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Kaun Banega Crorepati popularly known as KBC is an Indian reality/game show based on the UK game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. It has been mostly hosted by Big B, Amitabh Bachchan. This article is about History of KBC, prize money of KBC, Who Pays the Prize Money of KBC? How much does KBC winner actually get? Why Channels want to host reality shows?
KBC returned to air in its 11 season with Bachchan resuming hosting duties as it premiered on 19 August 2019 airing on Sony TV. In this season the show’s tagline would be Kade Raho (Translate- Keep standing). The show currently airs from Monday to Friday from 9 to 10:30 pm IST (Special episodes air every Friday till 11 pm IST).
On Sep 14, 2019 Sanoj Raj from Bihar’s Jehanabad district was the first contestant of “Kaun Banega Crorepati” season 11 to win Rs 1 crore. He is studying for civil services,
He says he considers the money to be his father’s. He failed to get the right answer of the jackpot question worth Rs 7 crore.   “Who was the Indian bowler off whom Australian legend Don Bradman got a single to reach his 100th first class century?”. The question that made Sanoj a crorepati was: “The father of which Chief Justice of India was once chief minister of an Indian state?”
Kaun Banega Crorepati 11 got its second crorepati of the season September 19. Maharashtra’s Babita Tade, who works as mid-day meal cook, took home Rs 1 crore. Babita had revealed on the show that she cooks midday meal for around 450 kids in a day and is fondly called ‘Khichdi Kaku’. She earns Rs 1500 per month but still loves her job. She had said that she wanted to earn just enough prize money to buy a mobile phone.

She also tried to attempt the final question for Rs 7 crore but chose to quit for not being sure about the answer. Host Amitabh Bachchan asked the jackpot question, “Which of these states has had the most number of its governors become presidents of India?” The options were: A. Rajasthan B. Bihar C. Punjab D. Andhra Pradesh On being asked to guess the answer, Babita replied, Bihar which was indeed the right answer.

History of KBC

The quiz show, Kaun Banega Crorepati, is an adaptation of the British show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Except for the third season, which was hosted by Shah Rukh Khan, Big B has been in the anchor’s seat for all KBC seasons. Official website of KBC season

  • KBC Season 1, 2000–2001 :  The show first aired in 2000 and was hosted by Amitabh Bachchan on Star Plus
  • KBC Season 2, 2005–2006: On August 5, 2005, the show was restarted after a four-year hiatus, and renamed Kaun Banega Crorepati Dwitiya in which the final prize amount was doubled to 2 crore rupees.
  • KBC Season 3, 2007: Star Television roped in Shahrukh Khan to host the third season of the show starting from January 22, 2007. The grand prize amount of 2 crore rupees was still used in KBC3.
  • KBC Season 4, 2010:The fourth season was hosted by Amitabh Bachchan and started on October 11, 2010, on Bachchan’s 68th birthday on Sony Channel. According to online news sources, over five million (50 Lakh) people participated in KBC 4 auditions. The prize money was decreased to Rupees 1 crore but a jackpot question worth 5 crore was added.
  • KBC Season 5, 2011: The fifth season started on 15 August 2011 on the Independence Day of India with the same format and is hosted by Amitabh Bachchan.
  • KBC Season 6,2012-2013 : The season premiered on the 7th of September 2012.
  • KBC Season 7,2013  : Registration started from 9:00 PM on 27 June 2013. The season commenced on 6 September 2013, exactly after an year of KBC 6. The total prize money has been increased to INR 7 crore. Due to the huge jackpot of Rs. 7 crore, the season is also referred to as Kaun Banega MahaCrorepati (English: Who Wants to be a Multi-Millionaire)
  • KBC Season 8, 2014: The registrations of Kaun Banega Crorepati 8 commenced on 22 July 2014 and the shooting started on 2 August 2014. The grand premiere episode of the series premiered on 17 August 2014  at 8:30 PM for 3 hours. The season aired from on Monday through Thursday evenings. Initially running for 1.5 hours, the program reduced to an hour. The season ended on 6 November 2014, and aired its two grand finale episodes on 9 November and on 16 November 2014. The tagline for the season was “Yahan Sirf Paise Nahi, Dil Bhi Jeete Jate Hain” (English: Not only money here, hearts are also won).
  •  KBC Season 9, 2017 was from 28 August 2017 to 7 November 2017 on SONY TV. The season introduced a 16 question format, where the first 10 questions are timed :45 seconds for the first five questions and 60 seconds for the following five questions. In order to play the 16th question, the contestant must give up all remaining lifelines and the right to walk away after answering the 10th question correctly.  The 50:50 lifeline replaced Double Dip and the Three Wise Men lifeline was replaced by the Plus One (from the United States version). Phone-a-Friend (now sponsored by Jio) introduced video calls. The tagline of this season was “Jawaab dene ka Waqt aa gaya hai” (English: The time has come to answer). The show aired from Monday to Friday at 9:00 pm.
  • KBC Season 10: 2018: The show started registration on 6 June 2018 and started airing on Sony TV from 3 September 2018. The tagline for the tenth season is Kab Tak Rokoge (English: How long will you stop). In this particular season, the Phone-a-friend lifeline was replaced with the Ask The Expert lifeline

