Will Dus Ka Dum rake in the moolah for Sony?

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | May 27, 2008
Dus Ka Dum stands second to Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain, when it comes to spot selling


Entertainment Television (SET) is heavily promoting its brand new game show, Dus Ka Dum, which features Hindi film actor Salman Khan, and is scheduled to start telecast on June 6.

The big question is will the Salman Khan show set the cash registers ringing for SET? The channel has already roped in Vodafone, Samsung (phones), LG Notebooks, L'Oreal (Garnier) and P&G (Gillette) for the show.

Rohit Gupta, president, network sales, Sony, says, "With these big brands coming on board, we are sure that in the days to come, we will be able to get more prestigious clients. Our partners have full faith in the channel and the show."

Rohit Gupta
Gupta did not disclose how much the brands have invested in the show, but he said SET is talking to another big brand for advertising, and the identity of the brand would be made known in a few days.

However, the spot rates for air time sales for Dus Ka Dum paint a different picture, especially if you compare them with those of rival STAR Plus' Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain? (Paanchvi Pass), which features Hindi film actor Shah Rukh Khan as its host. Both shows are weekend shows: Paanchvi Pass airs 8-9pm Friday through Sunday, while Dus Ka Dum will air 9-10pm Fridays and Saturdays.

afaqs! spoke to a large number of media buyers to assess how much a 10 second slot on Dus Ka Dum would be costing and how much the sponsorship deals for the show were being struck for?

By and large, industry insiders pegged the cost for a 10 second spot on Dus Ka Dum at Rs 1.5-2 lakh. A similar spot on Paanchvi Pass is selling for Rs 2-3 lakh.

Media buyers say, "Brands also tie up with reality or game shows by taking up bulk deals, either by getting a sponsorship title or striking lump-sum deals for in-show placements." They expect Dus Ka Dum to rake in less money through this route as well.

An in-show placement and anchor mention during Dus Ka Dum will fetch SET around Rs 15-20 lakh from brands that opt for product specific deals. Again, when one is talking about the larger integration of the brand name during the show and in other promotional activities, SET will get only Rs 1-1.5 crore. A similar deal on Paanchvi Pass fetches STAR Plus Rs 2.5-3 crore. Some media pundits peg the figure as Rs 10-12 crore for a big brand on Paanchvi Pass and Rs 8-10 crore on Dus Ka Dum.

Why is there such a huge difference in the revenue figures for the two rival channels? The most widely touted reason is the large gap in viewership between the two general entertainment channels (GECs). Media buyers put higher premium value on a STAR Plus show than on a SET show. Media buyers say that when they negotiate deals for their client, they go purely by TRP figures, and in the TRP game, STAR Plus is way ahead of SET.

STAR Plus has always had a first mover advantage when it comes to game shows. Kaun Banega Crorepati's (KBC's) successful runs, first with Amitabh Bachchan and then with Shah Rukh Khan as the host, were always a source of comfort for the brands that were putting their money on the show. The past success and popularity of the various seasons of KBC determined the high spot rates for Paanchvi Pass. On the other hand, SET has only one success story to boast of in the reality genre, Indian Idol. Industry watchers point out that the format of Dus Ka Dum is untested and more individualised than the engaging and inclusive format of KBC and Paanchvi Pass.

How about the star power of Salman Khan helping things along for SET? After all, this is the first time that this Khan will be seen on television, and Bollywood's bad boy does hold a place in people's hearts.

Media buyers and industry people are sceptical of Khan's prowess as an anchor. Most of them say it remains to be seen whether the actor's charisma will translate into numbers in terms of revenue and viewers.

With the number of GECs hitting the air waves increasing by the day, SET has a whole lot of competition on hand with new players such as NDTV Imagine and 9X all competing for the same space. Dus Ka Dum will have to jostle for sponsors and viewers with the new season of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, the yet to be launched reality show, Ek Se Bad Kar Ek, and several other such shows.

However, all the media buyers credit SET with one thing. It has used the Indian Premier League platform to effectively advertise and promote Dus Ka Dum. So, the initial curiosity and novelty factor of the programme and Salman Khan's TV debut will work in SET's favour.

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