Thakraney: Sony after KBC. Reality shows must face the music

05 Dec,2011

By Anil Thakraney


I really don’t know what Sony’s revenue model was for the recently concluded KBC. As in, did the channel actually make money on advertising and sponsorships after deducting the massive costs? Which include phenomenal sums going to the host Big B, not to speak of all the prize monies (Mr Sushil Kumar alone walked away with five crore rupees). Maybe they did make a little profit on the show, maybe they did not. But here’s what has happened immediately post the show: On the ratings chart, the channel slipped to No 3 from its position of No 2.


Now, traditional programming logic suggests that expensive reality shows and blockbuster cinema films play the role of a magnet, of getting a channel some stickiness with the viewers. Having come onto the platform, viewers would taste the regular fare on the channel and hopefully stay on. Well, KBC doesn’t seem to have delivered on that promise. After enjoying the show, clearly many viewers defected to the other channels. This naturally raises a doubt in the mind: Are reality shows over-hyped in the desi entertainment channels? Are they worth all the effort and the expenditure? Is too much expectation being loaded on them?


There are no easy answers to this one. But one thing is clear: You can tempt patrons into a restaurant by offering an outstanding dessert, but they will only return if the food is delicious. You can’t build loyalty through window dressing. The idea should be to first build a powerful back-end… which is to create super regular programming. And then run a huge reality show, so that viewers like what they taste when it comes to the ‘bread and butter’ shows.


In this context, one has to wonder if Sony put the cart before the horse. Star Plus’s consistent No 1 position should provide a way forward for other channels: Which is to first do the basics rights. And then dial Mr Bachchan’s number.


PS: LOL! Watch this ad for Snickers. A good example of how to (literally) use research methods in advertising, AND make it work very nicely!

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One response to “Thakraney: Sony after KBC. Reality shows must face the music”

  1. Raj says:

    Mr. Anil seems that you are completely unaware of some bare facts or economics of the show called KBC. It is not that there are fools sitting there for charity or they are novice not knowing how to make money. You should have researched more before postings. By face you appear intelligent but your words dont conform that. I explain you the economics: The avge slot rate for 10 seconds in KBC ran upto 3.50 lacs and in a show of 1.5 hrs there are minimum 20 mins of ad. Multiply it @3.5 lacs /10 secs and it comes to 4 crores 20 lacs. Then there is jackpot question: it attracts min 10 lacs sms per day @Rs.5 / sms. if u take only 3 rupees as revenue it gives 30 lacs. Total earnings 4.50 crores. KBC5 gave total prizes of 18 crores in the season @36 lacs per episode. Say Amitabh takes 1.50 Cr (max.) and producers 50 lacs (max side) still more than 2 crores per episode is in there kitty.
    I hope that clears the doubt you have…..on economics side of KBC.
    If you are still doubtful you can send me your querry on authenticity etc. on my email



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