KBC prize money

The total number of questions available in the game have changed in various seasons. As the number of questions changed, so did the total prize money available. The kbc season 9 introduced a 16 question format, where the first 10 questions are timed:45 seconds for the first five questions and 60 seconds for the following five questions. In 2017, KBC introduced a jackpot question. If the contestant reached question 10 and answered it correctly, they can choose to play for the “Jio Jackpot” (named after one of the shows sponsors). If they elect to play for the Jio Jackpot, they will play six additional questions instead of five but they will have to forfeit any remaining lifelines and the ability to walk away. If they choose not to play for the Jackpot, the rules do not change and the play resumes as normal on question 11.

Question number Prize money for every question in kbc
Season 1 Season 2 & 3 Season 4 – 6 Season 7 Season 8 Season 9,10,11
16 7 crore
15 1 crore 2 crore 7 crore 1 crore
14 ₹50,00,000 1 crore 5 crore 7 crore ₹50,00,000
13 ₹25,00,000 ₹50,00,000 5 crore 3 crore 3 crore ₹25,00,000
12 ₹12,50,000 ₹25,00,000 1 crore 1 crore 1 crore ₹12,50,000
11 ₹6,40,000 ₹12,50,000 ₹50,00,000 ₹50,00,000 ₹50,00,000 ₹6,40,000
10 ₹3,20,000 ₹6,40,000 ₹25,00,000 ₹25,00,000 ₹25,00,000 ₹3,20,000
9 ₹1,60,000 ₹3,20,000 ₹12,50,000 ₹12,50,000 ₹12,50,000 ₹1,60,000
8 ₹80,000 ₹1,60,000 ₹6,40,000 ₹6,40,000 ₹6,40,000 ₹80,000
7 ₹40,000 ₹80,000 ₹3,20,000 ₹3,20,000 ₹3,20,000 ₹40,000
6 ₹20,000 ₹40,000 ₹1,60,000 ₹1,60,000 ₹1,60,000 ₹20,000
5 ₹10,000 ₹20,000 ₹80,000 ₹80,000 ₹80,000 ₹10,000
4 ₹5,000 ₹10,000 ₹40,000 ₹40,000 ₹40,000 ₹5,000
3 ₹3,000 ₹5,000 ₹20,000 ₹20,000 ₹20,000 ₹3,000
2 ₹2,000 ₹3,000 ₹10,000 ₹10,000 ₹10,000 ₹2,000
1 ₹1,000 ₹1,000 ₹5,000 ₹5,000 ₹5,000 ₹1,000

Helplines in Kaun Banega Crorepati

To help the contestant have a set of lifelines available for them to use. Which lifelines were available were dependent on the format being used.

