Game Shows in India: Entertainment or Loot?

Posted on May 8, 2012 in Media and Culture

By Mmrityunjay Nanda:

Shhh! I am going to reveal a secret shortcut which will empower you to be one amongst crème de la crème tonight and I am not kidding. Just few right answers and voila! You will be flying high.

I have experienced the blended aroma of exhilaration with a pinch of jealousy, which is absolutely common among the human race, when I see someone making crores of rupees in an hour on my TV screen. I am not sure about you folks but it creates an emotional imbalance deep inside my heart and mind. We all dream to hear those magical words ‘‘Lock kiya jaye?’’ or ‘‘Kuch sawaal aapki zindagi badal sakte hain!’’ in person. But then, our ill-fortune keeps on thwarting us.

Don’t worry and just keep on trying. Who knows? One day you may be on the hot seat playing with Bacchan Sahab or Sallu Bhai. Regardless of physical and emotional entities, these game shows have crazed a diverse bunch of populace wide across the globe. Though these games shows genuinely originated from UK and USA but the Indian versions like “Kaun Banega Crorepati” and “10 Ka Dum” are no less popular. It’s a matter of fact that there are also other quiz and game shows flashing their episodes round the clock but their acceptance is not yet so record breaking.

Though I am not a big fan of KBC or any other game show but these are really unique platforms with excellent performances. The creators of the show always target the pressure point of people, and of course, that is money. Each time you hit the TV at the show time, you get captured by these entertaining but emotional traps. In the name of entertainment and general-knowledge, these show makers are generating huge money out of each show ambushing the viewers with deep silence tuned with noisy heartbeats. In a country like India where people are driven emotionally rather than logically are just golden eggs for these companies like SONY and STAR.

If we talk about inside story, the profit digits will go beyond your imagination. “License fees, including hardware and software costs, do not amount to more than 10%-12% of the production cost and is usually done on an annual basis,” said Indranil Chakraborty, chief operating officer of Big Synergy. So can you imagine how much money these production companies making out of each show? Any guess?

Here is an exemplary simple calculation, Airtel charges Rs.6/- per SMS for KBC. Assuming there are only 1000 entries per district from say 20 districts and 20 states. That is 6 (Rs/SMS) x 1000(entries) x 20(districts) x 20(states) = Rs.24, 00,000, which is 24 lakhs in just under 20 minutes. Today, there are 110 million home cable connections and 903 million mobile phone users exist in India. So just assume if minimum of one million people texting for the contest then 6 Million Rupees Only from SMS service. But the prize money for these SMS contests is of only 2 lakh rupees. Hence you can analyze that these production houses are getting around million of rupees in just one day show, excluding taxes and other formalities. Now if we start calculating the advertisement money then it will be another thesis.

I can’t not specifically blame any individual, as we are mutually all directly or indirectly involved. We need entertainment and they are providing us but in that communication, who is losing nobody ever thought about that. Are these game shows entertaining or looting our economy leaving behind a money-minded and lazy youth who is searching for shortcuts? Finally, the decision is yours.

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