Television

Sony nets 11 KBC sponsors, ad inventory almost sold out

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MUMBAI: Five days from now, when Kaun Banegi Crorepati (KBC)  fans tune into the iconic Amitabh Bachchan-hosted long-running millionaire game show)  on Sony Entertainment Television (SET) from 9 pm to 10:30 pm, they will come across quite a few innovations.

For one, they will notice that KBC in its ninth season has been shortened to just 35 episodes with each one having a duration of between 50-60 minutes of content.  

Then they will observe that lifelines that are provided to contestants  - when they are stumped by the quiz question put to them by Mr Bachchan - are refreshingly different.

Instead of phone a friend,  they will be able to video a friend. A new lifeline Jodidaar (companion) has been introduced - wherein the participant can bring along a partner to join him/her on the coveted hot seat. The iconic large-sized cheques are also being replaced with digital currency which will be  transferred directly into the winner’s account via Axis Bank, keeping in mind prime minister Narendra Modi digital financial  transaction directive.

Of  course, the show will air Monday to Friday of each week. And it’s coming on air three years after it was aired the last time in 2014.

Produced  by the ever so loveable team of Siddharth ‘Babu’ Basu and Anita Kaul Basu for Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI),  an interesting twist has been introduced in the KBC narrative, which is likely to add a lot of excitement and drama for both participants and viewers.

A jackpot question, which will make the contestant richer by a mouth-watering Rs 70 million - should he or she answer it correctly after he has gone past the 15 quizzing rounds successfully and won Rs 10 million - has been brought in. This will be an all or nothing deal, wherein the quizzer’s remaining lifelines will terminate. Should the contestant fail to answer the jackpot question, his or her earnings will evaporate from Rs 10 million to Rs 3,40,000.

Says SET  EVP and business head Danish Khan: “We wanted to make KBC  pacier, with innovations being thrown in so that viewers stay engaged. People don’t have too much patience. They want a lot of action packed into one hour.”

The  team has also paintstakingly worked on contestant selection. Says Khan: “The aim is to live up to the promise of celebrating the common Indian and his/her exemplary contribution to the society.”

Bachchan will also invite real-life-heroes in special episodes which are to be aired every Friday. These individuals will not only be given an opportunity to play the game, but also be provided a platform to reach out to the country in support of their cause. Among the contestants who are slated to take part include  Indian women’s cricket heroes Mithali Raj and  Harmanpreet Kaur.

Sony Pictures Networks India CEO NP Singh points out:   “KBC truly does go beyond the ordinary to touch the lives of people from all walks of life. This show has always exemplified attainment via the power of knowledge.”

Kaun Banega Crorepati will bring the game closer to  viewers by taking the engagement a notch higher. Jio – which is title sponsoring KBC this year - subscribers can participate daily in the Ghar Baithe Jackpot Jeeto contest and stand a chance to win a Datsun redi-GO car every day. For the first time ever Jio subscribers will have the opportunity to 'Play Along' with the on-air game and match their knowledge with the contestants on the hot seat.

KBC, like earlier years, has managed to appeal to a wide array of sponsors even before the show has gone on air. Which speaks volumes for its pedigree.

11 of them, including Vivo, Jio, Ching’s, Datsun, Raymond, Axis Bank, Akash Tutorial, Big Bazar and Quick Heal have signed on the dotted line.

“The complete inventory has been sold out. This is one of the best seasons we have had so far because we have been completely sold out before the start of the show,” says SPNI network sales president Rohit Gupta.

Gupta revealed that only five per cent of the air time has been kept aside for advertisers wanting to get on board as the season progresses and the show gathers momentum and grows its viewership.

“We might sell this during the Diwali  festive season to get a higher premium,” he says.

Gupta refused to go into detail about the amount of revenues and the ad rates that have been pegged this year.

Says he:  “Comparing  this season and the last one would be unfair as this time the number of episodes is different. But you can say that the ad rates have gone up by 15-20 per cent this year.”

According to industry experts, Gupta and his  sales team have priced a 10 second TV spot at ₹3.5 lakh to start with, which is a growth of 20 per cent over what it was when KBC went  on air in the last season.

Says Singh:“The new avatar you are seeing for KBC  has been guided by audience insights. The show truly does go beyond the ordinary to touch the lives of people from all walks of life. It  has always exemplified attainment via the power of knowledge.”

Adds Big Synergy creative producer Siddharth Basu: “The huge number of registrations for a crack at the hot seat is one pointer to the enormous anticipation for the show. Along with much-loved features of the classic format, viewers can look forward to expect the unexpected this season, a turbo-charged version, with novel features, engaging contestants, and vibrant conduct by the host who’s the most – Amitabh Bachchan.”

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