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KBC-SRK – the game has only just begun

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KBC-SRK – the game has only just begun

TAM Media Research has released the opening numbers of KBC-SRK. The data has much to throw up in terms of the performance of the show in the current scene and in comparison to the earlier KBC seasons as well. Media experts, nonetheless caution that a direct comparison to earlier KBC numbers doesn't make sense due to the change in the environment – from measurement system to competitive dynamics.

What the ratings say

TAM Media Research shows that KBC-SRK opened to a TRP of 12.33 in the mass TG of the Hindi speaking markets. It dropped to 10.44 on the second day and further down to 7.36 in episode three, but the final episode of the week picked up again to throw up a TRP of 9.24. In the Hindi metros only, the opening TRP was 11.26, which moved to 9.1, 6.03 and then to 7.65 on the final day of the week.

The 9.00-10.00 pm day-part from Monday to Thursday has grown for Hindi general entertainment channels (GEC). From a share of 45 per cent in week 3, the share in week 4 was 57.95 per cent. In the three Hindi metros, the number has grown from 32.11 per cent to 48.41 per cent.

For STAR Plus, the relative share of the channel was 37.7 in week 3 for HSM and this has increased to 60 per cent in the KBC week. In the three metros, the jump is from 33.7 per cent to 62.7 per cent. Closest competitor Zee TV has taken a beating here with 'Kasamh Se' taking a significant hit.

The one-million plus markets have delivered very well for STAR – some of the markets seeing a 250 per cent jump. The subsequent changes in primetime with 'Karam Apna Apna' moving to an earlier slot has seen a dip in the show's performance but the slot performance has improved for STAR Plus.

While these are the positive points, it should also be noted that KBC 2 had opened to a TRP of 19.75, which dropped to 15.07 on day two and to 10.33 on day three. In the Hindi metros, the numbers are 18.52, 14.92 and 10.27. In comparison, the first ever KBC, in 2000, opened to a TRP of 10.59 in the Hindi metros.

What STAR says

Sameer Nair, STAR Entertainment's CEO, views these as very encouraging numbers. He said, "These numbers help us in achieving objectives that we had set out for ourselves on the creative, strategic and commercial fronts. Our dominance in primetime is back – STAR Plus has recorded an increase in primetime and competition has seen a beating."

"More importantly, however, the show itself is looking good and even better in subsequent episodes as the audience is warming up to Shah Rukh Khan in a host's role. We believe that from here, the show is set to grow further," said Nair.

When asked on the comparison to KBC 2 and the fact that the absolute numbers in KBC-SRK appeared lower than that of KBC 2, Nair said, "I know the comparison is inevitable, but it really is unfortunate, much like the comparison between the two hosts. It also isn't right to compare these numbers for various reasons – the measurement system has changed now with an expansion in the TAM panel. The market dynamics are different with CAS in some very important markets."

"However, if you still have to compare trends between KBC 2 and KBC-SRK, in the opening week of KBC-2, the first episode delivered 19.75 and the third episode was 10 plus – that is really the audience going to half and one situation that we wanted to avoid. It is better to get a solid opening like we have in KBC-SRK, which didn't see a dramatic fall in the week – Thursday episode was 9 plus, and then build on it."

What about the Wednesday episode throwing a 7 plus? "There is no rocket science there – cricket was happening and it was a good match! That much of a dent was factored."

On the whole, and expectedly so, STAR is happy with the numbers so far.

What media experts say

Where Nair believes that the subsequent episodes of KBC will grow, media experts largely think otherwise. Nonetheless, they do state that the opening numbers are in line with expectations.

Some of the points to be taken into consideration here are – KBC-SRK has come on one of STAR's most toughest slots, because of a good show from Zee TV, the 9.00-10.00 pm weekday slot unlike KBC-2 that was on a weekend slot.

TAM Media Research has increased its panels in 2007 and January onwards, across genre and show, the numbers have decreased. The increase in panel also comes with other changes like 1 TRP in the Hindi speaking market translating to 5.6 lakh viewers and now the same TRP translating to 8.9 lakh viewers.

Punitha Arumugam, CEO, Madison Media, said, "The numbers from earlier seasons cannot be compared because measurement system has changed and so have market dynamics with CAS in the picture."

With SRK roped in, KBC, now though in its third season, was treated as a brand new show by STAR. Some interesting marketing efforts were seen with SRK in a music video revolving around KBC, on-air campaigns and safe number of outdoor presence. It can be argued that nothing extraordinary or innovative was seen in the marketing of the show.

Speaking on numbers now, Manish Porwal, MD, Starcom (West and South), said, "On an average, these numbers are in line with expectations. The opening number was not a massive one as that of the earlier season and the good side to that is that the fall in the week was not as steep as was seen last season. However, it also means that not many must have sampled the show."

Porwal raised the point that STAR marketing didn't have the content. He said, "The show's promotions may have been seen everywhere, but I think more could have been done about things like 'Freeze' or what can be expected from SRK."

Carat's Manoj Malkani feels that these are good numbers. He said, "The opening is fine, but I think STAR has to do something to keep the buzz on." Both Malkani and Porwal believe that unless there are specials or Santa Claus episodes injected, KBC would see a further fall in numbers.

Ajit Varghese, MD, Maxus India, also sees the numbers going down. He said, "As of right now, the ratings are not bad. However, we would know better if the show has worked or not based on at least another week's numbers."

As for, whether the show has helped STAR, he said, "The channel has to evaluate based on the investment it made whether the show has worked. Last year, we saw Airtel themselves marketing the programme, but that is not the case this time. STAR's market share has also dropped, so there are many factors that would lead one to expect such numbers. Another week and we know how good the content of the show is."

Experts like Sai Nagesh from Insight profess that the media game itself is not about ratings anymore. He said, "The war for TRP and GRP is over – emotional quotient connecting with the audience is more important than anything else today."

He further said, "I believe that the Amitabh Bachchan generation was yesterday's decision makers – they become too old to be of importance to any marketer, the whereas Shah Rukh Khan generation is today's decision makers."

With SRK, the audience connect with the anchor is better and hence, the content brings relevance. The KBC content format has gone through a change with things like 'I want to hug you SRK', when you want to quit. It is no longer about keeping hands in pockets and asking questions, it is about bringing the hands out and hugging.

The first week's numbers sure have attracted a wide range of industry response. The 'watch' on KBC is even sharper now and there is still time before the media can 'freeze' on whether KBC delivered for STAR or not.


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