COLORS, India’s leading Hindi General Entertainment Channel, known to be an industry pioneer in presenting path-breaking content, is set to launch its first-ever visual-based quiz show, BYJU’S present, The Big Picture- Ek Anokha Quiz Show. After entertaining his fans and admirers across the world and winning many accolades for his remarkable performances, Bollywood superstar and youth icon Ranveer Singh gear up to make his television debut as the host of the show. The Big Picture premieres on October 16, 2021, at 8 pm and air every Saturday – Sunday on COLORS and stream on Voot and Jio TV.
A format based on the evolved language of the new age India, a show that beautifully captures the country’s biggest dreams, a golden opportunity to win crores, and a superstar host who is known to rule million hearts. It cannot get any bigger than this!
Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Head of Hindi Mass Entertainment and KidsTV Network, Viacom18 speaks to us on the format of the show, why Ranveer, and the innovative marketing campaign for the show…
The idea to get ‘The Big Picture’?
Before I answer that directly, I’ll take a few steps back, to give you perspective and context to where I am going. At COLORS, we strive very hard to make sure we entertain our viewers, despite the hardships we have all gone through. After the pandemic, we were the first to come back with original content and we haven’t looked back since. Now, from a COLORS perspective, our DNA and what we really stand for is quality, variety, and entertainment to our viewers. We believe that our variety offering is what gives wholesome entertainment across the demographics of our viewers. There is something in the variety we offer in fiction and also in non-fiction. We have drama, family, romance, suspense, fantasy on the weekdays, and then of course, we have reality shows across action, adventure, talent, voyeurism over the weekend. We have a very wholesome offering on the weekday and weekend where we tell very compelling stories with very endearing characters and then we have ten-fold items and properties on the weekend which offer different kinds of reality content for different viewers. That’s been our strong point and we have continued to offer this and straight through to this DNA of COLORS.
Over the last 18 months, we have noticed and have been talking to our viewers more than ever. And it has become easier because I can be sitting on my laptop and talking to housewives in Ahmedabad, Lucknow, and Surat. We have had 2.5 hours of FGD’s with them on Zoom. We have been keeping a pulse on what is happening with the audiences. Over a period of time, all of us have been consuming content, stories, news, and entertainment, all in terms of audio/visual; it has become an integral part of how we consume and communicate. Having said that and here is where the marriage happens. We said that if audio/ visual is such an integral part of our audiences’ lives, here is a format and a wide space that we identified for COLORS. We haven’t entertained our viewers in this space before and if we can marry the DNA of the format which is really not just knowledge but visual memory and technology, then you have this whole marriage of this current trend of what the viewer wants and what this format has to offer.
In my mind, this format is really new-age contemporary, a format that is talking to the evolved audience of the audio/ visual medium today. Having said that, true to its style, COLORS has pioneered and experimented by bringing new content. If you look back, there hasn’t really been any new format launch in a very long time. What has been happening is the innovation of new seasons of the same show. After a very long time, COLORS in its original news cycle has got a new format. Now, what we did with this format is it’s got into our white space, got married into the consumer trend as well. But more importantly, we also made it very relatable and adaptable to India. I think we got it in the first shot, by having a host who is so versatile and universal in nature because his fandom has absolutely no boundaries. I mean his fans have no demographics – 0 to any age you can imagine – male/ female, it doesn’t matter. He is a versatile actor, a super star, a youth icon, and the kind of energy he brings to the show is unbelievable. So here you are, with a format that is evolving and married to the consumer trends, you’ve added a layer of Ranveer Singh and Bollywood. And mind you, I’m a huge movie buff; I used to watch a movie, every week in a theatre.
As a viewer I have been deprived. I don’t know what Ranveer Singh has done in the last 18 months. Imagine, now after all these months, he’s arriving into my drawing room via my television, on his debut show. There is this whole other layer of excitement to the format they have created, and the third thing, why we decided to hit upon this white space and genre. In the pandemic, we realized that TV has become the primary strain of entertainment for every household and families are coming together to watch. This particular show is so universal in nature and will actually appeal to every single family member. An international format and with our visual-based format with Ranveer and a show that appeals to the family is a show what we are bringing to the table. To contextualize what I was saying is that our variety entertainment conversation continues we pioneer and experiment with new content and keeping in mind what our audiences want is why we landed here.
Big Picture is at 8:00 pm over the weekend. And so it is just a walk-through from Big Picture to Bigg Boss?
Absolutely, 8:00-9:30 pm is ‘The Big Picture’ and 9:30- 11:00 pm is ‘Bigg Boss’. So that it is a whole strategy we wanted to bring for ourselves. We realized, and in fact, even if you look at the previous quarter, we had ‘Dance Deewane’ and we had ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi’. ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi’, of course, has become the number one show in 2021, and we are actually landing these two big properties during the festive season on this very fertile plot. By the way, this whole mix of weekend and weekday has played off beautifully for us, because we are number two on the weekday and number one on the weekend already. Now we are building on that, two big properties on the festive. To me this will be a win-win to all the stakeholders.