  • 50/50: The computer would remove two wrong answers from the game leaving the contestant with one right and one wrong answer.
  • Audience Poll (or Ask The Audience): The studio audience would dial into a keypad what they believed was the correct answer to the question. The results of the poll are shown to the contestant.
  • Phone-A-Friend: The contestant could call a pre-selected friend or family member of their choosing to aid them in answering the question. Once connected, the aiding party and the contestant had 30 seconds to talk it out among themselves. In 2017, this became a video call instead of a voice call.
  • Expert Advice (or Three Wise Men): In seasons 4, 5, and 6, the “Expert Advice” (or “Three Wise Men”) lifeline was added to the pool of lifelines available. the producers would invite certain general knowledge experts or celebrities to come to the studio to aid the contestant. When invoked, the “Three Wise Men” were granted 30 seconds to discuss the question and the possible choices among themselves to come up with a consensus answer to relay back to the contestant who was often in earshot of the conversation. Once the time expired, the “Three Wise Men” were instructed to stop discussing the question and play resumed as normal.
  • Double Dip: this granted the contestant two chances to answer the question. However, invoking this lifeline removed the ability to walk away from the question. The contestant must answer twice with no further usage of lifelines. (They may use other lifelines before invoking Double Dip but not during the resolution of the lifeline.) In the event of a clocked game, the timer would stop for the first guess only. After that, if the first guess was wrong, the timer resumed counting down. If the contestant did not make their second guess before the time limit or if it was wrong, the contestant would walk away from the game with the lower threshold amount, if any.
  • Flip The Question (or Switch The Question or Switch): The current question would be thrown-out and replaced with a new question. Any lifelines expended on the original question remained expended.
  • Jodidaar (or जोडीदार, or Partner): in addition to having a person they can call on the phone, the contestant can also bring a designated family member or friend in to aid them in answering the question. (This person is designated by the contestant prior to the show.)

KBC Crorepati Winners

So far, there have been a few notable winners of KBC that have left with an amount of rupees 1 crore or more. what have they done with their money.

  • Harshvardhan Nawathe — 1st winner of KBC in 2000. He went for MBA from a University in UK. Now married with two children, Nawathe presently works with Mahindra & Mahindra.
  • Ravi Saini — Winner of the equally popular series KBC Junior in 2001. He was a class 10 student at that time when he participated in the show. He is all grown up now and serves the country in the capacity of an officer in the Indian Police Service.
  • Vijay and Arundhati Raul — Winner of KBC Jodi in kaun banega crorepati in 2001.
  • Ajay Devgan and Kajol — Winner of Biggest celebrity winners on KBC 2 in 18 Sep 2005.

season 2

  • Brajesh Dubey — Winner of KBC 2 in 2005

season 4

  • Rahat Taslim — Winner of 1 crore in Season 4 in 2010.  She opened a garment showroom in a mall in Giridih, where she lives

season 5

  • Sushil Kumar – Winner of 5 crore in Season 5 on 2 Nov 2011. According to the reports, he received a sum of ₹ 3.6 crores after the deduction of taxes. He spent it in building a house, buying farmland in his village, and establishing his kin and family. He is reportedly jobless and struggling for money.
  • Anil Kumar Sinha – Winner of 1 crore in Season 5 on 9 Nov 2011.

season 6

  • Manoj Kumar Raina – Winner Of 1 crore in Kaun Banega Crorepati 6 on 8 September 2012
  • Sunmeet Kaur Sawhney emerged as the winner of Rs.5 crore in Kaun Banega Crorepati 6 (episode aired on 12-Jan-2013)

season 7

  • Taj Mohammed RangrezWinner of Kaun Banega Crorepati 7 INR
    1,00,00,000 on Sept 12, 2013. He utilized the money in his daughter’s treatment for partial vision impairment, bought a house and funded the marriage of two orphaned girls.
  • Firoz Fatima Winner of 1 Crore in Kaun Banega Crorepati 7. The prize money helped Firoz repay the loan of Rs 12 lakh they took for the treatment of her father’s heart ailment,She used the money to stabilise the situation of her family.

season 8

  • Achin and Sarthak Narula both appeared as contestants on Kaun Banega Crorepati season 8 on 9 October 2014 and won 70,000,000 rupees, making this the first and only 7 crore winner. The brothers used the money for their mother’s cancer treatment and open a business of their own

season 9

  • Anamika Majumdar won 1 crore rupees in KBC season 9 on 3 October 2017. The homemaker and NGO worker from Jamshedpur is a commerce graduate and runs her own NGO called ‘Faith in India’.

Crorepati WinnersCrorepati Winners of KBC

Sushil Kumar

Sushil Kumar winner of 5 crore in Season 5 KBC

Anil Kumar Sinha won 1 crore in KBC 5

Anil Kumar Sinha won 1 crore in KBC 5

Kbc 6 crorepati winner Manoj Kumar Raina
Manoj Kumar Raina won 1 crore in KBC 6
Sunmeet Kaur Sawhney 5 crore in KBC 6 in Jan 2013

Sunmeet Kaur Sawhney 5 crore in KBC 6

kaun banega crorepati season 7 winner

kaun banega crorepati season 7 winners

kaun banega crorepati season 8 winner

kaun banega crorepati season 8 winner

kaun banega crorepati season 9 winner

kaun banega crorepati season 9 winner

Amitabh Bachan Charges for hosting KBC

In Season 11 Amitabh’s is charging 3 crores per episode. (Ref: Hindi Newspaper bhaskar)

In Season 10 for 75 episodes Amitabh’s deal was 200 crores around 2.6 crore per episode.

