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‘Bigg Boss’ eyes break-even for 2nd consecutive year

MUMBAI: Hindi GEC Colors is all geared up to launch the ninth season of its most expensive reality show ‘Bigg Boss Double Trouble’ on 11 October. Having already lined up the sponsors and filling up its inventory, the channel is eyeing break-even for the show for the second consecutive year.

Last year, the show in its eighth and seventh seasons on Colors broke even for the first time. The show had cost Colors Rs 120 crore (Rs 1.2 billion), and this time around a further cost escalation of 10–15 per cent is expected.

Colors CEO Raj Nayak told TelevisionPost.com, “We broke even last year and we are hoping to make a profit this year even though it’s one of the most expensive shows. Last year was the first time we broke even.”

Salman Khan and Raj Nayak at the launch of 'Bigg Boss 9'

Salman Khan and Raj Nayak at the launch of ‘Bigg Boss 9’

For the second year, the channel has brought on board e-commerce brand Snapdeal as the presenting sponsor. Snapdeal, which had paid Rs 35 crore (Rs 350 million) as title sponsor last season, is believed to have paid around Rs 40 crore (Rs 400 million) this time around.

Meanwhile, the channel has also renewed its association with other brands. Oppo Mobile is back as the ‘powered-by’ sponsor, Maruti Swift as the ‘driven-by’ sponsor. Other sponsors on board include Garnier Men Powerlight and CP Plus CCTV Cameras.

35 per cent of the show inventory is already full, and as the show ropes in more sponsors close to the launch, consumption is expected to go up to 60–65 per cent. The remaining inventory will be available for the spot buyers.

Nayak said, “For the spot buyers, we are looking at rates in the range of Rs 3.5–4.5 lakh for 10 seconds.”

This season, the channel has slotted the show at 10:30 pm from Monday to Friday. On weekends, it will continue to air at 9 pm. This is because of the channel’s high-performance primetime shows.

All of Colors’ shows between 8 and 10 pm are consistent performers. Thus, the next available slot for the channel was 10:30 pm.

With BARC set to release rural data anytime soon, the question arises as to how the change will affect the ratings of the show considering rural India sleeps early. Until now, ‘Bigg Boss’ in its primetime slot of 9 pm during weekdays has enjoyed high viewership.

But Nayak mentioned, “To a large extent, the audience that watches ‘Bigg Boss’ is young and urban. I believe if the content is good, people will watch it. If the content is engaging, ‘Bigg Boss’ will do well in rural India because rural folks haven’t got this sort of content and Salman Khan. I am taking it as a plus. When other channels think they will sleep, we think they will be awake. There is no harm in trying.”

Endemol India MD and CEO Deepak Dhar added, “It’s going to be different. We can do a bit more at 9, but at the same time we want to be in the family space. I think it’s an opportunity because I don’t see a big show at 10:30, while at 9 pm, we were up against the biggest soaps in the country.”

Premiering on 11 October, the show will see Khan return as the host for the sixth season in a row.

Colors programming head Manisha Sharma stated, “The return of ‘Bigg Boss’ each year marks the return of the ‘family viewing nights’ for the viewers. ‘Bigg Boss Nau’ is going to be double the fun and double the trouble with Khan in the middle. The addition of the show at 10:30 pm along with our other thriving primetime properties will only bolster the viewership further on Colors.”

Last year, Colors also experimented with the format by introducing a small segment called ‘Halla Bol’ with Farah Khan as host.

“We did ‘Halla Bol’ last year because we were honestly not ready with our 9 pm show and the season was doing very well. This time, if the season does very well, there is no reason why we may not think of it. But four months is too long even though it’s rated very well, but more than the viewers, it takes a toll on the production team. So we think 100 days is just perfect,” Nayak revealed.

Although the show footage will be available only on Colors this time as well, the channel is looking at innovations to bring in some kind of engagement with social media.

‘Bigg Boss Double Trouble’ promotions will be amplified across traditional and digital mediums with activities on social media during different phases of the show.

For the pre-launch phase, Colors has planned a special town hall gathering where former ‘Bigg Boss’ contestants will shed light on what one should expect during their journey through the reality show. This will be coupled with a specially created Facebook app.

After the launch of the show, there will be digital initiatives including polling cards, cartoons and real-time updates on WhatsApp groups and Snapchat. Throughout the course of the season, live feeds, sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes content and uncensored updates will keep viewers engaged.

On the marketing front, the channel has planned an integrated 360-degree campaign on different mediums like print, TV channels and OOH.

Also read:

Why Colors is moving ‘Bigg Boss 9′ to 10:30 pm