Of course, I’ve talked about the viewers, they are excited to see a new format, to see Ranveer’s debut and it works for partners and advertisers also. One is to put your regular inventory and run a spot. But it is very different thing to be integrated and to engage with your customer in a way that is so clutter-breaking, especially, when they are festive binging. Suddenly, your brand has top-of-the-mind recall and suddenly you have entered the consideration set of the buyer and that is very very important. These two shows give brands that opportunity and us as the third stakeholder; are going to be able to do two things. Firstly, optimize the monetization, because I believe there are brands out there, catering to the consumer demand and upping the TV spends, and if we have two marquee properties, we are able to mop up a larger wallet share. We already have a large number of sponsors on air and we haven’t even started the launch of The Big Picture and just about begun Bigg Boss and two more weeks for The Big Picture. We are therefore able to optimize our monetization, and lastly, and history has told this to us last year, that when we had Bigg Boss on air during the festive quarter last year, we actually combated IPL beautifully.
The World Cup coming. What’s your thought on that now?
I have absolutely no worries about cricket. I know we are delivering two big marquee properties. After Madhuri, Rohit, Salman it is Ranveer. I have no doubt in my mind, like the last festive we will conquer this festive too. This is a win-win strategy for all stakeholders from viewers, to advertisers and thirdly, for COLORS business as a whole from a viewership and monetization perspective.
Why do you want to go with celebrities? Any study or research done?
I would imagine that you know, any celebrity, and I’m not saying it needs to be a Bollywood star. But today, Indians have a lot of role models in our lives, right from our parents, sportspeople and Bollywood Star and celebrities are also role models. The beauty about Bollywood is, at one point in time the only way to see these Bollywood actors is to actually go and watch their movies. But the whole, a delight to see when Madhuri is not doing as many movies and that she is such as beautiful, talented superstar and she is in my living room, entertaining me, every weekend, with a wonderful dance. It is a very different delight as a viewer that I am able to engage, entertain and watch Madhuri and she is so evergreen. Similarly, Rohit Shetty is in a very different avatar when he does his movies, from Simbaa to Singham. Isn’t it a delight to see him when he is in Cape Town, whipping those guys? Nurturing them, protecting them, and having fun with them and it is such a personal touch that Rohit has put on that show. You would love to have a role model like that because you are not going to watch him in a movie like that, which is up close and personal. Therefore, launching a successful reality show, it helps to have a personality who you really want to watch and know. So, in today’s environment, it works even more when theatres are not available to us.
With Ranveer as the host are you expecting younger people to come into the show?
I think the format and the way we have painted this canvas for the show, is that every element of the show will add a different demographic. When it’s the knowledge you have a certain set, when you talk about visual memory and technology it’s a certain set. When you’re talking about a superstar and a youth icon, you’re talking about a certain set. When the contestants come from the length and breadth of the country, you are adding a whole set of viewers. We have painted this canvas for the show to be very democratic and very universal. Every part of the show will become a wholesome offering across the board, if you ask me and not to forget to the digital interactivity we have and that will be a whole other audience we will pull in. For example, as an organization, we believe we are in an AND market and as compelling storytellers, we want to make sure our stories are available irrespective of the screen or pipe the viewers want to watch us or get us on. Therefore, this whole piece of what VOOT has to offer; here also if you want to be part of the show, you have to register on VOOT. The lifeline is another innovative piece in the format.
Let me explain, this is 26 episodes, a total of 13 weeks. Every episode will have 1-2 contestants, depending on the playtime. 12 questions, each question will have a money tree which we will share with you. You have 60 seconds to commit and hit the buzzer and there are two lifelines. The ‘India Waale’ lifeline and the ‘Ghar Waale’ lifeline. Now, in the India Wale lifeline, here’s the innovation. If you choose that lifeline, if viewers want to be the helpline, the viewers have to go and register on VOOT. The people, who give the correct answers, will become part of the show. So for example, if Nina is playing the quiz with Ranveer and Nina takesKalpana’s help, because she is part of the lifeline, Nina knows that Kalpana surely will know the right answer. As Nina has taken the help of Kalpana to get the right answer, Nina will share her prize money with Kalpana. So here is the chance for viewers to win through the helpline. So if I’m getting INR 100 as the prize, I have to give INR 25 to the person who is the lifeline.
Everyone who is part of the game makes some money or the other.
If you are part of the India Waale lifeline yes. Of course, the other part will be interactivity and how Ranveer will play along on VOOT. He will ask questions and you will have to go and answer them on VOOT. On the weekdays and on the weekends you will have a lot of play along on VOOT. So that’s a whole other set of viewers you have added to the show. This is how the show will appeal to different sets of audiences.
Nina tells me what more in the pipeline, two huge shows now, which make you as the marquee channel now. And what more are we expecting from you, this year end? Or are you coming up with something new next year.
