Kodeeswari is less of a show and more of a movement: Ravish Kumar, Viacom18

Colors Tamil recently announced their first Rs 1 crore prize winner in the popular game show, ‘Kodeeswari’, which began airing from December 23, 2019. The winner was Kousalya Kharthika from Madurai, a differently abled housewife, who took home the grand prize. The last episode was widely publicised and was also covered by several news channels. 

Colors Tamil’s ‘Kodeeswari’ is adapted from the popular international game show ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’, but with a new twist. All the contestants in the show were women from different backgrounds and so was the host Radikaa Sarathkumar, a well known actress. 

The domestic broadcast was sponsored by heavyweights like Colgate, Nippon Paint, Arun Excello, RIN, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Tamil Matrimony app, Helo and Helo app. The international broadcast was sponsored by Sivanesan Company, Gits Foods, Tamil Nadu Tourism, Enchanting Tamil Nadu, GMT Jewellers, and Gooday Beauty Parlour. The show is available on Viacom18’s OTT platform VOOT with digital partners such as Medlife and Nippon Paint. 

Colors Tamil co-created the show with Studio Next, a production company under Sony Pictures Networks India, which has rights to the format. Viacom18 Media network has met with success with the game show format on their other regional channels. 

In an interaction with Adgully, Ravish Kumar, Head - Regional Content, Viacom18, speaks about the heart of the show and breaks down its unique format. 

Why did you choose to do an all-women show?

This is a format we are happy to do because primarily it gives joy to the contestants which gives you real joy as a creator. We thought what would make this show different from the other quiz shows with a celebrity host? Women have always put the dreams of their loved ones ahead of their own and KODEESWARI was our way of paying tribute to the unconditional love and sacrifice that women make for their loved ones everyday.

What was the value proposition for the advertisers who came on board?

This was a larger-than-life show and not just another quiz show with a celebrity host and Rs 1 crore as the prize. It was about inspiring and connecting with the audiences who want to live their dreams and in the process inspiring millions of others like them. It was less of a show and more of a movement that we were trying to execute. Many advertisers believed in us and went on this journey, for which I am extremely grateful. They wanted their brands to appear larger than life and not be associated as products. As we continued with the show, more advertisers came on board though they were mostly spot buys. 

What were the factors that contributed to the success of the show?

This was an unscripted show and we were amazed by the stories that a lot of people had to share and their talent. Kousalya is an example of a person who has overcome difficulties at various levels to become who she is. Imagine a contestant holding a placard to indicate the answer because she didn’t understand the question is really humbling. The content took on a life of its own and a lot of it was because of the person on the hot seat and the celebrity host. In our case, it was about the emotions and the reason why they are there. 

The show has done tremendously well for the channel and continues to grow by the day. It has made a particular dent in that slot for the channel and has grown our ratings. It continues to snowball with each passing episode. The show has also done very well on the ground level by creating a buzz and excitement and motivating a lot of people. 

What is the potential of non-fiction, unscripted content to connect with the Tamil audience?

Non-fiction shows that are innovative, done well and resonate with the audiences are absolutely fabulous. ‘Kodeeswari’ was a show with a mission and a heart that resonated on multiple levels. Non-fiction is a very real space, while fiction has its own loyalists. Both are very important to a channel and complement each other in such a way that the viewer has a palette to choose from. 

Did the show connect to a particular audience segment? What was the engagement via VOOT?

The engagement on VOOT was huge and will continue to grow. Not just our VOOT platform, but news channel mentions, social media chatter, and other digital conversations show that everyone is intrigued by the concept of this show. We are just glad to touch lives in a positive and meaningful way. 

We’ve seen our shows resonate equally among audiences and part of it is because of the emotion behind the show. There are certain shows that tend to appeal more to urban audiences, depending on the format, but in our case we’ve seen it cut across the board because the emotion is universal. We’ve seen an even viewership across all SEC categories, urban/ rural, men/ women, whichever way you want to slice the data. 

What have been the learnings from the show’s success?

When you do a show with a purpose and a heart and for something other than ratings, then it will be successful. Rather that limiting yourself to finding entertainment, if you are providing edutainment, enlightenment and empathy at the same time, then it’s a winning combination that every broadcaster should strive towards. It is not just a job we have, but also a responsibility and the more we bring it alive in our content, the more we can be the agents of change.


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