Bigg Boss 14 comes at a time when the whole world has been in a lockdown for the past six months. 2020 has been the most challenging year, bogged down by the lockdown, shackled in chains of monotony and boredom.
This year the show has been named aptly,’ Ab paltega scene kyunki 2020 ko milega jawab’. Living the normalcy will be an all-celeb line-up of housemates who will go through a plethora of emotions and drama in their race to the finish. In a first of its kind addition, Bigg Boss 14 introduces the luxuries of a Salon & Spa, a movie theatre, and a shopping mall for the contestants along with some thrilling and fun-filled tasks to compete against each other. There are many twists and turns this year with 3 contestants from last year are going to be back in the house. The two common factors from all these years of Bigg Boss is the legendary voice of Bigg Boss and the host, actor Salman Khan.
The show premieres on 3rd October at 9 pm only on COLORS and stream on Voot Select. MPL presents Bigg Boss, powered by Dabur Dant Rakshak Ayurvedic Paste & TRESemmé and has been produced by Endemol Shine India
Nina Elavia Jaipuria , Head, Hindi Mass Entertainment and Kids TV Network, Viacom18 talks to us about Season 14 and the various Marketing Innovations.
Season 14, what are your thoughts?
We are trying to be part of the new normal, as a brand out there. Our endeavor has been to provide uninterrupted entertainment to our viewers, I think we are very happy to bring back Bigg Boss the show, which has such a rave, maddening following in India in terms of viewership, despite and notwithstanding the current hardship. I am very happy in being a part of the Colors team and that we are able to bring back, the viewers a show that they love so much. The fact that we were also worried about whether we will be able to bring the show back or not bring it back. But we know that it is one of our staple shows and very iconic to Colors.
We were very keen to make sure that we bring the show back and not only did we bring it back, but we have done it in such a different manner that it will perhaps take the viewers outside of the misery of stress and worries that they are currently going through to try and give them some bit of escapism, some bit of what they have been deprived of and most of all deprived of our freedom. We have been confined in our homes for the past 6 months and we have been deprived of an entertainment platform whether it going to the theatres, or malls or even the park. In light of that we are happy as an Entertainment brand we are able to take it to our viewers a very iconic show, a show that we could tailor make, custom make for the current environment. We have taken great care to bring back a sense of normalcy to the viewer’s life. This show is going to be a fitting reply to 2020 that we have had so far, it has been very challenging, as we are seeing unprecedented tough times, and we want Bigg Boss to be an escape, make them forget their worries, problems and get into that frenzy and madness this show brings with it.
The world is under a pandemic, how is the Bigg Boss house going to be this year?
The first priority as an organization is to ensure the safety and health of all the crew, cast and everybody who is engaged with the show. It is at a very different level, we have a set of restrictions, and an absolute SOP, which will be stringently followed. We have also taken a lot of backup options and the Production house Endamol has created doubles, if one is affected, the other one continues, we have backup for the technical crew also, and if worse comes to worse, we will provide cameras to our contestants, and the viewer can see the show exactly from the inside out.
The first thing that I would like to talk about the show is to say that we are taking utmost care, it is a tough production, that is backed by even more tougher regulations and Sop’s. Other piece, this is a very fitting reply to the 2020 that has been really challenging and very stressful. People have lost jobs, had salary cuts, and lost dear ones. People have been challenged, it is not just the dexterity of freedom, the fact that, I cannot step out of my home, and that itself is a very mental strain, if not a physical one.
We have tried to do with this show this time is that if you have been deprived of this in your normal life, you will get to see it in the Bigg Boss House and that is what is different. That is why we are saying that we have turned the scene and aptly named the show,’Bigg Boss Paltega Scene Aur Dega 2020 ko Jawab’, and of course, the twists and turns on the shows will continue and last year we had 2 finales in one show. You will see another twist this time.
I do think that we have a lot of hope on the show, because of the fact that Bigg Boss 13 was indeed a very lucky number for us and it was such a big season for us the biggest in the history of the show. We are very confident that this season will be even better now in this new avataar, which has not been seen before. One is of course, that it is an escape mode, a little bit of positivity, a little bit of taking away the stress that you are in and lucre which is a nice, slightly more rational.
