How 'Bigg Boss', 'Chhoti Sardarni' are driving Colors to the top

Bigg Boss has also helped Viacom18 get viewership up on Voot.

MUMBAI: Reality TV shows have practically dominated television in recent years, but do channels really benefit by airing cost-intensive, star-studded, high-impact shows?

Colors Hindi – the GEC from the Viacom18 stable - seems to know the answer. And the answer is Bigg Boss.

In its thirteenth season, the Salman Khan-hosted show has once again helped the channel reclaim the top position in BARC India week 45 ratings in HSM urban prime time slot, with decent help from Chhoti Sardarni, which that completed 100 episodes earlier this month.

Launched on 29 September, Bigg Boss opened with a viewership of 6.9 million, making it the second-best launch in the category (year to date FY20 - YTD FY20). However, as the show progressed and viewers got familiar with the new contestants in its latest edition, its viewership saw a positive rally. Within six weeks of its launch, Biggg Boss has already reached 139 million viewers across India, according to data provided by the channel team.

In the latest two weeks - BARC week 44 and week 45 (26 October to 8 November) - data for which is available, Bigg Boss has emerged as  the number 1 non-fiction show on weekends and the undisputed slot leader on weekdays with 27 per cent market share in HSM Urban 2+ and 29 per cent market share in AB 15+ category.

Bigg Boss is not only leading its slot  (weekdays 2230 to 2330; weekends 2100 to 2200) but its huge-viewership during the last two weeks has also helped Colors regain the much-coveted number 1 spot in the crowded Hindi GEC market, according to channel data. 

On the weekends, however, as seen in the picture above, Bigg Boss is facing stiff competition from Sony’s Indian Idol and The Kapil Sharma Show.

Speaking on the success of Bigg Boss Season 13, Viacom18 chief content officer Hindi mass entertainment Manisha Sharma says: “Bigg Boss is doing very well - its popularity has only increased with the years. It opened with a viewership of 6.9 million on HSM Urban and has already reached over 140 million Indians, which is a very big number. On digital as well, the show is getting amazing numbers.  It’s the second-best launch this year in non-fiction shows.”

Notably, Bigg Boss has also helped Viacom18 in getting more eye-balls on Voot. “Voot had nearly 60 million monthly users. But since the launch of Bigg Boss, that number has shot to 80 million. Bigg Boss Kannada is also getting a lot of traction on Voot,” reveals Sharma.

She is also upbeat about reality shows despite the high-input capital required in their production.

“Reality shows are high-impact properties and almost every network in the world is investing in them. They generate a lot of impact and grab eyeballs, which attract big sponsors. Colors is doing very well with its impact properties. There is Bigg Boss, Fear Factor – Khatron ke Khiladi, Rising Star, and Dance Deewane. All these shows are doing very well.”

Colors ratings, however, have also been helped by a decent performance by Chhoti Sardarni. Based in a small village, Choti Sardaarni narrates the story of Meher, who is fighting for the rights and safety of her child. It has emerged as the number 1 show on Colors and is also a slot leader (weekdays 1930-2000), cornering a whopping 40 per cent market share in HSM Urban during BARC India week 42 – week 45. The show consistently features in the top five  fiction shows and became the number 1 fiction show in BARC India week 43 (17 October to 25 October).

Chhoti Sardarni has become the slot leader in its category within a short span of four months. It has finished 100 episodes but it feels like we have just started. The lead character, Meher already features in Ormax’s Top five loved characters and it happens to be the fastest character to enter the top 10 most loved characters across India on the Ormax characters India loves study. This is a testament to how much its characters are being loved by the viewers,” Sharma adds.

Together, these two shows have helped Colors reclaim the top spot in Hindi GEC in week 45. Overall, from week 38 to week 45, Colors was the number two channel in Hindi GEC Urban category. 

The Hindi GEC is a crowded space with the likes of Sony Entertainment, Sony SAB, Zee, Star Plus and Colors slugging it out for the top spot. While Colors was at the top spot in week 45, Sony and Star Plus aren’t much behind. In fact, all three channels (Sony, Star and Colors) have been at the top in Hindi GEC during the last two weeks, a testament to the tough competition in this category.

Sharma has no qualms in acknowledging the tough competition in the Hindi GEC category.

“Competition is tough in Hindi GEC but the stakes are even higher because of the size of the market. In a category like infotainment, the competition might be less, but then, revenue generation is also limited. On the contrary, Hindi GEC, despite being a highly-competitive and sometimes scary space, is a fun place to work as the size of the market is such that just the success of two to three  shows can guarantee you RoI,” she adds.

For now, Bigg Boss and Chhoti Sardarni, are proving to be just that. And while Bigg Boss can only run for a limited time, Sharma is clear that Chhoti Sardarni has a long way to go.

“Good shows like Kumkum and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai have run over 1000 episodes. We have similar plans for Chhoti Sardarni,” she adds. “The Hindi speaking market is very aspirational and I think our shows will be able to capture that sentiment.”

Her tack seems to be working so far. And it can only mean a more colourful time for Colors in the days ahead. 

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