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KBC 9 promises a tight, crisp and action-packed bundle of entertainment

To make it relevant to 2017, the show has been restricted to 30-35 episodes, with double the number of questions per episode. A video call feature has been introduced, Jio subscribers can ‘play along’ with the on air game and a new life-line ‘jodidaar’ has been introduced. For a jackpot question of Rs 7 crore, all remaining lifelines will terminate

(L-R) Mr Danish Khan, Mr NP Singh, Mr Amitabh Bachchan, Mr Siddhartha Basu and Mr Ashish Golwalkar at the press conference of Kaun Banega Crorepati 9 in Mumbai

Packing up more power to win, with almost double the number of questions, fast-paced episodes and a big digital push to it, Sony Entertainment Television announced the launch of the ninth season of its iconic show Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC).

A show that was first launched in 2000 needed to be relevant to the audience of today (2017) more than anything else and the channel has tried to make the requisite changes in the way they present the show. The last season 8 was launched in 2014 and the upcoming edition is coming back after three years.

The viewers will get to reminisce the journey of KBC on Indian television in a special ‘curtain raiser’ episode, which will be telecast on Sony Entertainment Television on August 25 at 9pm.

NP Singh, CEO, Sony Pictures Networks India, said, “KBC is a show that truly does go beyond the ordinary to touch the lives of people from all walks of life. This show has always exemplified attainment via the power of knowledge. Guided by insights, KBC is back to Indian television in its ninth season, in a new avatar that showcases some game-changing innovations.”

KBC 9 will bring the game closer to the viewers by taking the engagement a notch higher. Jio subscribers can participate daily in the Ghar Baithe Jackpot Jeeto contest and stand a chance to win a Datsun redi-Go car every day.

The channel has already sealed 11 sponsors for the show, including Jio which has come aboard as the title sponsor and Vivo and Ching’s Chinese, which are the co-powered by sponsors. The other associate sponsors include brands such as Raymond, Datsun, Axis Bank, Akash Tutorial, Big Bazar and Quick Heal.

Ashish Golwalkar, ‎SVP and Senior Creative Director Content, said, “Inventory is completely sold out. It’s coming back after three years with lesser number of episodes, so, it’s going to keep people hungry. We have had long 60-episode season earlier and the interest factor seems to be going down somewhere later in the show’s duration. Hence, we decided to keep it crisp and tight.”

As for the tweaks in the show and the attempt to make it crisp, looks like it is a wise by the channel. Ultimately, how many 17-year-old brands do you still find relevant? There are people who weren’t even born in 2000 and many who were in college and the show is ought to bring new memories for them. Danish Khan, EVP and Business Head, Sony Entertainment Television (SET), tried to explain the challenges of bringing the 2000 format quiz show back on the screens after a gap of three years. Khan said, “Relevance is the most important thing. You have to keep upgrading yourself, reinventing yourself in order to stay relevant. The format and the host are not new, but the demographics (of audience) have completely changed. There are three things which we have tried to change – shorter season, episodic duration is 50-60 minutes (content) and each episode will be fast paced. With decreasing patience, people want a lot of things packed together in a single thing. So, the number of questions, which typically was about 7-8 in an episode, will now go up to 15 questions per episode. The first episode – 90 minute long – has 21 questions.”

Limiting the season to 30-35 episodes, bringing in a video call feature, instead of the hitherto phone-a-friend, Jio subscribers having an opportunity to ‘play along’ with the on-air game and match their knowledge with the contestants on the hot seat and a new life-line ‘jodidaar’ has been introduced, wherein the participant can bring along a partner to join him/ her on the coveted hot seat. Another twist in the tale is the introduction of a jackpot question for Rs 7 crore. This will be an all or nothing deal, where all the remaining lifelines of the contestants will terminate.

Khan explained why Jio ‘play along’ will be an important innovation, saying, “Everybody uses their phones as second screens while consuming TV content.”

In the upcoming season, there will be almost no Bollywood celebrities seen promoting the show. In fact, Bachchan will invite real-life heroes in special episodes. These individuals will not only be given an opportunity to play the game, but also be provided a platform to reach out to the country in support of their cause.

Answering why they chose to refrain from bringing Bollywood faces to the show, Khan said, “Earlier, the visibility and accessibility of the Bollywood celebrities was limited. There was an excitement when people saw the Bollywood actors interacting with Amitabh so personally. But now, almost every TV show has celebrities regularly coming aboard. Our research had shown that the people wanted to know more about heroes in the society – Mithali Raj, Afroze Shah and many others like them.”

According to Khan, a lot of time in 2016 was invested in doing a study to understand the ‘relevance’ for launching the shows like KBC and Dus Ka Dum, while making them relevant to today’s audience. Even the fiction shows lined-up by the channel were planned as per the study’s results.

The marketing campaigns of the show have always been a talk of the town for being so impactful and reflecting the society every time they appear on the television. This year’s tag line ‘Jawab Dene Ka Waqt Aa Gaya Hai’ is also the need of the hour. Nitish Tiwari has been the man behind almost all the KBC campaigns to date, including the new one. What was the brief given to him?

Khan said, “The core brief of KBC remains the same – ‘Knowledge is the great leveller in the society.’ For season 9, this generation is about now or never and the campaign spirit of ‘Jawab Dene Ka Waqt Aa Gaya Hai,’ captures that urgency.”

Every Friday, there will be a ‘look-back’ capsule after the regular episode. The channel is attempting to make it an annual property.

Sony Liv will also stream the show after an hour of its telecast on TV. Produced by Big Synergy, KBC9 received a record breaking registration of 19.8 million in over seven days.

Siddhartha Basu, Creative Producer, said, “The huge number of registrations for a crack at the hot seat is one pointer to the enormous anticipation for the show. Along with much-loved features of the classic format, viewers can look forward to expect the unexpected this season, a turbo-charged version, with novel features, engaging contestants, and vibrant conduct by the host Amitabh Bachchan.”

Tags: KBC 9
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