There is no really stopping us, to be honest, despite everything we have done well and we’ve seen good recovery. To be honest, even last year, we did well with Bigg Boss, despite all of it and we knew last year wasn’t the best year, at least from a topline perspective. But as a channel, we’re not shying away from quality and variety entertainment to at least make sure we entertain our viewers. It’s no different, its relatable and endearing content.
Now that we have hit upon this super strategy of two shows on the weekend, I can assure you we can use this fertile spot to launch more, of which some will be old and some will be new. That again is a different strategy, where the old season brings back the loyal viewers to see what for example, Rohit will do or what Salman will do and the new ones are the new eyeballs that will come to the change, which will then cross-pollinate and then bring back to your weekday and weekend. This is why we will continue with two properties on the weekend and once these two get over, you will see formats being launched.
I have one question, now thanks to the pandemic, people are not venturing out. Will the weekend viewership, going to be strong or will it fluctuate?
To my mind, if you compare what has happened pre-covid and to the current times, I think GEC is pretty much back to where it was during the pre-covid era. The viewership has civilized in whichever form you look at it. Whether it’s prime time or not prime time – viewership is fairly consistent now. We see that all of us have civilized into a particular group and I don’t see the weekend having any other fluctuations anymore. Particularly for us, because we have these two marquee shows. I am sure people want to see Bigg Boss with its very very innovative jungle theme and of course, the debut of Ranveer on TV. People are excited to see what he will do on TV. They have seen all their favorite superstars, for them Ranveer for the first time. The weekend viewership is going nowhere it has stabilized now; we’re all settled into our lives. Television is always going to be the primary medium of entertainment, even with an OTT market; we will continue to cater to these audiences. I have no doubt in my mind as a channel we will continue to do this weekday/ weekend variety offering that we have been doing. Actually, it sets us apart and we’re the only ones who can boast of this unique position and it is a very balanced approach.
With OTT on the rise do you think GEC needs to now come out with some out-of-the-box programming?
There is a fine line on that, my answer will be yes and no. At the end of the day, you are still a mass entertainment brand don’t forget, you are as a vehicle, a general entertainment channel which is very very mass and goes from metros to Tier 1 to Tier 2 and in fact even in the rural and that is not going away, in a hurry.
But what I must say is and like we are doing, you have the pulse of your viewer, and you have to evolve along with the evolving consumer trends. If you’re still telling stories of a day and age, where the consumer has evolved and is no longer interested, then you are not keeping up with the times. The beauty of this content is that it is a story and to me it is a screen or pipe agnostic. You can watch it wherever you want, depends on what is device you really have. If your family is watching, it is TV, and if an individual watching it is far more on OTT. But it is a very fine line.
If you ask me you have to evolve with consumer trends and have the kind of stories you’re going to tell. You are seeing it in the movie business as well and it is the same here. If you’re saying, can we go from A to Z because OTT is here then, definitely not, it won’t happen. It’s a fine line and you will have to tread on it very carefully. Right now,our job is the primary family screen entertainer of the household and caters to it and slowly and steadily you can always have shows that are catering to both.
I remember there was a show called Silsila. After it stopped on COLORS, it went onto VOOT and continued and did very very well. There are many shows like that. Ishq Mein Marjawa. There are those shows that cross the boundaries, but will every show, can become like that? Not necessarily.
Marketing Plans for the show
One last thought to leave you with. We are coming out with a new format and a new show after a very long time. We are making sure we are making the maximum impact and visibility for the show. We have devised a 360-degree multiscreen, multicity, high investment campaign spreading across the length and breadth of the country to build visibility and awareness of the show. Various marketing and digital mediums have been tapped innovatively to do the same. A high-frequency promo campaign will run across the network and non-network channels, Local Cable channels, and major DTH service operators. High impactful ads are being planned in key HSM publications along with an extensive Out-of-Home campaign on Billboards, Bus Shelter, Radio Cabs, Railway and metro stations, auto rickshaw’s and tempos, we are also doing bhopu activities in Jharkhand, amongst other places. On the digital front, innovative campaigns like The Big Picture Ki Paathshala and #TaqdeerKiTareekh will be carried out on the OTT platforms, social media, Voot, and Jio TV. In the launch week, the audience will also get a personalized invite to watch the show from Ranveer Singh using AI technology. As a part of the influencer outreach, COLORS has roped in notable social media personalities and artists to bring alive the concept of The Big Picture by posing against popular monuments and iconic locations across various cities. With this extensive and innovative campaign, the channel aims to optimize impact and reach.
There is one innovation as far as our social media strength, which COLORS by the way on its own, including YouTube, Facebook, etc.; we’re over 110 million by the way. We have a huge fan community there as well and the channel has the highest reach with 121 million. There will be one innovation, in the launch week, the COLORS fans will experience, Ranveer Singh personally inviting them to watch the show! He will say, Hi Kalpana, join me on 16th to watch The Big Picture! It’s a hyper-personalized video that each of the fans will get.