Anil Thakraney: KBC: Winning desi hearts

20 Sep,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Everyone is surprised by the massive success of Kaun Banega Crorepati, which is now in its sixth season. I have a simple explanation: The Congress leaders said their party is with the aam aadmi, and they won the election in 2009 on that promise. Well, scams-ridden Soniaji & Co totally let the aam aadmi down, and the junta had nowhere else to go. Enter KBC. India’s only hope and home for the common men and women… to try their luck and up their bank balance a bit.


KBC 6 opened to a rating of a staggering 6+ points (though NDTV will have doubts over these figures, hehe), and is now hovering at around 5. These ratings are actually spectacular, given the competitive scenario in the GECs segment, and also considering that this is an old show. Well, what’s happened is that KBC has become a truly desi gig, much like cricket, and it’s difficult to imagine that the format was created in another country. The Indian masses have made it their own… folks gather together to watch it, much as they would congregate at the village mela or at the ration shop in the cities. And Bachchan’s easy connect with the masses has made this very possible. He is like the adorable sarpanch of the village, the good headmen people like and trust.


I watched a few episodes of KBC 6, and must say it’s packed with sponsors and advertisers. This is the only confusing aspect in my mind. Because I suspect the big-city upper and middle classes have lost interest in the show, and it’s the lower middle class and people from small towns and villages who provide the viewership numbers. So while the TRP figures are high, they aren’t coming from the rich urban middle class. Does that not put off most advertisers? I would imagine it would. So then why are they paying for the show? The only explanation is that perhaps the advertisers have found a single, convenient medium in KBC to reach out to India’s heartland. And this explains KBC’s commercial success as well.


So, good show on all counts. However, the sad reality remains: The aam aadmi has to look to a TV serial for succour, having been failed by the political class.




PS: Brilliant example of how to use a celeb in advertising. Acer Ultrabook exposes the hidden passion of the macho ’24’ television series star, Kiefer Sutherland. And that passion happens to be cupcakes! What I like about the treatment is that the ad exploits the star’s famous persona, and yet delivers a surprising solution. Cool!


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