Initially, Big B would charge around Rs 2 crore per episode.

For season 9 Amitabh Bachchan was getting around Rs 2.75-3 crore per episode

KBC PRIZE Money and Tax

Under Section 194B of the Income Tax Act, 30 per cent tax is deducted on any prize money in excess of Rs 10,000 and other winnings from games, lotteries etc. This is deducted at source (TDS). The onus of depositing TDS is on the payer (the channel). It will deduct TDS and pay the winner the net amount. It will also issue the winner a TDS certificate. Winner has to declare prize money under ‘Income from other sources’ while filing his return. And, winner must submit the TDS certificate as proof that he has paid all the tax due against the prize money.


A multitude of game/talent shows opt for a combination of cash and kind. The tax liability on cash prizes can be arrived at by a simple calculation, but this is not the case with prizes in kind. Although the applicable tax rate is the same, that is, 30 per cent, it poses a challenge on two fronts — who bears the tax liability and what is the valuation of the prize?  Say, you win a car with a market value of Rs 7 lakh and the conditions require you to bear the tax liability. You will have to cough up atleast Rs 2.1 lakh tax, then surcharge and education cess. Then there are registration charges, road tax, octroi and insurance, which must be borne by the winner. The only alternative: Forego your award.

If  contestant wins a car or jewellery, these are considered assets. An appropriate valuation of these must be done to check if winner is crossing the threshold of Rs 30 lakh. If winner crosses the threshold, the amount in excess of Rs 30 lakh is taxable at one per cent And, this will have to be done annually, till winner hold these assets. Reference

In 2009 Harshvardhan Nawathe was re-visited by the tax man on his historic Rs 1 crore win on Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), . Read more..

Who pays for KBC?

Channel, currently, Sony pays the prize money. But not from its own pocket as it charges heavy rates from the advertising companies during the Chhota Sa Break. It is the advertisers who pay for the heavy cost of advertisements who in turn pass on the burden to the consumers or share holders. It is no guess who pays for “Kaun Banega Crorepati”- You the consumers.

broadcaster Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt. Ltd is expected to earn about Rs400 crore in advertising revenue from the show. Sony is estimated to have spent around Rs200 crore on producing the show, nearly 60% of which is said to comprise Bachchan’s remuneration. Kaun Banega Crorepati 9 has mobile network operator Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd as the presenting sponsor. Reliance Jio has paid close to Rs 100 crore for the deal. This is more than three times the Rs 30 crore that chocolate brand Cadbury paid last season.

The rates for other sponsors have gone up as well. The “powered by” sponsorship deal is said to have cost Chinese mobile handset maker Vivo Communication Technology Co. Ltd and India’s Capital Foods Pvt. Ltd-owned brand Ching’s Secret Rs50 crore each, a substantial increase from the Rs10-15 crore that brands paid in 2014. Associate sponsors including brands such as Raymond, Datsun, Axis Bank, Aakash Institute, Big Bazaar and Quick Heal have come on board for around Rs10-15 crore each, again a rise from the Rs5 crore the show demanded for associate sponsorship last season.

For KBC5, Sony channel has roped in Cadbury and Idea Cellular as the show’s title sponsors and Axis Bank, Hero Honda, Pepsi, Samsung, Maruti and Just Dial as its associate sponsors.. Rohit Gupta, president, MSM said, “KBC 5 will get an extended 13-week season with 56 episodes. Going by the popularity of the show last season, which saw the return of Amitabh Bachchan as the host, this season has attracted premium ad rates.” Sources indicate that every 10-second ad spot has been sold at R3.5 lakh. With this calculation the average revenue per day is likely to be Rs 2 crore.  Reference

Brand Integration in KBC

In KBC 5 Amitabh Bachchan started asking questions from the contestant on the hot seat with one-liner show ka karenge shubh aarambh (let’s start with the show). The moment the megastar says this, a strip appears at the bottom of the television screen, a visual of chocolate maker Cadbury’s popular ad campaign, Shubh Aarambh.  When Amitabh asks questions “”Computerji” viewer is drawn to Samsung Smart TV.

