KBC speaks Bengali to help Mahuaa strengthen position

By Anindita Sarkar , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | June 06, 2011
Mahuaa Bangla will also launch two new additional properties in the fiction genre in the 8-9 pm slot.

Taking a cue from its Bhojpuri counterpart (Mahuaa TV), Mahuaa Bangla, too, is poised to launch the Bengali version of the international reality format, 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire', on June 6.

Christened 'Ke Hobey Banglar Kotipoti', the one-hour show will be hosted by the former captain of Team India, cricketer Sourav Ganguly, and will be aired from Monday to Friday at 9 pm.

Mahuaa Bangla will also launch two new properties in the fiction genre in the 8-9 pm slot on the same day. Ek Mutho Asha will be aired at 8 pm, and Janmantar will occupy the 8.30 pm slot.

Speaking to afaqs!, Nikhil Seth, president, sales, Mahuaa Group, says, "The idea is to get back into the game in the Bengali market and to consolidate our position in this space with the biggest game show that India has ever had. We will also use it as a platform to promote our other properties, including our two new fiction shows -- Ek Mutho Asha and Janmantar."

Mahuaa Bangla currently hosts four hours of original programming.

Ke Hobey Banglar Kotipoti has roped in the biscuit brand Bisk Farm, while Euro Mobile is the title sponsor for Ke Bani Crorepati on Mahuaa TV.

Seth adds, "We already exhibit a very strong dominance in the Bhojpuri market. The Bhojpuri language has a strong presence in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. The Bhojpuri version of KBC will help us to penetrate into these markets and pose us as a viable platform for advertisers."

Various media experts believe that while the regional version of KBC will initially prove to be a strong property for the group's Bengali and Bhojpuri general entertainment channels, the success of the format will also depend on the distribution.

Sejal Shah, vice-president, West and South, IME, says, "It's a vicious circle. Mahuaa is looking at the KBC regional format to improve its distribution and awareness amongst audiences but again, the success of the show depends on how well distributed the channel is."

However, given that the respective regional formats are being hosted by cricketer Sourav Ganguly and actor Shatrughan Sinha, media experts are optimistic that audiences will react well to the format.

Ashwini Kamat, general manager, Mediacom, says, "Both Sourav Ganguly and Shatrughan Sinha are very big names in the Bengali and Bhojpuri markets, respectively. Therefore, with such strong anchors, the respective regional formats are expected to generate good eyeballs. Meanwhile, advertisers are showing interest in this format and putting in their monies, too."

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