Bigg Boss season 6 returns bigger and better

MUMBAI: Colors is betting big on Bigg Boss season 6. Boosted by Salman Khan‘s presence this year, the broadcaster has made a slew of changes to the format of the show to make it more inclusive.

The broadcaster has positioned Bigg Boss season 6 as ‘Alag Che‘ which literally means ‘It‘s Different‘.

Bigg Boss Season 6 will have several new elements to it, the biggest differentiator is the opportunity for a common man to gain entry into the Bigg Boss house. This, the broadcaster believes, will give the viewers an opportunity to experience in the Bigg Boss house from a common-man‘s perspective.

The other differentiator is the presence of two house guests - a fish and a talking parrot to give company to the housemates. The producers have also introduced a rule according to which any participant violating rules will be reprimanded to the Panic Room.

All this and other new elements will make the show appealing to the entire family, believes Colors CEO Raj Nayak. The show has also been moved to prime-time slot and will be aired at 9 pm from Sunday to Monday starting 7 October.

Will the change in format and introduction of new elements upset the applecart? Unlikely, says Nayak.

"Everybody is moving towards positivity zone, if you see all the shows that are doing well are in the positivity zone we tried that with Jhalak Dikhla Jaa. We also realised that we were alienating a lot of viewers therefore we have reformatted the show by introducing new elements without touching the soul of the show. We want to make it much more inclusive and provide wholesome family entertainment," said Nayak.

"We also want to broad base our viewer base and also our advertiser base. Bigg Boss till now has been youth focussed show with the 25-40 age group forming the core target group. We want entire family to watch also because India is largely a single TV market and we want to grab a large share of that segment. We are airing the show in the prime-time because we feel that the content that we will be airing lends itself to prime-time viewing."

The change in format will help Colors in maximising the return on investment particularly since a reality show is very expensive to produce, feels Nayak.

According to industry sources, the total cost of producing Bigg Boss will be in the region of Rs 1.5 billion.

The reasoning behind having a common man as a participant is to give loyal Bigg Boss viewers a chance to be a part of the Bigg Boss house.

"Bigg Boss is a cult programme and we have got a lot of loyal viewers who call us wanting to be a part of the Bigg Boss house so we thought why not give them a chance to be a part of the show and rub shoulders with big celebrities," Nayak reasoned.

The brief given by Colors to Endemol was that the show should have positive rub-off and casting should be done in a way that the participants connect with the viewers.

The broadcaster will spend close to Rs 100-120 million to promote the show. "There is only so much that you can do in marketing since there are only that many more media vehicles. But we have to shout louder since the clutter levels are higher. We normally spend about Rs 7-8 crore (Rs 70-80 million) on a reality show but for Bigg Boss we will spend close to Rs 10-12 crores (Rs 100-120 million) and this amount is only for the promotions outside the network spanning all the media platforms," revealed Nayak

The Colors chief is also unperturbed by the fact that Bigg Boss will compete with Sony‘s Kaun Banega Crorepati. "That‘s the reality of life everyday you are competing against someone or the other. At the end of the day, you need to have the conviction and belief that the show you are producing will do well," Nayak asserts.

The broadcaster is currently engaged in negotiations with existing as well as new advertisers. Bigg Boss will have eight sponsors which includes a title and a powered by sponsor and six associate sponsors.

The official sponsors would consume about 50 per cent of the inventory while the spot buyer‘s would consume the rest.

According to Nayak, sponsors and spot buyers will have to shell out more this time for the show since it is investing more money into the show and the scale is bigger than previous seasons.

"We have hiked sponsorship rates by 20-30 per cent," stated Nayak, "We are currently in negotiation with advertisers however everybody wants to see who signs first but that‘s the nature of the business."

However, media buyers are not enthused by this rate hike. "While Bigg Boss is an established property, there are other reality shows for advertisers to go to. We also have a lot of cricket coming up including the India versus Pakistan series, which will consume a lot of advertising monies," a media buyer said.

He also opined that advertisers this year have been cautious on their spends due to a slowdown in the economy.

Zenith Optimedia managing partner Navin Khemka believes Bigg Boss has the potential to attract new audiences.

"Bigg Boss is a well established property and attracts a lot of audience who otherwise don‘t watch GECs. It has an appeal among youth and advertisers who see brand fit will associate with the property," he says.

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