage in 2005 with a lot of thematic activity with celebrity specials being incorporated. The campaign for the show is set to begin three months ahead of the launch. Media that will be used extensively are radio, Internet, print, outdoor and the Star network. All the associate sponsors will be present in the above mentioned media. Also, they will be given the first preference for any other branding option that may subsequently be made available.

Viewers can also receive instant gratification by interacting with the show via SMS while it is on air.

 

 

So, that is essentially the advertising plot for KBC 2. Star Plus will be coupling this blockbuster format with blockbuster movies which is a strategy to ensure dominance in the weekend slots. These movies would be played immediately after KBC 2, therefore not allowing the eyeballs to move anywhere else.

Still, it is worth pondering upon the paradigm shifts that have taken place in the telly world since this story began. KBC in 2000 was a novel proposition. Will it still be able to retain that novelty with its viewers? The options posed in front of the viewer are many. On one hand there will be cricketing properties of the likes of the India-Sri Lanka series in the November-December period on Ten Sports, followed by the India Tour of Pakistan in January 2006. Considering the fact that we as a country are fanatics when it comes to cricket, will KBC 2 be able to overwhelm the rest?

Last but not the least, the second leg of Sony's Indian Idol is slated to make its come-back in August. Will Indian Idol be able to withstand KBC 2's impact?

The answers will be out in due course but there is no gainsaying that if any network has the muscle behind it to raise the price bar on a property like KBC, it is most certainly Star India.

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