Television

'Kodeeswari' doubled primetime slot viewership: Viacom18's Ravish Kumar

Brands have shown a keen interest in this new format of the popular game show.

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MUMBAI: The Tamil adaptation of Kaun Banega Crorepati saw an interesting tweak – all the participants and the host are women. Launched on 23 December 2019, Kodeeswari brought out and continues to bring heart-wrenching stories of women contestant and aims to encourage and motivate them to fulfil their dreams.

The channel says that its focus was on education and enlightenment rather than making money in this instance. Apart from grabbing eyeballs, the show also succeeded in strengthening the channel's relation with brands not on the facts of ratings but on the concept of spreading the message and inspiring viewers.

Viacom 18 regional entertainment cluster head Ravish Kumar, in an interaction with Indiantelevision.com, explained the thought behind the tweaked concept of Kodeeswari, association with brands, viewership growth, marketing strategy, show’s performance on digital platform, and Colors Tamil’s roadmap in 2020.

Edited excepts:

What was the thought behind coming up with the all-women season of Koodeswari?

Women give up their dreams for their loved ones, family or children and they live their dreams through them. We wanted to do a show as a tribute to women’s unconditional love and selfless sacrifices that they make every day. We didn’t want to come up with a quiz show with a celebrity host and Rs 1 crore as prize money. We wanted to do a show that would make some difference, inspires, motivates and creates a movement. We wanted to give the opportunity to the dreams that have been buried all these years. ‘Heart that beats for others should not skip a beat for itself’ that was our guiding principle behind the show that’s why we made it an all-women show. Despite Kodeeswari being all-women show, it is the family that has supported them to make their dreams come true. With the line ‘Choti si Asha’ we wanted to understand where did that go and why and we want to bring it back in women’s lives with the show.

What is the marketing strategy for the show? How are you ensuring the reach of the show in remote areas to give more powers to women?

It’s a function of where we do the audition and how do you get the word out. We were extensive in our audition and tried to cover every district in Tamil Nadu. Next time we will go even deeper. Every single person who has been on the show has a fabulous story. There was a contestant name Sushmita who was partially blind and I am happy to share that she is cured now. There are other people who have overcome the difficulties at multiple levels. Each story in many ways is very inspirational, turns society on its head and makes a positive difference to them; it’s an encouragement to others.

With this format are you specifically trying to reach out to female audiences?

The target audience is the family, we put it in the primetime slot from 8 to 9.30 pm and the viewership is across the board, it’s not just men or women, people are watching it together and the show is all about that.

How is the show helping brands and advertisers?

We have been very lucky to get a lot of sponsors even before the show began. The relation with brands got stronger as they realise it’s not about the ratings but about spreading the message, creating a movement and inspiring many others. I think it’s the message that will continue even if the show has gone off air. Brands are very proud and privileged to be part of Kodeeswari and we are equally proud and privileged to partner with them. We thank them for their support; trust in our vision and for standing by us. It’s going to work well for the brands which are associated with us as well as the channel. But the bigger side of this is, the show is very positive for the society which is what television is about, it is the opportunity to educate, entertain and enlighten. With Kodeeswari we are doing all this.

Has the show also added in the viewership or subscription numbers?

The channel has seen a growth in the slot in which the show is aired as well as in the overall channel.  The slot viewership has doubled and channel’s ratings is up almost 20 per cent. But more intangible is the conversations that we are having about the show and the difference it continues to make. More and more people are watching and we will continue to grow until the last episode. Subscription numbers are known once in a month and we are yet to get that after the launch of the show. Definitely there might be some growth but it's too early to say anything.

How does format like Kodeeswari help a regional channel?

We are a new channel and it’s an investment for us and the dividend will only come down the road as we continue to do more of such shows which truly make a difference and help us connect with our viewers. We did not do this show with an intention to make money; we did it to make a difference as we hold ourselves to socially responsible programming. That is what we try to achieve with Kodeeswari and other shows on Colors Tamil.

How is the show doing on the digital platform?

On digital, we continue to push the show in terms of anyone coming online and visiting our site. We have play along offered on VOOT. We also do extra footage that we air on the channel which helps to capture the journey of people even after they won money and went out of the show. We do a lot of extra content and give them the opportunity to engage. We look forward to user-generated content that we can share with others. It’s working on the multiple levels and the engagement will be growing over time.  It continues to grow every single day on digital and it’s my second-most visited show on the channel and will quickly become the first.

Did you revise the ad rates for the show?

Ad rates were not revised for the show; we are happy to be giving an opportunity to the people to partner with us for the show.

Will the channel be coming up with a similar format in season 2 of Kodeeswari?

We look forward to bringing a strong season 2 as well and like I said it’s a conversation that started and we will continue to keep having conversations through this or other shows both in fiction and non-fiction and basically every touchpoint that we have with Tamil viewers and viewers across all our markets.

What is the roadmap for Colors Tamil in 2020?

We entered the market in 2017, we made a meaningful mark already. We want to build on the momentum, i.e., to be differentiated and carry a message more than just pure entertainment.

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