Reality goes Regional… and how!

13 May,2013


By Ananya Saha


Kaun Banega Crorepati might have been adapted from the international Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, but that is not where the adaptations stop. Suvarna TV, the Kannada general entertainment channel, has adapted the reality show into Kannadada Kotyadhipati, Vijay TV in Tamil Nadu has a version in Neengalum Vellalam Oru Kodi, and so does Asianet, which has the Malayalam version of KBC – Ningalkkum Aakaam Kodeeswaran. ETV Marathi has launched the Marathi adaptation recently. And it is not only KBC. Bigg Boss was recently launched on ETV Kannada and an announcement has been made for a Bangla variant of the show with Mithun Chakraborty as host. Many reality shows in the past have been adapted into regional languages and channels, and the trend seems set to grow.

MxMIndia spoke to industry professionals for their view on regional adaptations of reality shows.


Dhruv Jha, GM- Content & Experiences, Lodestar UM

The regional adaptations do well, and they open well. It is to do more because of the kind of buzz that is generated on national scale – they are able to replicate it in some manner, and then it’s more like ‘we are not far behind’ and ‘if you can have a Bigg Boss, so can we’. And there is an aspirational level at the state and regional level that the channels also feel ‘our stars also deserve a Bigg Boss’. I believe the initial ratings were good, though I am not sure of the ratings now.


I am sure that there are brands buying into it. If initial TRPs are generated, if there is a buzz, then regional adaptations are able to monetize. Strong national brands that are strong regionally, they are able to look at this option. I know of brands who are looking at AFP (advertiser funded programming) model and they are looking at programming in region – if it the format that is going to work, then there will be brands investing into it.


All said and done, most of the reality shows on national GECs are also adaptations. Truly adapted, it can be as good – in any language or market. And the channel or programme would have to consider local culture, sensitivity and sensibilities while adapting.


Anuj Poddar, AVP and Business Head – Regional Channels, Viacom18

KBC is a proven format that continues to be successful; audiences have not tired of watching six seasons in Hindi. So why should the Marathi audience (even if they have watched it before in Hindi) not watch KHMC when it is tailormade for them? Format shows are adapted all the time, across the world, across regions.


But let me also give you a specific fiction example: “Uttaran” from Colors has been remade as “Asava Sundar Swapnancha Bangla”. For that I asked the team to answer 2 questions: “How will we make it different enough and more relevant so that viewers who have seen the Colors version will yet watch the remake on ETV Marathi?” and “How will we make it as similar or true to the original Colors version so that the elements that made it work in the first place are not lost in the remake?” We made sure we had the answer to both these questions and a healthy balance on both these seemingly opposite aspects. If you get that right then the viewers will come. And if the viewers come, the advertisers will follow.


KHMC (Kon Hoeel Marathi Crorepati) is completely tailored for the Marathi audience. The questions, while being based on overall general knowledge, are inclined towards the culture and history of the Maharashtrian heartland. Our objective with this show is to also create awareness of the rich heritage and history of this Maha – Rashtra amongst people. The contestants are naturally Marathi-speaking people. The auditions have been done across Maharashtra. So in every way, the show is adapted to the regional audience. Having said that, the grandeur and the magic of the original format is all there – no compromises on that!


The KHMC format is hugely back-end intensive. I must admit that before getting into it I did not realise how much logistical work goes into the show. And what we have achieved is probably the fastest ever mounting of this format so far, because we had a specific time-window that we had to catch. So my full compliments to my team and to Big Synergy for having pulled this off. The challenge of course is that such formats come with well-established quality benchmarks that the audience expects – if you compromise on that, they would feel cheated. And yet, the resources available to a regional channel are fewer than to a national channel – so it is a tight balancing act. Having said that, I am confident that the Marathi and other regional markets will scale up further.


Harneet Singh Rajpal, Vice-President – Marketing, Domino’s Pizza India

For any brand, particularly a mass brand that is present across the country, it is very important to have a regional connect. While presence on national television gives a wider reach across the country, to engage a consumer at a regional level it makes sense to advertise on regional properties, especially for the brands that have regional presence through regional channels on the shows that have been adapted and already follow on the success of national shows.


Domino’s spends close to 20 percent of our total media and television ad budget on regional channels. This would mean the 7-8 markets that we are present in.


Anilkumar Sathiraju, AVP & Head South, DDB Mudra Max

The adaptations of big ticket shows are being accepted by many, be it audience or advertiser for that matter and the response is, in my opinion, a positive one. Not sure about whether the channel is able to make profits, but yes, they are investing heavily and the channel dependence on that particular show is becoming very critical and important


Challenges as such that the show should be accepted by the audience regionally/locally, else its no point, cos it might just not work. Therefore channels are obviously looking at what kind of content appeals to the local audiences and thereon adapting the same


KBC in Tamil did ‘average’ in 1st season, later on seasons it’s doing pretty ok. In Malayalam, KBC did quite well, in Karnataka it was a bigger success than Tamil Nadu. May be it’s because the audiences were used to a personality such as Big B that nobody else was accepted. In today’s scenario if you look at what a Big Boss has done in Karnataka, we have something to talk about. The original Big Boss in Hindi was accepted anyways but when it came to adapting it to Kannada, initially am sure people couldn’t accept it, but now the program as such is doing well in the market place.


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