The Weakest Link was BBC Worldwide's most successful export last year. Now licensed to more than 75 countries, with a major new deal with Fuji Television in Japan, the award-winning format is expected to generate more than £50 million over the next four to five years.
Out here, the desi version, Kamzor Kadii Kaun (KKK) has not created any major waves. Neither has it gone down with a whimper. The show fluctuates, with swings wilder than a crazy pendulum.
Consider this. According to TAM figures, for cable and satellite audiences in the four-years-plus age group, KKK on March 19 had a TVR rating of 2.72. It stood at 62 among the Top 100 shows on C&S television for the week March 17 to March 23 (2002). Just two weeks prior to that (March 3 to March 9), KKK was at No 14 with a TVR rating of 6.22 for the same target group. And a week before that (February 24 to March 2), the show had a TVR of 3.2, and was ranked 48.
While the show is yet to find its rightful position in the pecking order, it certainly made its debut on the wrong foot. In the shadow of Kaun Banega Crorepati. No matter how well the show did, it got inevitably compared to KBC - at least during its early days. Then there was the fact that Indian audiences did not take too kindly to the original version, with a very on-our-face hostess telling off participants who failed to make a mark. This resulted in the toning down of the show to a certain extent. Even then, the show fluctuated, with STAR Plus trying to keep the tempo alive with special innovations.
Result? The innovative shows did well, but the ordinary shows floundered. For example, on March 5, KKK reached a TVR of 11.89, courtesy its special 'vamp' show. This was the episode that starred Indian television's most recognisable 'other' women - like Jaya Bhattacharya, Anju Mahendru, Deepshikha, Kunika, Rekha and Mandira Bedi - and was christened the Meethi Churi special. In that week, KKK stood at 17 among the Top 20 C&S shows, for an audience comprising women in the 15-44 years age band in Sec ABC homes in Hindi-speaking markets. The week before, for the same audience group, the show did not make it to the Top 20.
A city-wise break up of the viewership patterns reveals some interesting details. The show is really popular in Delhi, a city where its TVR figures have not gone below 7. The highest it reached was 13.81 on Tuesday, March 5, 2002. Interestingly, true to the pattern of fluctuation, in the week before, Tuesday, February 26, the show had touched the lowest TVR in Delhi - 7.6.
In Mumbai too, the show touched its highest TVR on March 5, 2002, at 8.89. The next highest TVR for the show was 8.52 on the week it opened - that is, Christmas Day, 2001. From then, until March 5, the TVR has more or less declined, reaching its lowest on February 26, when it touched 2.04. In Kolkata, the show had opened with a TVR of 5.1 and has not gone below 5. It peaked in the city on February 5, when it touched a TVR of 5.88.
The show has been really popular in Kanpur. Opening with a TVR of 12.02, the show reached its highest on March 12, 2002, when it touched a TVR of 13.16. The lowest TVR that the show has reached in the city is 7.1 on Tuesday, January 22, 2002.
So why has the show been fluctuating so much? One reason, according to media planners, is that the show has now become dependent on specials. "While innovations are good, too many of them can damage a show" is how one senior media planner puts it. But STAR Plus seems to be quite happy with the programme's performance. Says Tarun Katial, vice-president (programming), STAR Plus, "KKK is doing extremely well. The show opened with a TRP of 6.27 (average), and has now jumped to a high of 7.2 (average)."
What is certain is that the show is not a mass phenomenon like KBC. In many ways, that is because of the nature of the show. "It is more of a niche show, than a mass-based one, because it evokes strong dislikes and likes. So it appeals to certain specific audience segments," points out a senior media planner.
Yet, for a show that many thought would be completely overshadowed by the looming legacy of KBC, KKK is still fighting on. Â© 2002 agencyfaqs!