TV steps out of comfort zone, reaches out to viewers

Written by Anindita Sarkar | Mumbai | Updated: Aug 31 2014, 06:43am hrs
AmitabhA Surat stadium, with a capacity of 10,000 people, was converted into a KBC-like set and locals were given a chance to play the game live with host Amitabh Bachchan in August.
EARLIER this month, Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan travelled to Surat to launch the eighth season of popular quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati. This is for the first time the show had walked out of a studio set-up and was hosted in a stadium with a capacity of 10,000 people. The stadium was converted into a KBC-like set and locals were given a chance to play the game live. The event was televised on Sony Entertainment Television (SET) on August 17 as the Grand KBC Premiere.

Gujarat is a TV-heavy market and Bachchan is the brand ambassador of the state. This was a fantastic combination to generate audience traction, says Gaurav Seth, senior vice-president (marketing), SET. The channel will host similar on-ground events in three different cities in the next three months. Quite like the grand premiere, the events will then be telecast as KBC specials. We expect these specials to generate viewership spikes for the show and the channel, says a top Sony executive.

But its not just KBC that has decided to step outside its studio room. Prior to KBCs travel to Surat, Colors, the flagship Hindi GEC from Viacom18, joined hands with RFS Entertainment, a global entertainment enterprise, to extend its Got Talent franchise premiering in India into a global on-ground experience.

To be called Got Talent World Stage Live, this on-ground extension of Colors marquee property, Indias Got Talent, will be a ticketed event hosted by Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan. The tickets of the event, to be held on December 6 at Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai and televised on Colors, will be available on BookMyShow.com. While RFS Entertainment will present the event, it will be executed by Cineyug.

Says Rav Singh, head, RFS Entertainment, Got Talent World Stage Live marks the first time where a globally-renowned TV series format will be adapted for a live audience. New talent across genres proving their mettle on every available platform makes India the perfect backdrop for a showcase of this magnitude.

Evidently, TV content, quite flamboyantly, is delivering symptoms of stepping out of its comfort zone. As per market estimates, any on-ground event for a TV property organised on a grand scale costs two-three times more than a studio shoot. For example, if the cost per episode of KBC is pegged around R2.5 crore, then its on-ground event cost in Surat would be an estimated R6 crore, indicate industry experts.

The question here is, so why would a channel shell out more on an on-ground bonanza when television continues to be a mass media experience and is defined by TRPs Mallikarjun Das, CEO, India, Starcom MediaVest Group, explains: There is a convergence happening in the digital world and consumers are now being interacted with on a one-on-one basis. Today, consumers are living in a multi-screen world. So, when they are watching a Fifa match, they are also tweeting about it.

As per Navneeth Mohan, CEO of Laqshya Live Experiences, the experiential marketing vertical of the Laqshya Media Group, the trend of taking a show on-ground fulfills two objectivesshooting of the TV show and also developing an on-ground consumer connect. This new trend offers a larger mass connect and creates something fresher and more innovative for the audience to view, he adds.

Do advertisers stand to gain too These are mostly tactical moves to come closer to the consumers. The costs incurred on such events are huge and, therefore, cannot be replicated on a continuous basis. This, however, brings in an opportunity for on-air sponsors to ride on the buzz and score the benefit with no additional costs to bare, says president, MSM.

For the record, the sponsorships of any show is dependent on the duration for which the show is going to stay on-air. For instance, the title sponsorship for a five-week show could be anywhere around R12 crore, while for a show like KBC (50-52 weeks), the number could go up to as much as R30 crore. Similarly, the associate sponsor rates could vary between R4 crore and R5 crore for a five-week period show vis-a-vis R15-16 crore for a KBC-like property.

Experts note that in 2013-14, 9% of the marketing spends was devoted to experiential marketing. This year, the figure is expected to touch 21%, which should include quite a few TV channels too. In the next five years, it is projected to grow by up to 30-35% for many. These numbers, however, are only a reflection of the organised sector. The truth is, 60% of the industry is still unorganised, so the actual industry size should be valued around R8,000 crore, says Mohan of the Laqshya Media Group.