Sony bets on digital for Kaun Banega Crorepati

By Kapil Ohri , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | November 22, 2010
Through a microsite and a mobile version of the game show, Sony Entertainment Television intends to keep Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) alive, after the show goes off-air.

Multi-Screen Media (MSM) aims to utilise mobile and online media to retain consumer interest and earn revenue from the quiz show brand, Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), during the current season and after the TV show goes off-air.

The media company has already unveiled the KBC microsite (, where it uploads videos and games related to the show. This week, it plans to launch a mobile phone game called KBC.

The game, developed by UTV Indiagames, will be the virtual replication of the quiz show and will let users play the quiz on the mobile platform.

Similar to the game show on TV, a total of 13 questions of progressive difficulty will be presented to the mobile phone user during the game. The user will have to select the right answers at each level to win a virtual amount of up to Rs 5 crore.

Moreover, if the user gets stuck on a question, four lifelines -- including Phone a Friend, Audience Poll, and Double Dip, just as in the TV show -- will be offered in the virtual quiz show.

Initially, the game will be distributed as a downloadable application on the mobile sites of all major mobile phone operators. Later, there are plans to offer it on mobile applications stores owned by various operators (such as Airtel and Tata Docomo) and handset manufacturers (such as Nokia Ovi).

Both the mobile game and the microsite will be retained and fresh content will be uploaded, after the show goes off-air. Speaking to afaqs!, Nitesh Kripalani, vice-president, business development and digital syndication, MSM, points out, "We have plans to keep the microsite live for the next six months and to upload more exclusive content, such as special episodes and behind-the-scenes videos, even after the show goes off-air."

"The idea behind the mobile game and KBC's online presence is to replicate the experience and build engagement with the game show or KBC brand, beyond the one-hour show on the TV channel," Danish Khan, head, marketing, Sony Entertainment Television, tells afaqs!.

He adds, "It will help us to retain the KBC brand experience for long and ultimately benefit it, by bringing the users back to the show in the next season."

Is it just a branding exercise, or does MSM aim to monetise the mobile and online presence of KBC, during and after the current season? Kripalani clarifies, "MSM also intends to monetise KBC's digital presence, apart from keeping the KBC brand alive through digital initiatives."

He elucidates that the game application will be offered for free; but mobile users will be charged (by the mobile phone service provider) for data usage, when they download and play the game. The revenue earned will be shared between MSM, UTV Indiagames and the mobile phone operator.

Apart from this, MSM has a dedicated digital sales team, which will monetise the KBC microsite through pre-roll video ads, banner advertising and sponsorships. The TV channel has already roped in advertisers such as Idea Cellular, Aditya Birla Group and Microtek for the microsite.

On how much revenue MSM aims to generate from the digital presence of KBC, Kripalani replies, "We look forward to generate 5 per cent of the total revenue that KBC generates on TV."

As per an industry estimate, MSM could have paid up to Rs 15 lakh for the development of the game to UTV Indiagames.

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