As per data-driven point that over the last couple of months, lots of the insights that are coming out shows that a lot of viewership is now very collective and family viewing. When we analysed Bigg Boss 13 we realized that the show had become a very family oriented, it had fabulous views across age and even across gender. The male – female skew on Bigg Boss is at 46 – 54, it is fabulous and a skew that works from a viewership perspective. We now believe that as a family they are coming together to watch and advertisers are looking for this gender skew as well.
When you look at it even from a slice of age, you will notice that it has consistently given over 2.2 TVR across all age groups 16+. If you look at the age groups 16-21, 22 -30, 31-40, 41-50 and 51- 60, a 2+ last year. It has become a family phenomena. And therefore, this season will be as big as the last one.
This year Bigg Boss will be launched on VOOT Select first. What is the strategy behind this?
Every entertainment and broadcast company and specially Viacom 18 is that we are storytellers. There is a time when you want to tell this story now, which is platform agnostic. I truly believe that we have to be ready for what is going to become a world where people want to watch content on whichever device and screen that they want to watch it. Now, as an entertainment provider, it is very important to ensure therefore, that we are available on cable and satellite, it is available on Freedish and it is available on OTT and on any screen and device, that my viewer wants to watch.
Therefore, we are now creating content and stories that actually can be available and at the end of the day now it is about a distribution pipe, it is about a screen it is about a device. From that perspective, we are very happy to ensure that if they want to watch Big Boss on TV, it is available on Colors, and if they want to watch it on digital the VOOT Select is what they need to subscribe to. It is also a way of, promoting our own OTT platform, which is anyway so big. When Bigg Boss happened last year on Voot, we had a huge viewership, on normal AVOD as we did not have Select then. We had 1.5 billion views and people were spending 52 minutes, average time spent per day on VOOT all of that being led by Bigg Boss. We believe that Bigg Boss is a great show that can help us to garner viewership, not just on Colors, also on the OTT platform as well. In this competitive digital media with all OTT platforms are out there, with their best foot forward. This is our best foot forward of taking Bigg Boss there first.
Another reason for it going before TV as there is also an exclusive 24 hour access into the house that you will see on VOOT Select.
With the surge in digital viewership what is the percentage of growth will this season’s contribution be to the channel?
Bigg Boss is a phenomena which is platform agnostic and it is as big on the digital platform. On VOOT last year and VOOT Select this year, it is also big on CNS, it was the biggest show and gave us 213 million viewers last year on any given episode. At the same time, it also garners itself on social media. There is so much engagement happening on the secondary’s screen that it is beyond imagination and last year for example when Bigg Boss was on; Colors had 90% SOV in social media. It used to trend daily on Twitter and at least four hashtags actually trended internationally. In fact, if you look at it from an engagement perspective, I think we had 400 plus million engagement just on the secondary screen. There is a lot going on and for me all of this packaged together is what makes Bigg Boss what it is.
It is about CNS, it is about OTT and then it is about social media, and everything that we were talking about whether it is good, bad or ugly, every engagement, every discussion every like, every dislike is what makes Bigg Boss what it is.
Research on audience insight and viewing patterns in this pandemic and the lockdown
The content team has been continuously trying to catch the pulse of the viewer. What is the viewership trend? What are the viewers thinking, what is it that they would like to see? For example, in the lockdown when life was really very tough before the unlock happened, the whole world turn to Mythology Serials as everybody was seeking out faith, everybody was seeking out some kind of thought to look forward to and have faith in the Almighty and say that Kuch tho bala hoga, and we suddenly saw a huge spike in viewership for Mythological Serials. But then as unlock started, and as things started to open up, but it was not like we are back to normal. As people started adjusting to the new normal, and you realize that there is some bit of escapism that is now required in today’s lives.
That escapism has been brought in many ways. It can happen through OTT and content, it could happen through even gaming because even that has become very big in the last six months or so. Virtual gaming on social media, a lot of people I know have gotten into podcasts, into reading and re – reading and a lot of escape has happened through cooking, gardening, upskilling doing things that you possibly never imagined that you will do.