Brand integrations are abound in KBC, something visible from the first season of the show back in 2000, when Britannia did its popular 50:50 biscuit branding around the lifeline of the same name. The demand for integrations is on the rise, thanks to the ability it has to stand out in a cluttered environment, if done the right way. For TV channels, throwing in integrations serves as a hook to bait advertisers  because most integrations come at no extra cost to the advertiser, often a complementary offering by channels to help advertisers improve recall for their brands.  Sudhan Deo, business director at media agency Madison Media Infinity: “Definitely, it is a win-win situation for both the advertiser and the channel. The fact that it is not very expensive helps.” Deo was responsible for doing the cheque branding for Axis Bank on KBC this year and last year. He says, “Axis Bank is getting at least six to seven exposures per episode thanks to this branding exercise. The fit is bang on.” Reference

Reality Show Why?

Pamela Anderson makes a splash on Colors. Rakhi Sawant ratchets up tempers on NDTV Imagine. Akshay Kumar bullies nervous cooks on Star Plus or haseenas in Khatroon Ke Khialdi on Colors. Almost every entertainment channel has some reality show. For good reason: the volatile content helps create a buzz and spikes viewership ratings.

When a reality show is doing well —through scripted personality clashes or manufactured controversies — ad rates also shoot up. An ad slot in a reality show costs between Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 2.5 lakh for 10 seconds, compared with Rs 50,000 -Rs 1 lakh for 10 seconds for a soap. But while the latter has a steady and loyal viewership, reality shows can win or lose the ratings game suddenly.

Reality shows are expensive propositions. Channels pay celebrity anchors like Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar up to Rs 2 crore per day. For a 36-episode season, that could add up to around Rs 72 crore. The cost of production of a season of shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati, Bigg Boss etc, excluding anchor fees, could range between Rs 1.4 crore and Rs 1.6 crore. Again, most of the big-ticket reality shows are licensed (exceptions are homegrown shows like Rakhi Ka Swayamvar, Rahul Dulhaniya Le Jayenge or Rakhi Ka Insaaf). Industry estimates say the licence fees come to 10 per cent of the production cost. Add to that a marketing budget that can vary between Rs 5 crore and Rs 10 crore. Add to that a marketing budget that can vary between Rs 5 crore and Rs 10 crore. Industry estimates say that despite the brouhaha around reality shows, the channel earns around Rs 100 crore from a successful reality show, which is almost the same as the money that goes into production.

So why a reality show? They can suddenly boost the ratings of a channel and draw in new viewers. A top reality show commands 20-25 minutes of viewership in every hour of telecast. Soaps get about 10 minutes of viewership (for 30 minutes of telecast time). They are most efficiently used in marketing the channel’s other programmes. For example, ad breaks in a reality show like KBC are mostly used to peddle its own shows. The KBC platform in its 4th season reached 81 million viewers in the first week itself and Sony used it to launch two fiction shows — Tera Mujhse Hay Pehle Ka Nata Koi and Saas Bina Sasuraal. In KBC 5 Sony launched Kuch tu log kahenge. Reference

What makes KBC works?

In its ninth season run, KBC continues to be an audience favorite. The episode, featuring Anand Kumar, a mathematician and founder of educational programme Super 30,which aired on Sony Entertainment Television on 2 September 2017, is said to have received 6,798,000 impressions. After answering to seven questions, with assistance from his former student Anup Kumar, Anand won Rs 25 lakh.

Twenty-seven million viewers tuned in to watch Motihari’s Sushil Kumar win five crore on Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) 5. KBC has smashed TV ratings records again and again  Isn’t there such a thing as fatigue? Why KBC is such a success –

  • Is it because of the format- entertainment and General knowledge?
  • Is it because of the host Amitabh? Is it because of prize money?
  • Is it because of contestants?

KBC  gives a platform on which Indians transform their lives and realise their aspirations – substantially if not fully. And in KBC 5 there were contestants from further afield, from the interiors,with videos on each one of them, their lives and milieus, their hopes and disappointments, making viewer relate more deeply with the person on the hot seat in this life-changing game as the TagLine says “Koi bhi insaan chhota nahin hota” (no person is small) Hindustan Times:Five crore question What makes KBC work? talks about in detail.

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