Betting big on content: ETV Marathi's Anuj Poddar
The Marathi version of KBC - 'Kon Hoeel Marathi Crorepati', a mega platform referred to as ‘Maharashtrachya Mahamanch’ had the potential to change the life and destiny of the person on the hot seat. This family show changed the quality of entertainment in the Marathi television viewing culture.
Kon Hoeel Marathi Crorepati has proved to be Marathi television’s biggest game-changer till date which has taken the Marathi television space by storm . The show which for the first time in the history of Marathi television provides the contestants an opportunity to win 1 crore of prize money, has had contestants across the length and breadth of Maharashtra vying for a chance to get to the hot seat.
Post the grand finale last month, Anuj Poddar , EVP, Viacom 18 and Business Head, ETV Marathi, in an exclusive interaction with Adgully shared his insights on the game front and the new opportunities they are looking for the channel.
The show has been a raging success with over 7 million entries from Maharashtra and beyond. People from across all walks of life, right from a vegetable vendor, a teacher, a doctor to a singer have all witnessed their dreams translate into reality with this landmark show.
When asked to share his experience and thought on the show front, an enthusiastic Poddar said, “Being associated with the show has been a fantastic experience for all of us. For every one from the team be it crew, participants or the host Sachin Khedekar, this show has given them an opportunity of a lifetime. We had two objectives with the show- one was to change the audience perspective for Marathi content that we achieved by programming the show in Marathi space and we really raised the bench market and the second was to change the participant perspective by engaging them and giving audience a never before opportunity to win on the basis of their deserved merit. We did two rounds of auditions, we had many winners throughout the show and even the number of participants showed huge response.”
The channel also launched a watch and win contest during the show for which the response was more than a lakh and the show achieved pull value in Maharashtra which was the channel’s objective from the start.
Adding further, Poddar avers, “Our criteria was that, people should be able to speak and understand Marathi, it doesn’t matter whether they are originally Maharashtrian or not. We had both profiles, of people who are not Maharashtrian and living in Maharashtra and on the other hand Maharashtrians who have moved out of Maharashtra and use this platform to associate with their state.”
Keeping the audience perspective in mind the show did not just increase the limit for the channel but also lifted the Marathi GEC space as a whole.
“The channel ETV Marathi, is known for ‘A’ kind of programming and our objective was set. We wanted to extend the whole profile of the channel, with diverse programming. With this show, and other fictional and non- fictional shows which we had launched in the past 6 months, the feedback shows that the profile of the channel has lifted in terms of persona and diversified in terms of content.”
For the channel what worked well apart from traditional media was social media, which allowed interactivity, through Facebook and the channel has been the fastest growing Marathi channel. For the channel all rating points are important, from TAM rating to the feedback they received from Facebook and SMS responses.
In this regard Poddar adds “Trade media platforms played an important role too.”
Kon Hoeel Marathi Crorepati’s grand finale was an emotional walk down memory lane. Contestants who have had their lives transformed since coming on the show were present at the finale to witness the curtains being drawn on this mega blockbuster. Also present at the finale was the queen of comedy Nirmiti Sawant who was playing for the Police Welfare Association and went on to win Rs. 6,40,000. Celebrated top cop, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Vishwas Nagre Patil, was also present at the finale on behalf of the Police Welfare association, making this finale an event to remember.
On enquiring if they have started planning for the next season, Poddar said “Next season is already in talks. This KHMC was the fastest launch of any show in the world as we just had 2 months from the time we signed the contract to put this on air. Everything was done in fast forward mode which was incredible. Going ahead for Season 2 we need time – firstly, to take learnings from the Season 1 and second, to get things right , improve and do best in the next season. We are hopeful for the next season and expecting to come back with a bigger bang.”
As of now, two shows have been lined up which will be replacing KHMC. The first one is a show with Nirmiti Sawant, ‘1760 Sasubai’, a comedy and the second too is a fictional show. Both the shows will fill in the space of KHMC.
“ETV Marathi as a channel has a fresh look with diverse programming content and with audiences too noticing these changes in the channel, we are planning to take this forward.” concluded Poddar.