The point is that you moved from the Mytho phase of wanting to pray and wanting to make sure that things got better and when unlock started you wanted to find an escape, wanted to find a new normal in your life. That is the reason we believe entertainment and GEC’s have come back with a big bang ever since new content has come back. That is the escape route, the voyeuristic viewer who wants to go back to what was normal life pre covid.
GEC performance post new content
We are seeing GEC coming back to what it was before the lockdown, before COVID it was at about a 52% genre share and it dropped to almost 39% and in the last two to three weeks it has actually come back to 52%. GEC has come back in a big way and it will come back as people are here to find an escape route and a new normal, people are tired of sweeping, swabbing and want to be entertained.
We have taken some of these inputs back into our content, we are trying to be positive, trying to get stickiness and trying to get selective family viewing as one of those insights where we try and mold our shows from a family perspective, where families can sit together and watch. A lot of that has gone into trying to create the content that is out there, in primetime and fiction, as well as in Big Boss, where you are seeing a new avataar of it, where we want people to forget about their worries and challenges and think about that their normal lives as they used to be.
Innovations in the Bigg Boss house
The whole world has become a Bigg Boss house for the past six months, now you are going to see a set of people who have been in a lockdown go into another lockdown, and that will be a whole new scenario. The temperament that they are coming with today in to the show is far different than they would have come when life was normal. Therefore, you don’t know what the show is now going to pan out to be, how it is going to be and what is the kind of frenzy stuff is going to work and what will happen. Of course, on our end, we are also not stopping short on making sure that we add those little tadka’s and those little twists and turns, and a lot of fun and masti. We are also bringing back the three contestants from the last season, an added twist. There is another twist, two weeks down the line as well. There is a lot happening on the show, which is always very different.
This season it is truly Alag as environmentally it is completely different and today, it is also about what is the person who is going into that house thinking which is very different from what they would have if they were leading a normal life.
All of us as marketers have had to pivot in terms of our marketing plans, from the normal stuff that was available to us in terms of OOH, Print and radio, not the best of places that that are available to us today. Again, the fact that TV has seen a huge surge in viewership and there is no denying that even after unlock has started TV continues to be at a much higher levels as pre Covid. Outside of Viacom 18 as a Network, we are ensuring that we will be out there in the News genre, which is on a big trajectory growth right now on Network18 as well as the others. A lot on the music genre and we are seeing the Movie genre has got a big flip in the last six months.
Some of these genres, we will really tap within the network and outside of the network. And fortunately for us, for the last couple of weeks, ever since the original content has come, we are actually leading in primetime. If you look at the last four to six weeks average, our primetime shows are really out there with a whole lot of viewership. In fact, we actually have in the four of the top 10 shows in the category that belong to Colors. Whether that is ‘Choti Sardarni, ‘Gatu’, ‘Barrister Babu’ and ‘Naagin’. We are slot leaders in 3 slots, 7pm, 7.30pm and 8pm and No 2 in two slots 8.30pm and 9pm.
We have a very fertile channel today and a fertile Prime time which is getting a whole lot of viewers and viewership. And that will be the first platform where we will tell our viewers about Bigg Boss coming.
One is television as a medium. But the other part of the marketing strategy has been to pivot our plan and to ensure that we go to mediums which have in the last couple of months, got a lot of traction. We have a lot of innovations planned, to drive, reach, awareness, and engagement across social media. We have our own fan base, which is huge. But outside of our fan base and our own digital assets, we are going to go out onto Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. A lot of innovations have been planned this year, Facebook is coming out with Facebook Shorts and we are the first ones who are going to use that format. There will be a wall of Memes, and for the first time a Voice feed on Twitter with the Bigg Boss’s Voice.
We will also do a ‘Ghar Dekho’ for the first time on digital, a 360 Scroll on our microsite. A lot of innovations on the social media to drive engagement, awareness, and of course, sampling for Bigg Boss. We have pivoted our marketing plan to TV and digital, primarily.