Finally the D-day for the biggest and the most expensive property on television in India till date – KBC2 – is here and STAR India is ready. Everything about the show that can be changed has been changed, to hook the ‘moving’ weekend audience.
STAR has planned a whole host of activities around this mega-launch with an attempt to turn ‘Umeed Se Dugna’ into the nation’s next catch phrase.
Giving a general picture, STAR India COO, Sameer Nair, explained that the weekend audience had not proved to be an easy one. “Which is why we had to bring a show like KBC2 to build weekends and consequently open more slots, considering weekdays are totally occupied.”
A sneak preview of the show reiterates the fast pace and young nature that KBC2 promos embody. Nair explained that the change was a deliberate one, keeping in mind, the evolution of television and viewers in the last five years.
“Life is different today. People might say, ‘Old is Gold’ and KBC was aristocratic, but we started work on KBC2 by watching season 1 episodes and they look boring now,” he said.
Nair pointed out that the increase in the younger viewers, in TV households and in the number of second TV households led to a need to improvise on various counts of the show – from the look of the show to the behaviour of the host itself.
“If last time, he gave cues, asking a participant about his surety before locking an answer, there is no such luck this time – he just locks the answer,” warned Nair.
Amitabh Bachchan, KBC2 host, is a lot more fun this time, with a trendy wardrobe, rapping amidst the audience, giving his own take on life itself and being a lot more engaged with the participants and the viewers. If one thought that this could be seen as frivolous in comparison to last season, Nair was quick to correct that this was only broadening the appeal.
As for the changes in the show itself, the stakes are doubled from the word go, every round giving double of last time, leading to the ultimate win of Rs 2 crore. The questions are not bookish and very contemporary and unlike last time, there is no time limit.
With play-along rounds, questions and hence, chances of winning for both audience on the sets and viewers, KBC2 is more interactive. The dose of celebrity episodes is also in place – Saif Ali Khan and Preity Zinta beginning it, followed by names like Ajay Devgan and John Abraham.
In its last run, KBC changed stripped programming format, reducing weekdays to Monday to Thursday, and KBC2 is changing it again, extending weekdays to Fridays.
“Scheduling changed to suit KBC, which went on to become a format, followed by everyone and we are changing it again,” remarked Nair. For him, the weekend arsenal was ready with ‘Ba, Bahu aur Baby’, ‘Shanno Ki Shaadi’ and the dailies ‘Kyunki…’, ‘Kasautii…’ and ‘Kahiin…’ going five days with KBC2 right in the middle of it all, “We are working very hard and we really hope that people like it,” he added.
The marketing of the show so far has largely seen efficiencies coming through on on-air activities, and STAR India’s Marketing Head, Ajay Vidyasagar, informed that with an investment of over 12,000 GRPs, KBC2 was the biggest launch ever seen on television.
“The campaign was always meant to be promoted extensively on the network and the other mediums were used as support,” averred Vidyasagar.
The big push was seen on August 4, when Bachchan addressed the nation at 10.30 pm, reminding and welcoming everyone to the new season, playing up ‘Umeed’ again in context to the rains crisis in Mumbai. The address was aired without breaks between ‘Kahaani…’ and ‘Kasautii…’.
Closer to the launch, there is more buzz marketing, too, that would be seen – branded cabs, buses offering free rides on select routes, pizza deliveries at 9.00 pm forms a portion of what is planned.
However, all these activities culminate on August 5. The following activities will dominate air waves again. “We will keep the public interest alive with how the show unfolds and really keep pushing ‘Umeed Se Dugna’, which has already gone on to become the next catch phrase,” said Vidyasagar.
STAR India is prepared for yet another big gamble with a substantial portion of the media fraternity involved. STAR officials can enumerate various reasons why one should watch KBC2, but Nair has only one – there is nothing else to watch on weekends. Will KBC2 change this? The countdown for the answer has begun.