KBC returns after 3 year hiatus; “ad inventory sold out,” says Sony’s Rohit Gupta

The show will go on air on the 28th of this month.

‘Devyion aur Sajjano’, in Big B’s baritone, is set to return to the television screen once again after a gap of three years. Media conglomerate, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) has started shooting Kaun Banega Crorepati and the show will go on air on the network’s flagship Hindi general entertainment channel – Sony – from August 28, 2017. This edition of the show will have 30-35 episodes and will air Monday to Friday from 9:00 PM to 10:30 PM.

Sponsors and Revenue galore

SPNI has roped in as many as nine sponsors for the Indian version of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ and has already “sold out” its inventory. The time gap has worked in favour of the broadcasters feels Rohit Gupta, president, network sales and international business, Sony Pictures Networks. “This is a family show, and has earned immense trust over the years. We are very happy with the response we got from the advertisers,” he says.

From L-R - Danish Khan,  NP Singh,  Amitabh Bachchan, Siddhartha Basu and Ashish Golwalkar at the press conference of Kaun Banega Crorepati 9 in MumbaiFrom L-R – Danish Khan, NP Singh, Amitabh Bachchan, Siddhartha Basu and Ashish Golwalkar at the press conference of Kaun Banega Crorepati 9 in Mumbai
Click here to enlarge

‘Jio’ has associated with the show as title sponsor, Ching’s and Vivo have partnered as powered by sponsors while Datsun joined as driven by sponsor. Other sponsors include Aakash Institute, Big Bazaar, Raymond, Axis Bank and Quick Heal. The broadcaster has hiked the ad rates by 15 per cent if compared to the 2014 edition and are charging Rs 3,50,000 for a 10-second slot during the show. The 90 minutes show will have 50-60 mins of content and the remaining time will be used for monetisation.

This year, the Big Synergy produced show has added many new aspects to make it relevant to the changing world and give brands an opportunity to integrate and garner eyeballs during the show. The show will have a “Selfie Moment” giving Vivo a chance to leverage special attention; Datsun will award a redi-GO car to one lucky winner of “Ghar Baithe Jackpot Jeeto Contest” every episode.

What’s new?

This year the broadcaster has introduced a new contest for the viewers sitting at home. Titled “Play Along”, the contest will run parallel to the show and viewers will be able to answer each question that the host asks to the contestant sitting on the hot seat. One needs to have Jio chat installed in his/her phone to receive a popup opportunity to participate. Interestingly, one cannot see the question on Jio Chat as that will be available only on TV.

Amitabh Bachchan at the press conference of Kaun Banega Crorepati 9Amitabh Bachchan at the press conference
of Kaun Banega Crorepati 9

“In today’s world of constant partial attention, this will help us keep viewers totally intrigued to the show,” opines Danish Khan, EVP and business head, Sony, and the move definitely gives title sponsor Jio a great mileage.

The show has introduced a new lifeline, “Jodidaar”, wherein the participant can bring along a partner to join him/her on the coveted hot seat. Catering to the changing circumstances, the phone-a-friend lifeline has been replaced by video-a-friend where, as the name suggests, instead of a telephone call the contestant will make a video-call to the one he or she wants to seek help from.

A jackpot question has also been introduced where one will get an additional question after he/she has successfully answered 15 questions and reached the one crore mark. All the remaining lifelines will be terminated while answering the jackpot question, if answered successfully, the contestant will win seven crore rupees; a wrong answer will bring the contestant’s earnings down to Rs 3,40,000.

The brief and the challenge

Siddhartha Basu, creative producer of the show, who has been producing the series since the very first show in 2000, was told by Khan to “go back to the fundamentals and make a classic,” informs the producer.

Danish Khan, EVP and business head, Sony, at the press conference of Kaun Banega Crorepati 9Danish Khan, EVP and business head, Sony,
at the press conference of KBC 9

This time around, the makers have done away with film promotions and celebrity episodes. “We have ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’, where film promotions happen every week so we did not want to offer the same thing to our audience. Also as a part of going back to the basics, we said this show will feature only ‘Aam aadmi’. We will have special episodes every Friday after the regular episode is over and those episodes will feature real life heroes like Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur and others,” informs Khan.

The biggest challenge for the creators was to cater to the loyalists while being relevant to a changing world. “The youth who watched KBC back in 2000 are parents now. The world has changed and we devoted time to study the change. We found out that there is immense need to make it fast. Earlier, average number of questions per 90 minutes was 7-8; now we are targeting 15,” Khan adds.

History of KBC

Star Plus brought Kaun Banega Crorepati to India and the first season aired from 2000-2001. The show, since then, has changed many lives including the host’s – Amitabh Bachchan. “I have no qualms in accepting the fact that KBC has changed my life in many ways. When we first started it I had no clue how to host a show like this, I was doing TV for the first time and I requested Sameer Nair who was with Star back then, if I could go and see how they do it in the west. We travelled to London to see the operations live on the sets,” Bachchan recollects.

After a successful first season, Star released Kaun Banega Crorepati Dwitiya in 2005, the winning amount was doubled to two crore. The Rupert Murdoch owned broadcaster had to end the season abruptly due to the deteriorating health of Bachchan. The broadcaster rolled out season 3 in 2007 with a new host, Shah Rukh Khan. Season 3 could not match the ratings of its previous seasons and Star did not renew its license deal with Sony Pictures Television (SPT). In 2010 Sony Entertainment Television (Sony) bought the rights and since then has aired season five and is now gearing up for the sixth one.