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Paanchvi slips, but SRK rules

Mumbai, May 23: The King’s Knights are out and his quiz show is slipping, but Shah Rukh Khan remains the Brand Badshah.

A day after the Kolkata Knight Riders crashed out of the Indian Premier League, SRK blamed himself for the dipping TRPs of his game show Kya Aap Paanchvi Paas Se Tez Hain.

“Even in my films, it is said it will get a good opening because I am there. If I consider the same yardstick, a star of my calibre should have brought enough audiences before the television set. If there is no opening and lack of appeal for the show despite my presence, then I think I am responsible. But I do my best whatever I can do creatively,” PTI quoted Shah Rukh as saying.

But brand builders believe the Badshah is being too hard on himself. They would rather blame the low TRPs of Paanchvi… on the IPL, which has been a raging success and has eaten into the programme’s time slot. The real test for the quiz show on STAR Plus, they said, would come after the T20 league gets over on June 1.

“Both Paanchvi… and the IPL cater to the same target audience — the young, upwardly mobile new Indians. So it is not surprising that in a country where cricket is a religion, IPL will score over a game show. Even saas-bahu serials, which have a dedicated viewership of housewives and the elderly, have taken a beating because of IPL. Though they may be faring a bit better than Paanchvi… a comparison is not fair as they have different target audiences,” said Prahlad Kakkar, brand guru and CEO of Genesis Films.

Kakkar scoffed at the assertion of some trade pundits that the reason for Paanchvi's dull viewership is the actor’s over-exposure in the media, as he’s “everywhere” — from ads, films and, of course, cheering for his Knights.

“That’s bunkum. There is nothing like over-exposure for a brand like SRK. He is like Sachin Tendulkar. His performance or those of others associated with his name does not matter. His charisma does. SRK’s brand image has in fact gone up post-IPL and Paanchvi. He has come to belong more to the masses than before,” he said.

Siddharth Basu of Synergy Adlabs, which produces Paanchvi… and will shortly launch Salman Khan with another game show Dus ka Dum, feels low TRPs for a television show does not necessarily mean low viewership. “Television audiences have become a fragmented lot in the last few years. Viewership has gone up phenomenally and the dominance of particular shows does not exist any more,” he said recently.

A section of brand experts believe that it is “over-exposure” of the format, and not that of Shah Rukh, that has affected ratings of Paanchvi….

“There was an element of novelty when KBC hit Indian television screens with its big prize money and unique concept. But the effect began to wear off when every other game show or reality show started offering big and then bigger prize money.

“Even KBC2 with Big B did not fare as well as the first season. Though TRPs picked up, riding the curiosity wave when SRK hosted the show, the done-to-death format did not allow him to take the TRPs beyond the earlier seasons,” said Priti Nair, national creative director of Grey Worldwide, a leading international ad agency.

Nair said Paanchvi’s problem lies in its concept. “The show failed to find its right target audience. After all, it’s based on asking adults Grade Five questions and showing them how dumb they are. There just isn’t enough there for adults. And though there’s a lot in it for children, there’s a problem also. While kids might get a laugh out of adults looking foolish, the antics of the participants with Shah Rukh can hardly be called kids’ fare — the flirting, advances and his repartees are all adult fare. So here’s the root of the problem— is the show for kids or for adults?” said Nair.

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