Media planners are hopeful that this time, the general entertainment channels will be successful with their game shows, unlike last time, when all the ‘KBC’ me-toos bombed badly
When ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ (‘KBC’) started driving viewers towards STAR Plus, all the other general entertainment channels (GECs) launched their own versions of ‘KBC’ – ‘Jeeto Chappad Phaad Ke’ on Sony and ‘Sawaal Dus Crore Ka’ on Zee being the best-known of these. Unfortunately, all of them bombed mainly because they were just poor also-rans, and the audiences preferred the real thing.
Now ‘KBC 2’ is here, and it would seem that their earlier failure hasn’t dampened the spirits of the other GECs to try out rival game shows. What’s new this time is that the channels are not just copying ‘KBC’, but are launching game shows in innovative formats.
For instance, Sony is ready to launch a new show, called ‘Deal Ya No Deal’, with actor R Madhavan as its host. And SaharaOne is launching ‘Mission Ek Crore’ in association with Freemantle Media. According to informed industry sources, Zee TV, too, is planning a new-format game show.
The question now is: Will the GECs be successful this time or will history repeat itself?
Anita Nayyar, managing director, Starcom, North India and Pakistan, seems to be positive about these shows. She says, “The biggest difference this time is that the two new shows are unique in themselves, and not just copies of ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’. Recently, it has been observed that such game shows are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among 15-34 year olds.”
Nayyar adds, “‘KBC’, of course, is a time-tested formula and its biggest advantage is Amitabh Bachchan, whose calibre is difficult to match by any other celebrity in India.”
So, does this mean that the celebrity host will play an important role in the success of the new shows?
Kajal Malik, regional director, Optimum Media Solutions, differs with Nayyar’s viewpoint. She says, “While we have instances where popular stars such as Govinda, Madhuri Dixit and Manisha Koirala have failed to create magic on the small screen, Aman Varma did wonders for ‘Khullja Sim Sim’. So, at the end of the day, if Madhavan is exciting enough in ‘Deal Ya No Deal’, it is very possible that he will carry off the show.”
However, according to Malik, the concept of the shows will be a deciding factor in their success. She continues, “There is no right or wrong formula when it comes to format shows. What’s important is how consistently these shows grab the viewers’ attention, and that can only be done with an interesting concept.”
Malik adds, “Except for ‘KBC’ and ‘KBC 2’, game shows have managed to garner a mediocre response so far in India.” However, Malik seems quite hopeful about Sony’s ‘Deal Ya No Deal’. She says, “I have seen a few episodes of the original show. If ‘KBC 2’ is a quiz-based show with a rather serious format, ‘Deal Ya No Deal’ is a more gaming-based show, which is more fun.”
The concepts might be different this time, but one thing common to all these shows is the big prize money with which the channels hope to lure in viewers.
Nayyar of Starcom is of the opinion that the money factor will be a key driver for the two shows. She says, “People want to make easy money, and even like watching others win big money in an easy way. There is certainly an excitement in it.”
Punitha Arumugum, Group CEO, Madison Media, thinks that the success of these two shows will depend entirely on their packaging, promotion and content. She says, “A section of the media fraternity probably considered ‘Fame Gurukul’ a modified copy of ‘Indian Idol’, but it still did quite well on its own. This was largely because of its different packaging and aggressive promotion. Similarly, although these new shows are all game shows, their success will depend on exactly what their format is and how different they are in terms of content.”
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