Who doesn’t recall the ‘Bigg Boss Chahte Hai Ki…’ phrase?
In its 17th season and with actor Salman Khan as the host, celebrities staying together in the house for more than 3.5 months spread across 107 plus episodes, and a 7-days a week 10:00 pm broadcast slot, Bigg Boss is set to go on air on Viacom18’s Hindi GEC Colors starting mid-October 2023.
Coupled with the power of going free on JioCinema, the show aims to reach 350-400 million viewers in its 17th season, said Pavithra KR, Revenue Head - Colors, Viacom18. The icing on the cake is its launch during the festive season, a time when advertisers tend to spend more.
Last year, Bigg Boss 16 was viewed by 180 million people on TV (Source: BARC, All India 2+, Colors HD and SD, Cume Reach). It was also positioned as the No. 1 non-fiction show in FY23 (Source: BARC, HSM, Urban, 15+, Pay HGEC category, AMA, April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023).
Not just this, Colors shared that the reality show reached over 12 billion people on social media last year.
“We are the IPL of entertainment. Brands use IPL for a certain reason in the April- May period. During the festive season, brands use Big Boss to engage with the consumers,” she said.
The original Big Brother entered India in 2006 as Bigg Boss on Sony Entertainment with Arshad Warsi as host. Later, its licence was acquired by Viacom18 when it set up its Hindi general entertainment channel Colors. The show came as a whiff of fresh air for viewers who were saturated with daily soaps as a form of entertainment. It was a show that propelled Colors to the top in the Hindi GEC markets.
Pavithra shared that the reality show is already garnering a lot of interest from advertisers as the channel offers category exclusivity.
She commented, “For example, in the beverage category, we take only one brand. In the soap category, we take only one brand. Like this, we have multiple brands vying for that one slot. In the makeup and automobile category, we're already having conversations with 2-3 advertisers. It's really about who moves the fastest to grab that sponsorship.”
Viacom18 has no plans to sell digital and TV separately to the brand for Bigg Boss and hence are not breaking up the sponsorships between the two mediums. But both digital and TV take the lead over each other depending on the advertisers’ requirements.
Explaining the proposition further, Pavithra said, “If a brand wants awareness and reach, then television takes the lead on that integration. However, if a brand wants engagement and interactivity, then maybe the OTT piece will take the lead. But we always build integrations such that it's platform agnostic and platform fluid. It flows from one platform into the other. We're selling the show and not a particular medium.”
Last year, Bigg Boss had over 300 advertisers and this year, the number of advertisers is only going to increase, stated Pavithra.
Along with the usual FMCG, consumer durables, personal care divisions, automobile, handsets, telecom industry, etc., Colors has also onboarded BFSI and tech-innovations brands, Pavithra told BestMediaInfo.com.
She further said, “Every year, we add new advertisers to the show. In the last 2-3 years, we have seen a lot of D2C brands and gaming brands coming on board. We try to bring new solutions to each and every brand. We provide 360-degree solutions for our clients and that's the beauty of Big Boss. It's not restrictive as a format and allows for all brands to find someplace inside the house.”
According to Pavithra, Bigg Boss also acts as a great platform for product launches.
She explained, “We launched ITC Dark Fantasy Biscuits and Hyundai Nios inside the house last year. Our show lends itself beautifully to brand launches and engagements. We were able to drive massive engagement to MyGlamm’s app last year through contests and voting. We have brand solutions for brands across various life stages.”
When asked if the startup funding winter will impact Bigg Boss ad revenue, Pavithra said that the funding winter was even there last year, but Bigg Boss had MyGlamm and Licious on board.
She added, “We're already in conversation with a couple of D2C brands even this season.”
She also pointed out that brand integrations in the show are seamless without disrupting the audience’s content experience. She said, “We ensure that whatever we do for our brands, they become the narrative of the story. Brand integrations are so beautifully and organically built into the show that it's never intrusive.”
Giving examples, she added, “We have built a Greed Corner inside the Bigg Boss house kitchen. Through Greed Corner, in the past, we have sent ITC biscuits and Licious meat. We realised that food is a big point of contention inside the Big Boss house and is something the contestants don't have easy access to. Last season, we put a little box of Priyagold Chocolates and then later Hershey's Kisses chocolates in the captain’s room. By virtue of being the captain, he/she got access to the box and could consume and distribute those chocolates, leading to drama in content with the product as the centrepiece.”
An equally important property for brands to advertise during the festive period, the World Cup, will be held between October 5, 2023, to November 19, 2023. This will have some overlap with Bigg Boss too going on air during the same period.
Answering the question about whether the World Cup would have any impact on the ad revenue of Bigg Boss season 17, Pavithra said, “Big Boss has survived with and without cricket. This time around, there are only six to seven India matches that overlap. Those 6-7 matches will start at 2.30 pm and get over before the Big Boss starts. We have no fear in terms of show timings and viewership. When it comes to comparing brand solutions offered by Cricket versus Bigg Boss, the possibilities of brand integrations in Bigg Boss are more than any cricket property. It’s difficult to do brand integrations in most sports properties. Any brand can find a space inside the show, active or passive. And it's constantly and repeatedly done over a period of 100 plus days.”
Pavithra said that there’s no other reality show like Bigg Boss in the country today and the show has been constantly evolving in the last 17 years.
She continued, “It's extremely unique in its format. About 5-6 years ago, Bigg Boss opened the house for common people, which continued for three years. After that, we reintroduced the celebrity concept again. Every time we've done new interventions on the show, the ratings and viewership have only skyrocketed. Last year, we changed the grammar of the show to become more snackable. We also started sending Salman Khan to the house every week and introduced Shekhar Suman to do a Sunday episode. We constantly innovate to keep the buzz around Big Boss alive.”
We're going to bring a lot of past learnings into this season as well and have a healthy mix of protagonists and influencers,” stated Pavithra.
Commenting on the growing trend of influencers joining reality shows on TV, Pavithra believes that the relationship between influencers and reality shows is symbiotic as both benefit each other.
She added, “We make celebrities and they too bring their fan clubs to the show for sure. Plus having influencers as part of the show also brings in a lot of younger audiences. Last year, the show’s winner was MC Stan. When he joined the show, his social media following was one million, but in three months when he exited the show, his following galloped to 11 million. ”
As per JioCinema’s claims, the most recent season of Bigg Boss OTT was viewed by over 10 crore unique viewers and clocked close to 3000 crore minutes of watch time. Answering the question if Bigg Boss OTT’s performance put pressure of any sort on the upcoming Bigg Boss performance on digital, she said, “If you thought OTT did extremely well, adding television along with it gives one a winning product.”
This time around, Viacom18 is removing Bigg Boss from behind the paywall on its OTT platform JioCinema, unlike in the past when it was paid on VOOT Select.
Controversies are inevitable in Bigg Boss, but Pavithra said that Viacom18 ensures that the brand’s safety isn’t hampered due to the controversies.
The brands are kept away from all the controversies. The focus of the show is on romance, bromance and a whole lot of other things. The show has taken a very positive direction. As she signs off, Pavithra says, “Bigg Boss is a safe environment for brands. Even when controversies get picked up, we immediately bring them to rest and do not let the brands get impacted in any way.”