Yohan P Chawla
One of India’s few truly iconic shows, Kaun Banega Crorepati 10, is set to be even more engrossing and interactive with several content and presentation upgrades, and a stronger digital integration. It is also the first co-production of SPNI’s new Content Division, Studio NXT.
At the jam-packed KBC set on a Film City floor in Mumbai,members of the press sat eagerly, waiting for a glimpse of our very own Bollywood superstar and host of Kaun Banega Crorepati, Mr Amitabh Bachchan. To watch, listen to and interact with Mr Bachchan was certainly an experiencea lot of us would cherish for long. And the experience highlighted what, apart From its format, makes KBC one of the very few iconic shows on Indian Television – the manner in which Amitabh Bhachchan as the host, takes KBC to entirely another level with his heartwarming and utterly disarming simplicity.
The media event marked the launch of the 10th season of KBC on Sony Entertainment Television, and a second announcement about the launch of Sony Pictures Network India’s new content division Studio NXT, with which KBC broadcaster SPNI assumes the new role of co-producer of KBC with BIG Synergy. KBC is SPNI StudioNXT’s first production. Danish Khan,EVP and Business Head of Sony Entertainment Television, said, “We have launched our own content production unit, StudioNXT, with the sole objective to create high quality scripted and non-scripted formats for the Indian market. And the best way for us to start our journey in content production is to start as a co-producer with BIG Synergy in producing KBC 10.” They couldn’t have picked a strategically bigger and better vehicle than KBC 10 to both, roll out StudioNXT’s production business and to announce it launch to the industry.
And now, to get back to KBC 10. The show has been slotted in theprime-est of weeknight Hindi GEC slots, 9 PM. The show, which will be stripped across Mondays to Fridays, begins From the 3rd of September, 2018.
KBC 10’s Content and Presentation upgrades:
Tougher questions:Perhaps the best part of the show’s evolution in today’s digital day of information overload – the makers have upped the difficulty level of the questions this season, which inturn has led to the selection of some really strong contestants at the auditions stage… grain From the chaff, for hopefully bristling knowledge jousts From the hot seat with the greatest quizmaster on Indian GECs. What is not surprising or coincidental? As we know, the man behind the questions and their curating is perhaps the best known direct, no-nonsense quizmaster of Indian television, Siddharth Basu himself.
Siddhartha Basu, Consultant Big Synergy, who has been a key architect of the show throughout its 18-year journey in India, said, “The contestant selection was developed in such a way that we asked more From the contestant and upped the level of difficulty as well.”
The show now has contestants From a wider spectrum of life. Basu said, “We have contestants From various walks of life — somebody who’s doing a PHD in physical education, a retired general manager of the Reserve Bank of India, a squadron leader From the Air Force, and at the same time, a ticket inspector. We have got this vast variety of people who come and play,” Basu said.
“KBC,” said Basu, “really is their story unfolding along with the knowledge game, which is what this show has always been about. This is the show that touches lives, and that is what I think touches the hearts and minds of viewers, and that is what we have taken one step further along with the team this season.”
KBC Karamveer: Every Friday a very special Karamveer,whose commendable actions and good deeds have brought about a positive change in society,will be invited to participate in the show. The makers hope this will serve as an inspiration for many. With this, they are continuing in the spirit of the previous season’s Nayi Chaah Nayi RaahFriday specials; this time round, they are calling it Karamveer. And no, Karamveer on Fridays will not have any film integrations.
Augmented Reality:Sony is betting big on Augmented Reality in the new season of KBC, with a lot of AR on the sets, which will enhance the viewer engagement and the production values of the show. The map of India showing the cities, towns villages the competitors hail From, will be projected on the set floor, the dead-serious Kaanta-behn (timer clock), which used to be a flat, unidimensional element on a corner of the screen, will now project itself forward, larger than ever and in front of the host, literally in your face – whether you’re a lucky studio audience member or watching the show From home.
Sharing information about another novelty, Basu said, “(From) this year… we have video calls with an expert, and we have audio-visual clues as well.”
“Every year we try to bring something new to KBC,” Basu said, speaking about the new features added to KBC 10. “This year, we have Augmented Reality which is going to play a crucial role. With the addition of the Friday episode being called KBC Karamveer, we keep adding value to KBC, having said that the core of the show remains the same — inspirational stories and our favorite host, Amitabh Bhachchan, his eloquent way of hosting the show and the knowledge which we identify as the driver of progress, remains the same.”
The eloquence of Amitabh Bachchan’s presentation stems From the humility and warmth with which he interacts with any audience, and it was in ample evidence in the way he walked around the large circular audience seating at the launch event, posing with sections of house packed with delighted journalists.
Greater digital integration:The in-house team at Sony has now got their super-hit viewer engagement formula on Sony LIV, which in KBC Season 9, was on MyJio and had around 36 million people playing the KBC Play Along on their mobile phones.
On integrating KBC Play Along with Sony LIV this year instead of continuing with My Jio, Danish Khan said, “All our learnings From our last year’s integration with KBC play along on MyJio have been applied to Sony LIV. For example — television is a horizontal medium; however, mobile phones are vertical, so KBC Play Along would also be vertical. This is one example of the various minute things we have learnt.”
“Sony LIV is indeed a very robust platform,” Khan said. “Last year we had 36 million people playing KBC Play Along, and this year,we are hoping to have a bigger number or atleast a similar number of players on the play along.” That seems like a conservative estimate, because those who played it last year would anyways remember and probably be a readily receptive audience this year; add to that the sheer growth of the smartphones and their supporting infrastructure… so, well promoted, the size of the audiences that flock to play KBC Play Along should be much bigger.
Smartly, during KBC 10’s original telecast, Sony LIV will be used to provide TV viewers the interactive opportunity to play along. However, if after the original telecast, Sony LIV were to stream the episodes, that would add to connected TV viewership. It actually offers a good window for advertisers what might want to target catchup TV on mobile devices.
KBC 10 Promotional plan: Sharing KBC’s promotional plans, Aman Srivastava, Head of Marketing, Sony Entertainment Television, said, “We have very well balanced media mix with outdoor hoardings across cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, markets of Gujarat, Punjab, UP and bits of Maharashtra. Basically we are present across all the key Hindi speaking markets.”
“We will go all-out on print, on the day of the launch, across all major publications and markets. Radio promotions are going to start end of this week and go into the week of the launch. With respect to Digital, we will start with Facebook Premieres. Certain pieces of content will be shared across all major digital platforms. Communication message will change a week into the launch, with show specific promos and our Friday episode KBC Karamveer”, Srivastava said.