Marathi KBC’s double gambit

09 Jan,2014


By A Correspondent


In less than a year since the inaugural series of “Kon Hoeel Marathi Crorepati”, Marathi general entertainment channel ETV Marathi has announced the second season of the gameshow.


Season 2 of KHMC, as the show is called, will double the prize money to Rs 2 crore and have two contestants as again one, participating as a team. The show starts on Monday, January 13 at 9pm and will see well-known actor and theatreperson Sachin Khedekar continue as the host. In a first across all television adaptations globally, there will be two participants instead of one, participating as a ‘jodi’ or a duo in every team.The show is being produced by Siddhartha Basu’s Big Synergy.



Season 2 is already witnessing 50-70% higher rates from advertisers over Season 1: Anuj Poddar


Excerpts from an interview with the EVP Viacom18 and Business Head, ETV Marathi, on the show, how it is doing in terms of revenues and the reasons for bringing it back so soon after the end of Season 1.


01. It’s been less than a year since KHMC concluded – in fact the inaugural season last year started around May, so how did you look at starting the second season so early?

The first season successfully established KHMC and also led to the resurgence of ETV Marathi. Ever since its completion, we’ve been getting a lot of demand from across Maharashtra, from viewers and interested participants asking about the next season. That prompted us to bring it back quickly. And the high response (150% of Season 1) to the call-for-participation has proven to us the eagerness amongst people for this season.


Does it worry you that the format is not a ‘sureshot’ reason for ratings and popularity as we’ve seen in the case of KBC?

The ratings of the show are a function of the show itself, its innovations and creative treatment, the platform it is on, the competitive scenario and the audience situation in each language market. Thus the factors for each language-market are unique and not comparable. While in Season 1 we spent a lot of time imbibing learnings from other versions and markets, for Season 2 our focus has been to imbibe learnings from our KHMC Season 1 and our own market. I am confident that Season 2 will be even more popular and talked about!


02. The promos have been on air for a while. Getting ‘jodis’ to come on the show must’ve been quite a challenging task? Or was it easy to get them?

‘Jodis’ will prove to be a winner concept and I am proud that ETV Marathi is the first channel to introduce this concept for a full season of this format anywhere in the world. KHMC is not a game show. It is a show about people’s lives, the aspirations of the participants and their families, and what the winnings mean to them. We want to see them participate jointly, win jointly and transform their lives jointly. Of course, it has been a much greater logistical exercise to make it happen, but having now seen the mix of participants we have been able to get and the viewing experience it translates into for the audiences, it has really been worth it.


03. You’ve retained Sachin Khedekar as host… any other changes in the format?

This season brings double the prize money (Rs 2 crore instead of 1 crore), double the participation (2 hot seats), double the opportunity (2 minds working together) and promises to be double the fun! Guaranteed. And we will also be introducing certain other creative innovations. For example, we are introducing “Tension Gul”, a stress buster option for the participants. Again, this is an innovation being brought to the format for the first time by the Marathi version.


Will the computer be called ‘Raje’ or has that been changed?

The computer will be called Guruji.


Was the change effected due to the controversy around Raje?

As described above, this is one of the many variations we are bringing to Season 2. Viewer feedback, our own creative reviews and ideations, the need for freshness are all factors that drive changes.


04. How did the first season do in terms of monies? Are you making enough money on it? Also, in terms of ratings, what are your targets for the KHMC 2?

The first season did decently; it helped establish much higher rates than ETV Marathi had been commanding at that point and also brought on newer advertisers to the channel. And as Season 2 commences, we are already witnessing 50-70% higher rates from advertisers over Season 1. In terms of ratings, I expect Season 2 to start off from the peak at which Season 1 ended, and build even further from there to set new peaks.


Could you throw some light on your promotional strategy?

It is an aggressive 360-degree strategy across all media – home channel, cross-channel, radio, OOH, print, digital – just like in KHMC Season 1. However, the objective and messaging is very different this time. The objective in Season 1 was to establish that the biggest format was coming to Marathi television and also to re-awaken and create buzz around ETV Marathi. This time around the focus is on bringing out the innovations in KHMC Season 2 and build anticipation and excitement around it.


Do we see an online version of KHMC 2 to target the growing Marathi online community?

We will be rolling out an interesting social media app for KHMC to engage the online Marathi community and ETV Marathi’s fan base.


05. While you have doubled the jackpot to Rs 2 crore, do you think we could see parity between KBC Hindi and KHMC?

Both the versions operate in very different contexts and are at different stages of their respective lifecycle. So I don’t think there is any comparison.


Said Mr Basu: “Team Synergy is delighted to bring back the show within a year of a successful first season, and can assure Marathi viewers that they can look forward to an even more engaging series this time around, with interesting and entertaining family jodis playing for a fortune, and Sachin Khedekar in great form as the host .”


The veteran actor is looking forward to the show. On being asked what the show means to him, he said: “The Marathi Manoos has always valued the power of knowledge and Kon Hoeel Marathi Crorepati epitomises this thought. Season 1 was an engaging and gratifying experience that saw people from all walks of life across Maharashtra witness their destinies being redefined. With Season 2 now asserting that two hearts and two minds are better than one, the show is all set to showcase the power of togetherness.”


What should lower the heat for Mr Khedekar and the programmers is that the ‘Computer’ is going to be called ‘Guruji’ in the second season and not ‘Raje’. In the last season, there were protests against the usage of the name as Maratha ruler Shivaji is reverentially referred to as ‘Raje’. The channel though did not change the reference through the season and the protests also died down (see link: KHMC Season 2 will air every Monday and Tuesday at 9pm starting Monday, January 13.


Speaking on the show’s promise, Anuj Poddar, EVP Viacom18 & Business Head, ETV Marathi said “Kon Hoeel Marathi Crorepati Season 1 successfully achieved our objective of redefining the television viewing experience on Marathi Television by providing a show that celebrated culture and knowledge. In Season 2 our focus has been to imbibe learnings from our KHMC Season 1 and our own market. I am confident that Season 2 will be even more popular and talked about,” he told MxMIndia in an interview (see accompanying story).


A senior executive at a Marathi television broadcaster welcomed the Second Season saying the only way regional television will grow is when money is pumped into programming. “International formats are expensive and only those with deep pockets like ETV Marathi can afford such initiatives.” A media buyer, who requested anonymity said that formats like KHMC help in bring attention to a channel and the genre from people who are clueless about genre. Game shows and reality shows are excellent for product placements and smaller brands cannot always afford the Hindi GECs.”


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