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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lusting for eyeballs!!!

Roadies’ success made reality shows staple fare on GECs. They too wanted more than just housewives...

It was a real shocker when Rakhi Sawant’s mom Jaya walked the red carpet at the much hyped premiere of Big Boss 3. To live upto the high benchmarks of the drama dose set by her daughter, Jaya started her action packed, tear-jerking theatrics even before entering the Big Boss house. But poor Jaya is simply a part of the larger strategy of GECs to grab eyeballs. After the death of Kitchen politics on TV, sleazy wars between real people resulting in real drama and real tears (almost real) is the lethal weapon that channels are stacking up for TRP wars.

The positive side of the story is that channels are exploring various sub-genres within reality, giving a break to the audience from the overdose of music and dance shows. So you have shows on adventure and fear, on in house celeb politics, on wrestling , on parenting someone else’ kid et al. Moreover, reality shows that started as a weekend change fare now served as a daily staple on GECs. Star Plus leads the pack with two reality shows Aap ki kachehri and Perfect bride. Colors currently has Big Boss 3 on air after Khatron ka Khiladi 2 concluded recently. Sony has just launched Dance Premiere League. Imagine has the controversial Pati Patni aur Wo. “It’s all about making the drama real! With real tears of real people! Most of these shows are an exaggerated version of the fiction show”, says Sukesh Motwani, Creative Head, Zee TV.

This increased focus on reality content is because GECs are looking beyond housewives. And why not? When around 60% of the country’s population is below 30 years of age! And 93% of young India watches TV. The age group of 15–24 SEC AB spendS 2.5 hrs/day on TV, which makes them the highest TV consuming audience. Sunil Lulla, Director, Real Broadcasting says, “I think this is the time when channels have started looking at TV viewing habits from the demographic perspective too.” This strategy is paying well for the channels. Sach Ka saamna, the boldest show on TV, got impressive opening of 4.59. The finale of Rakhi ka Swayamvar on Imagine got 6.3 TRPs, highest in the channels’ history. Imagine quickly pick the clue and has already announced the second season of the Swayamvar with Rahul Mahajan. Also, the channel has another highly controversial show Pati Patni Aur Wo. Quiz the channel’s captain Sameer Nair about his deliberate strategy of roping in controversial celebs for eyeballs and he sheepishly admits, “People will watch the show only if the celebs are interesting.” Surprisingly, Zee doesn’t have any such shows. Motwani says, “We are not shying away from them. We will be exploring the space soon.”

So what if Big B’s charismatic presence failed to boost the TRPs of Big Boss, the channel is still hopeful that wanna-bees like KRK, Jaya, Sherlin Chopra, Shamita Shetty et al. will bring those eyeballs to the show which Big B failed to! Didn’t someone say everything is fair in love and war! Or Should we say in love for war!

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article.

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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