Viacom18’s, general entertainment channel, Colors announced the launch of the 13th edition of its marquee show ‘Bigg Boss’. Last year, host Salman Khan made his entrance into the press conference sailing a jet-ski somewhere in the middle of the sea in Goa. This year, the Bollywood superstar made his entry boarding a Mumbai Metro-coach. Colors announced the launch of the Endemol Shine produced Hindi adaptation of global hit, Big Brother from a metro car-shed in Mumbai.
Bigg Boss will hit the airwaves on September 29, 2019. Smartphone manufacturer, Vivo has associated with the show as presenting sponsor, Lay’s will be the special partner, while Whirlpool, BharatPe, PokerStars.in, Ching's Chinese and helo are the associate sponsors. The show will feature celebrities locked inside a house and following the commands of a voice — Bigg Boss. Over weekends, Salman Khan interacts with the inmates.
Nina Elavia Jaipuria, head, Hindi Mass Entertainment and Kids TV Network, Viacom18 believes the show will be ‘action-packed’ this year and the economic slowdown and low ad spends on the GEC won't be an obstacle.
This is the 13th edition of the show, how are you going to ensure that the audience does not get fatigued with the format?
We have decided to make the show young, vibrant, fast and pace-y. Over the past couple of years, we had a mix of commoners and celebrities. This year, it is going to be an all-celeb cast inside the house. So the celebrities will also represent the young and vibrant. More importantly, there is a strategic shift in the format where you will see a lot of action in the first 30 days of the show itself. So, the action begins the moment the housemates enter. We will also have a mini-finale and one must expect 'double dhamaka' in the first four weeks. It is like two seasons packed in one.
Why did you decide to make it young and vibrant?
We have been getting feedback from our viewers and they were clear that they only wanted celebrities in the house. The insights also suggested that we have a young and happening cast in the house to ensure there is more action. We said to ourselves that we need to ensure that there is not a single dull moment in the show.
You have many fiction shows that do well throughout the year, why do you need this 100-day reality show, what does Bigg Boss mean for Colors?
It is one of the biggest reality shows that Colors does. We have curated and nurtured the show in India and it has become synonymous to Colors. Over the years, it has become one of the biggest reality shows that we do, not only in terms of viewership but also from a revenue and monetisation standpoint. This makes Bigg Boss an essential for us. What it does is, it opens up avenues for brand engagement and it takes the channel to a different level in terms of buzz. I cannot imagine Colors without Bigg Boss.
Talking about viewership, is it the same audience that watches Naagin and Kawach who tune in to watch Bigg Boss too?
Each time we air Bigg Boss we have a set of audience that latch on to the channel and they come to Colors specifically to watch Bigg Boss. That spikes up the viewership and advertisement opportunities. This is not a show only for the Colors loyalist, but it caters to the hardcore fans of Bigg Boss as a property and a show. At the end of the day, Bigg Boss is the most awaited show in Indian television, a lot of viewers get added on the platform because of the show.
You mentioned that Bigg Boss helps you monetise better, what is it that this show offers to advertisers that other productions cannot?
Salman Khan. It is a show that gives brands an opportunity to associate with Salman Khan and all the other celebrities who enter the house. Over the years, Bigg Boss has become a platform that brands find very engaging because it gives them 100 days to engage with the audience, which is innovative and clutter-breaking. Bigg Boss is not just about vanilla advertising but it is about brand integrations and customisations. It is about giving solutions to brands that they otherwise cannot find. To give you an example, Vivo is our presenting sponsor this year and we have a Vivo zone in the house. In that zone, we will see a lot of action unfold and over the next 100 days we will see a lot happening in the show around the brand and its products. This is what excites the brands and they embrace the show, it gives them a bang for their bucks.
Bigg Boss has been a profitable proposition for the last couple of years and this year too, I do not expect it to be any different.Nina Elavia Jaipuria
With the current economic scenario and the continuous decline of ad spends on GECs, do you think an expensive show like Bigg Boss will make profits?
Bigg Boss has been a profitable proposition for the last couple of years and this year too, I do not expect it to be any different. We already have seven partners on board and are talking to a lot more. With the festive season, there will be organic growth in advertising rates. All put together, Bigg Boss, Salman Khan, the festive season and the finance minister’s recent announcement, we are expecting a double-digit growth in ad revenue of Bigg Boss.
Bigg Boss has got many regional avatars, Bigg Boss Tamil, Marathi and others, do they cannibalise?
I think they all complement each other. The more Bigg Boss we have the better it is. What happens in that the housemates are all different, so, the flavour and format are very different. Also you have Salman Khan hosting the Bigg Boss here, which makes it different from the others.
What do you do to promote the show, what are your marketing plans?
Actually, Bigg Boss is a show that gets promoted organically. The moment you announce the show, the speculations start flooding on social media. Speculations about which celebrities will enter the house, the format, etc. The show remains in conversation organically, so in terms of marketing we just ensure that we are building on the organic conversations. We do ensure that we have Salman Khan billboards in key areas to promote the show. Apart from that, this year we will do a lot of activities on Voot, MyJio app and the Bigg Boss microsite to leverage digital media.
Last year, the show got 700 million views on VootNina Elavia Jaipuria
Talking about digital media, how did the 12th edition do on Voot and what are this year’s digital plans?
Last year, the show got 700 million views on Voot, which according to me complimented the television broadcast. This year we have heightened the activity on the digital front. We will have a contest running simultaneously where viewers can predict the winners of the task and all lucky winners will get an opportunity to visit Salman Khan on the set.
As the head of the channel, is Bigg Boss the most stressful episode for you, what are the challenges?
Yes, we stress the most when it comes to Bigg Boss because it is a live show. It is shot for 100 days and every day is a new story. You don’t know what is going to happen on the episode, how the housemates are going to behave. You have no clue what to expect and that unpredictability is what makes it very challenging.