We don't take decisions based on one Thursday ratings: Danish Khan, SET

Danish Khan, EVP and Business Head at Sony Entertainment Television (SET), opens up about the controversy surrounding its new show ‘Pehredaar Piya Ki’, KBC going from strength to strength, renewing contract with comedian Kapil Sharma and the importance of ratings

e4m by Madhuwanti Saha
Updated: Aug 24, 2017 9:06 AM

2017 is turning out to be an extremely busy year for Danish Khan, EVP and Business Head at Sony Entertainment Television (SET) who has big properties across fiction and non-fiction lined up starting from the much-awaited ninth season of ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ (KBC). The Amitabh Bachchan hosted show has already got 11 sponsors including Vivo, Jio, Ching’s, Datsun, Raymond, Axis Bank, Akash Tutorial, Big Bazaar and Quick Heal with 1.98 crore registrations. In a free-wheeling chat, Khan talks about the very popular game show, his take on the petition against ‘Pehredaar Piya Ki’ and Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) ordering it to move to the 10.30 pm time slot and why he thinks viewers should give it more time before they comment on its nature. Excerpts:

How different is the scale of this season’s KBC than that of previous seasons?

Last season, we saw a registration of 68 lakh against 1.98 crore in the current season. The prize money is Rs 7 crore compared to previous season’s Rs 5 crore. The focus is on gamification to make it faster and more engaging. On an average eight questions were asked last season. Internationally they ask 10-12 questions. This year on the first episode we have 21 questions. So it’s an expensive format.

General inflation is around 15 per cent. That should be the increase this season.

Besides the TVC, how do you plan on marketing the show?

We will use all the existing traditional marketing tools. On digital there is a big push. We are focusing on the game itself and making it reach out to people whether it’s Ghair Baithe Jackpot Jeeto or Play Along. KBC is trying to bring the game closer to the viewers.

Jio subscribers can participate daily in the Ghar Baithe Jackpot Jeeto contest and stand a chance to win a Datsun redi-GO car every day. For the first time ever, Jio subscribers will have the opportunity to 'Play Along' with the on air game and match their knowledge with the contestants on the hot seat.

What are your views on BCCC ordering ‘Pehredaar Piya Ki’ to be shifted to the post 10 pm slot due to its nature? Will it affect the viewership?

We respect BCCC’s decision. It’s now at 10.30pm, a slot which is watched by a large number of people. Moreover, the show has a loyal set of audience from what we have observed in the last three weeks. I am confident that it will continue to deliver.

But the show has been termed regressive with a petition also being signed against it…

A creative process can’t be regressive. Everybody who creates something wants to send across a progressive message. Unfortunately in a soap the message comes at a different point in time.  You have to set it up. We got it in the first few weeks of the show. So whether the show is regressive or progressive people will realize once the show runs. I am sure people will understand the message of the show in matter of time.

The show is about how circumstances drive an 18-year-old girl to take full charge of property and a child.  It shows how she rises to the occasion and becomes a pehredaar (caretaker). In a way it’s breaking the stereotype. The story has just begun and I would request viewers to give it sometime.

Lately the ratings haven’t been too kind to ‘The Kapil Sharma Show.’ Still you went ahead and renewed the contract with Sharma. What made you take the decision?

Every artist and show has its share of ups and downs but you can’t be reactive to every week’s ratings. Sony as a brand has been there for the last 20 years. We don’t take decisions based on one Thursday ratings. We are extremely proud of the show and happy to extend the contract

What’s your content strategy for the next six months?

In next six months we have some very important shows lined up. In fact we have been working on shows since the last 12 months. We will launch ‘KBC’ on August 28, ‘Super Dancer’ on September 30, ‘Ek Deewana Tha’ (just before KBC ends), ‘Haasil’ and ‘Yeh Unn Dino Ki Baat Hai’ in October, ‘Porus’ in around October or November first week and ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ in November end.

‘Ek Deewana Tha’ by Prateek Sharma of ‘Beyhad’ fame, is a love story with a supernatural element to it. Haasil, produced by Siddharth P Malhotra, has big names like Zaheer Khan, Vatsal Seth and Nikita Dutta. ‘Yeh Unn Dino Ki Baat Hai’ is a love story set in the ‘90s, which has not been seen on television. 

We have been rebuilding the channel since the last two years. The development of shows took time but we are now ready to roll out some of our most ambitious ones.

Your show ‘Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi’ has gone off air. ‘Peshwa Bajirao’ followed suit. ‘Beyhadh’ is also rumoured to go off air? Please comment.

‘Beyhadh’ is a finite story which will go off air either in October end or November first week. As a channel we always choose finite stories. You will not see any show on Sony going on forever.

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