Bigg Boss 14 & the big sponsorship question

Will Bigg Boss manage to make enough money for Colors this year?

MUMBAI: The moment we hear the name Bigg Boss, what comes to our mind is the cacophony of emotions and behaviours ranging from love to jealousy to anger to sorrow to Machiavellianism to kindness. And of course the paternalistic - at times – and strict - at others - face of superstar Salman Khan, who has been the host of the show since we ever can remember.

Viewers are bombarded with a barrage of histrionics by contestants arguing, fighting, caring, romanticising, dancing, and doing a number of other acts – which is what the show has come to be known for. Interestingly, every year one or the other contestant turns into a household name such as Gautam Gulati, Shehnaz Gill, Rohit Shukla, Dolly Bindra, Gauhar Khan, and Hina Khan.

Despite Covid2019, the Colors team has put in gargantuan efforts to bring back the show. Bigg Boss 14 promos have been getting impressive air time to whip up interest for the show - slated to air from 3 October at 10:30 pm on weekdays and 9 pm on weekends – from advertisers and viewers.


Bigg Boss is a much-needed respite for audiences, it enjoys a very strong and loyal fan base across age groups. There cannot be a more perfect time than now for a show like Bigg Boss as the audience will relate to it more than ever. The country has been through a lockdown and television has been a constant companion during this time. The audience has been eagerly waiting for it, a show that is packed with drama and entertainment and a great differentiator from the regular shows,” says Viacom18 network sales head Mahesh Shetty.

Advertisers & Brand Integrations

Industry estimates are that Bigg Boss earned Rs 180-200 crore in advertising revenues from nine sponsors and about 100 advertisers in 2019. Viacom18 has labelled Bigg Boss 13 as the most successful season that went on for 139 episodes setting new records in both viewership and revenue terms.

This year the channel has already signed fantasy sports brand Mobile Premier League (MPL) as the presenting sponsor while Dabur Dant Rakshak Ayurvedic Paste and Hindustan Unilever's TRESemmé' have been roped in as co-powered by sponsors.

Shetty highlights that due to ease in the restrictions, businesses are going back to normal and as a result, advertising spends are also increasing. According to him, television is doing good in terms of volumes which is a very positive sign. “As we enter the festive season with Bigg Boss, we are sensing a lot of optimism from advertising and viewers,” he adds.

According to industry experts, Viacom’s revenue from the show is likely to get a 15-20 per cent cut compared to last year. Its card rate is between Rs 300,000 and Rs 500,000 for a 10 second spot. And it is not budging on discounts.

Shetty shares, “In a normal scenario, we would have increased the rates by 25-30 per cent from last year but we are neither increasing nor decreasing the prices. As per the BARC data in June, our ad-volumes have also recovered. We initiated discounting in the month of April-May owing to the low demand but starting July, we have let go of discounting and as of this month, we are on zero discounting and the ad volumes are still holding strong.

" Mediacom India south Asia chief growth officer Soumak Banik said that Bigg Boss is a marquee property, hence it will get the required viewership as audiences have not had much fresh content to watch over the past five months. It is not just Bigg Boss Hindi but the Tamil and Telugu versions will do better in terms of viewership and revenue.

He adds: “There is already traction from advertisers for sponsorship on Bigg Boss. Also, I don’t think so impact properties will have 15 to 20 per cent of revenue cut. In fact, I think both viewers and advertisers are open to welcome reality shows on TV. Bigg Boss has already signed two sponsors and the makers are in discussion with other brands. Similar to IPL, Bigg Boss will also have sponsors on board before it begins to telecast.”

In its fourteenth season, it is all set to cover everything from Dussehra, Diwali to Christmas and New Year during its telecast. Viacom18 is currently in talks with several brands for sponsoring other categories and is looking forward to brand integrations.

Shetty points out that it Bigg Boss is a format which suiting all kinds of brands from e-commerce, automobiles, beverages, snack foods, appliances to gaming apps, and payment gateways. It appeals cuts across categories and offers great brand integration solutions across episodes and in between the episodes on the various Colors digital properties.

“There are some sponsors who sign deals for both Bigg Boss and the channel while there are others who are only digital exclusive. Typically, we have separate sponsors for Colors and Voot. Last year, Voot had close to eight to nine sponsors and this year also we are expecting the same or more. On Voot, we also create some very similar shoulder content around Bigg Boss like Bigg Buzz that the brands find attractive.”


The format of Bigg Boss 14 is going to remain the same with a bunch of people stuck inside a house. Shetty reveals that innovations are planned for the new season which will weave in the existing realities of the pandemic into its narrative. All the luxuries that most have been deprived of will be made available to the contestants. There will be small shopping and dining areas, a spa and a health club, and even a movie theatre. Some or all of these will be accessible to the contestants, if they do well on activities and tasks that are set for them. Shetty says the format affords a lot of opportunities brands to become a part of the narrative of Bigg Boss 14.

Expectations are that the current edition will run for 106 episodes, with Shetty declining to talk budgets that are being kept aside for it.

Why Brands Love it

BARC India data reveals that Bigg Boss 13 garnered 213 million viewers and the finale alone witnessed 10.5 million impressions. Over the years, the show has been delivering very strong numbers and has helped brands generate a high top-of-the-mind recall and impact.

Shetty reveals that the response from brands and advertisers has been very encouraging. A lot of brands are now looking at investing in big-ticket properties and Bigg Boss serves as a befitting platform for brand associations and integrations.

Recently, the Indian government banned a set of Chinese apps, possibly one of the major reasons why Vivo backed out as a sponsor. According to Shetty, only due to certain operational issues and government norms certain brands may not be able to come on board.

“We expect most of the brands that have partnered with us and have been associated with us in the previous years to come back and renew their partnerships,” he highlights. “Some of the brands which are keeping a low key because of government rule may not be a part of the mix. Dabur is a case in point of a returning partner. It was a powered by sponsor last year and has come on board this year as well.”

Coinciding with IPL

This is for the first time the IPL is clashing with Bigg Boss and there is a lot of buzz that it is going to impact the viewership. However, Shetty believes that the clash is very minimal.

He mentioned that Bigg Boss starts on 3 October and runs for 106 days whereas IPL starts on 19 September and goes on until 8 November. So, the overlap is only for 37 days out of 106 days. Also, any head-on clashes between Bigg Boss 14 and the IPL this year will be rare, given the former’s telecast time of 10:30 pm and the latter’s at 7:30 pm. “The matches will most likely be over by the time Bigg Boss begins,” says an observer.

The overlap will take place only on the weekends for eight days because Bigg Boss airs at 9 pm on Saturday and Sunday. “So, from a viewer's point of view, there is not much of an overlap. Both the IPL and Bigg Boss are very strong properties and have a very strong following and I am certain people who follow and watch both will continue to do so. From the advertisers' standpoint, they have a scope to invest in two big properties. The IPL ticket size being very high may not be affordable to some of the advertisers but I think there is enough space for both to coexist,” shares Shetty.

And so shall it be!

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