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Colors confident of unleashing 'Bigg Boss' juggernaut at 10.30 pm

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MUMBAI: Come 11 October, 2015 and the definition of prime time viewing on Indian television history will be officially redefined as Bigg Boss season 9 will be aired in the late time slot of 10.30 pm. Accustomed with the 9 pm slot, the show has established itself as one of the finest property in the general entertainment genre, but as was reported earlier by Indiantelevision.com, this year due to the super performance of Colors' existing prime time shows, the channel's programming team was forced to postpone Bigg Boss to the 10.30 pm slot.

The moment the new time slot became public knowledge, the immediate presumption that emerged was the possibility of content edging towards the adult category with more violence and at times even vulgar. However, Colors CEO Raj Nayak has pooh-poohed all such speculations. He said, “The strong point of Bigg Boss in the last few seasons has been its establishment as a family viewing entertainment entity, which helped us grow our ratings. We are not going to compromise with that. So the show will continue to be a family viewing entity.”

The press conference for the official launch of the show was off with a flying start with a satirical banter between Bigg Boss host Salman Khan and Nayak. As reported earlier by this website, the show's theme this year is Double Trouble. Khan in his inimitable style candidly asked Nayak what double trouble means to him and when does it start. Nayak smilingly replied, “For me double trouble starts with the start of April, when I start talking to your (Salman Khan) agency and they quote me a rate double of what we paid last season.” 

The lighthearted banter continued throughout and both Nayak and Khan were sportingly part of it. When Endemol India MD and CEO Deepak Dhar was introduced Nayak reminded the audience in a tongue and cheek manner that it was not only Salman’s fee that gets doubled every year, even Endemol’s remuneration takes a substantial hike.

Speaking about the extension of prime time, Nayak said, “I think today prime time goes on till 12 o’clock in the night, the success of Comedy Nights is a big example of that.”

Speculations were also rife that courtesy to the late night premiering of the show, the ratings and the ad rates may face a blow. However, Nayak is unperturbed. “Bigg Boss is Colors’ biggest show. If we don’t believe in the fact that it will be successful, why would we invest such huge money? I would have liked Bigg Boss to come in at 10 o’clock but am confident about it in the 10.30 pm slot too. Research shows that in urban areas people go back to home a little late and hence 10 pm would have been the best time to unwind with a one hour show. But with God’s grace, we have the problem of plenty and a slot leader (Yeh Meri Ashique) at 10 pm so we cannot disturb leading show and put Bigg Boss in place of that.”

Throwing light on the show's target group, Nayak said, “Target audience is an exaggerated and over spoken factor in India where we have a huge percentile of single TV houses. Bigg Boss by default or by design appeals more towards the younger audience than the older. The older audience watches it but seldom speaks about it. People who normally never watch Hindi GECs turn out to be Bigg Boss followers. So overall the show caters to a diverse audience across all age groups.”

Colors has a strong social media analysis team, which analyses each and every movement across all the platforms. If the analysis depicts an addressable issue, the programming team immediately looks into it, which results to better sustainability. “We may not make a change immediately but we do follow them continuously. We have a separate infrastructure to check between spam and genuine feedback. We take social media feedback very seriously,” added Nayak.

As was reported earlier, the presented by, powered by and driven by slots in the sponsorship inventory have already been sold to Snapdeal, Oppo and Maruti Suzuki respectively. Commenting on advertisers' reaction on the time change, Nayak said, “The sponsors are demonstrating faith in what we are doing and the fact that we already have a majority of our sponsors on board, is proof of that.”

Endemol CEO and MD said, “The concept of Bigg Boss has always kept the audiences intrigued. The theme of ‘Double Trouble’ promises to offer double the fun and entertainment with various twists and surprises. This year too fans of this biggest reality show format will be hooked to the TV, as this season the contestants will be put in unanticipated situations that will make an interesting watch for the viewers. The production value of the show will be more enormous and the expertise of the team working on the show will leave no stone unturned to offer unlimited doze of entertainment."

When quizzed if 10.30 pm slot was a pressure factor for Endemol, Dhar said, “Pressure factor, yes, because it’s a new time slot that we are not yet used to but the pressure is there every year. Bigg Boss at 9 pm was up against the biggest shows of the country and it delivered commendable ratings. So I don’t see a reason why it won’t deliver at 10:30 pm. The time change is a challenge as well as an opportunity.”

Concurring with Nayak on the prime time definition, Dhar said, “People are now creating content for 11 pm and 11.30 pm slots. So the traditional definition of prime time is no longer relevant. People now, specially from the urban areas are ready to watch television till late. And a show like Bigg Boss where it's more of unwinding than using one's brains, a time slot later down the night should be comfortable.”

Snapdeal senior vice president marketing Srinivas Murthy said, “Big Boss is only getting bigger and better with every season. We joined hands with television’s most popular show last year and engaged with our audiences on a daily basis through innovative in-programme integration. We are very excited to partner with Big Boss Nau and look forward to great response from the viewers this season too.”

Speaking on his return as the host of the show for the sixth time, Khan said, “This season with Double Trouble being the flavour, contestants have no choice but to double up and face the trouble, or remain disconnected and invite trouble! Bigg Boss Nau comes with the promise of unlimited and unadulterated entertainment, which will create a strong bond between viewers and the contestants fuelled by fun, empathy and sometimes sympathy.”

Oppo Mobiles India CEO Mike Wang added, “We are pleased to renew our association with the immensely popular show Bigg Boss this season. We firmly believe that this partnership will help establish our reach across India giving us an opportunity to connect with a wider audience. There is no platform better than entertainment in India and we wish the show a huge success.”

Whatever Nayak and his team at Colors are churning out these days, is turning into gold. With the channel climbing up the ratings chart to become the number one Hindi GEC recently as per BARC as well as TAM data, the Bigg Boss entertainment juggernaut comes at a perfect time. It now remains to be seen if the show's new time slot manages to sustain ratings or better still, enhance it even further.

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