To fill up the 8.00 pm slot on Fridays, left vacant by the departure of the Sonali Bendre-hosted Kya Masti Kya Dhuum, STAR Plus, the No 1 Hindi general entertainment channel, came up with a sure-fire replacement - The Best of Kaun Banega Corepati. Launched on September 6, 2002, The Best of KBC, in the words of Sameer Nair, COO, STAR India, is meant to "whet the appetite of viewers before fresh episodes of the show come on air (in the new year)".
In fact, what is otherwise a mere regurgitation of past episodes has been cleverly altered to suit the new craze of the current generation, which is Short Messaging Service or SMS. Viewers can cash in on the goings-on, by SMSing their replies to questions posed by the Big B to participants on the show. Ten viewers with the maximum number of correct answers win Rs 1 lakh each in prize money.
Moreover, the channel has plans to carry forward this interactive format into the New Year, when fresh episodes of the game show will be eventually introduced. Ten viewers will then be able to partake 10 per cent of the earnings on air, implying a doubling of the prize money, one half going to the participant and the other half to the 10 viewers.
Now, if that sounds like a fantastic plan, much depends on how the audience reacts to the current format. And a closer look at the TVR figures, since the launch of the show, reveals a story much different from the days of KBC.
Despite starting off on a strong wicket during the opening week (the first episode registered a TVR of 7.15 among C&S audiences in the 4-plus age group in Hindi-speaking markets), TVR figures for subsequent episodes have shown a steady decline, going below the 5 point mark in the second episode itself. That episode, telecast on September 13, 2002, registered a TVR score of 4.42, while the third episode, telecast on September 20, 2002, was even lower with a figure of 3.62. (Source: TAM Media Research)
With a clear lethargy creeping in among viewers, will 'The Best of Kaun Banega Crorepati' actually whet their appetite?
Points out an observer close to the channel, "Besides having to fill up the 8.00 pm slot, the challenge for the programming and marketing team at STAR was to create a build-up for the fresh episodes. Every television production is an expensive affair, especially when you consider gameshows such as KBC. Obviously, STAR wouldn't want to go wrong, when the new episodes come on air. They are attempting to minimise the risk and anticipate audience response to the new format."
Agrees a senior media planner based in Mumbai, "Their strategy from a programming point of view seems to be sound because they are anyway sitting on inventory that can be tweaked to create some excitement rather than having to work towards a new production altogether."
Interestingly, even as analysts debate about the feasibility of KBC, the channel can well heave a sigh of relief, since the cumulative reach for the first four episodes of the show in C&S households (age: 4-plus) in the Hindi-speaking markets is a whopping 41 per cent. Compare this to the cumulative reach of Sony's new gameshow Bachke Rehnaa Zara Sambhalna (launched on Monday, September 9, 2002, at 8.00 pm), which recorded cumulative reach of 10 per cent for the first three episodes. Thus, it is eminently clear, which product the audience is sampling. (Source: TAM Media Research)
However, in the world of roving eyeballs and fluctuating TVR figures, where the last word is the viewer, a final word from a 45-old housewife based in Mumbai, may put the entire issue in perspective. "KBC is my all-time favourite programme. It was enjoyable as well as enriching, as it improved my general-knowledge. But the current show takes me through those same episodes, which is pretty boring. I find nothing interesting or challenging in it." © 2002 agencyfaqs!