All eyes are on Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) as season 8 premieres on Sony TV to see if it recovers from the fall it had last season (KBC's ratings fall accentuates Sony's troubles). In the previous season the show had opened with an average weekly rating of 4+, but slipped to below 2 by the end of September 2013. The channel had consequently slipped to number six on the ratings chart.
The channel seems not to have quite recovered from the fall. As per the latest data from TAM subscribers, week 31 (July 27 - August 2) saw the ratings of Sony TV decline to 275 GVTs from 288 GVTs in week 29 (July 21-27). The channel has seen an almost consistent decline in ratings since the past month but has managed to stay one level above sister network channel, SAB TV. Though Yudh was launched recently, it however failed to have any effect on the channel with ratings falling even further to 0.7 TVMs in week 31 from 0.8 TVMs in the previous week. The channel has had to lean instead on long running shows such as CID (3.9 TVMs in week 31) and Crime Patrol (1.6 TVMs in week 31). Maharana Patap (3.1 TVMs in week 31) which was launched last year has had an average performance. While the channel brought back popular game show Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega (1.9 TVMs in week 31) after a gap of two and half years, it hasn't quite had much of an effect on the channels viewership. The channel also attracts a higher amount of male viewership with shows such as CID and Crime Patrol in their portfolio and has launched a new Hindi GEC Sony PAL (With Sony Pal, Sony & Sab TV, we can access entire spectrum of GEC viewership: NP Singh).
Will KBC season 8 change Sony's fortunes?
With changes in the format of the show such as introduction of new lifelines and pre-launch campaigns like ‘Kohima,’ ‘Hindu-Muslim,’ ‘Old Man,’ etc., aiming at establishing an emotional connect with the audience through their new theme "Yahan Sirf Paise Nahi, Dil Bhi Jeete Jate Hain,” the channel is attempting to go to the audience, literally. The show will now leave behind Mumbai and travel to four other cities in India, Surat being one of the cities which has been finalized. KBC 8 was launched inside a stadium in front of a live audience in Surat.
Gaurav Seth, SVP & Head Marketing, Sony Entertainment Television (SET) said, "Whenever you do something with large promotional campaigns the expectations are always high. And because it is a shaking up of the format a little bit, it is going on ground, we got Kapil (Sharma) to host the show and we have a lot of other entertainment plans. We have received good response from the people. Of course that is the intent (to move to other cities in order to boost the ratings of the show). We wanted to bring the show closer to the people, we wanted to help them engage with the show, we wanted them to feel through the show that anybody can have the chance to transform their lives, and hence that was the idea behind why we went on ground". Though he hoped it to do well for the channel, he however did not agree to the fact that the channel's fate rested on this show alone. "Of course KBC is a limited time property. It comes in and goes, it is seasonal. We will obviously use the success of KBC to build on other shows which we will launch in the upcoming months," he added.
However, with the current performance of the channel in the Hindi GEC space the channel is hoping that Amitabh Bachchan's charm will still be enough to woo the audiences. It is set to face tough competition from Star Plus who also will be premiering their singing reality show India's Raw Star with Yo Yo Honey Singh. While on the weekdays, which the show will be featured on, it will be pitted against Star Plus' new show Nisha Aur Uske Cousins which will replace top rated show Mahabharat and KBC might have a chance in gaining traction. While on Zee TV it will face less challenge from India's Best Cine Stars Ki Khoj on the opening night, it will however definitely face a challenge on weekdays from Kumkum Bhagya, a top rated show (7.5 TVMs week 31) on Zee TV. On Colors too it will face competition from The Anupam Kher Show and Jhalak Dikhhala Jaa on Sunday, while will have a chance during the regular weekdays as it goes head to head against new show Udann on Colors. With Life OK, on Sunday it will be pitted against The Adventures of Hatim which has a low ratings performance (1.6 TVMs week 31) and may also not face much competition from shows such as Ek Boond Ishq (1.5 TVMs week 31) and Naadan Parindey (1.2 TVMs week 31) which have been low in ratings. So the fortunes of KBC season 8 look bright as it is the only show with an already built brand name than some of the other newly launched shows on other channels.
Brands speak on KBC
Cadbury still remains the presenting sponsor from last season as does Idea cellular which is the powered by sponsor. Associate sponsors are Samsung, TVS, Maruti Suzuki & Cisca LED.
According to Chandru Kalro, COO, TTK Prestige, "There is a diminishing viewership for KBC. There is no youth support for the show in terms of viewership. It is tough for the channel, but if they work hard, you might count on it to do well and it might push up viewership for the channel."
On a more positive note Ajay Kakar, CMO - Financial Services, Aditya Birla Group said, “The channel has realized that the KBC brand needs to evolve and see improvement. Brands need something new in terms of creating additional eyeballs such as getting Kapil Sharma to come on to the show, moving from town to town and the whole idea of not only winning money.” He further added that good brands need to evolve from time to time and KBC is making that effort.
KBC is likely to be a make or break show for Sony TV, but whether it does manage to boost the channel’s ratings is yet to be seen.