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Old 12-13-2008, 02:08 PM
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Default Same songs, same moves, Reality shows routine

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There’s clearly been too much of it — switch on any general entertainment channel on the weekend and it’s most likely that you will have to watch a song-and-dance “reality” routine. Same songs, same moves. And if a debut show has been successful (think Nach Baliye and Indian Idol), then be sure there will be extended seasons of the same show every year. But there’s hope around the corner. With General Entertainment Channels (GEC) sprouting by the minute and competition fierce for eyeballs, channels are experimenting with the format and timing of reality shows. So, when Viacom 18 launched its GEC Colors, it gave viewers two outside-the-studio reality shows, Fear Factor, which was a roaring success, and the second season of Bigg Boss. Both were also aired on weekdays.

The tweaking of reality shows to keep the TV ratings high is bound to happen, says one analyst. But industry experts feel that it is important to exploit the success of a reality show to the fullest and successive seasons help in cashing in on its brand value. A second season of a popular show is thus viewed as a good opportunity to recover money.
Zee TV, Star Plus and Sony have all launched yet another season of their reality shows — Sa Re Ga Ma Pa (touted as the longest running reality show on Indian television), Nach Baliye 4, and Indian Idol 4 respectively.
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Old 12-13-2008, 02:09 PM
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Says Danish Khan, Marketing Head, Sony Entertainment Television: “Reality shows can experience a high profitability only if the first season of the particular show has been successful. Through adequate market research, the channels can gauge whether the content is high on entertainment value and has a long life.”
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But are these consecutive seasons of the same reality show really viable for TV channels?
Well, it is not as if the viewers are complaining, not yet. Says Anooj Kapoor, Business Head, SAB TV: “Despite the overdose of reality shows on TV, this genre is quite popular with the masses.” Yet he admits that any reality show that is not the usual song-and-dance routine appeals more to the audience.

Judging by past records, the television rating points (TRPs) of consecutive seasons are mostly good. For instance, while last year Indian Idol 3 debuted with a TVR of 3.66 (as per TAM Media Research data on C&S 4+, HSM), this year the show has managed to garner an average TVR of 4 in its first two episodes. Nach Baliye 3 too managed to attain good TRPs at an average of 6.3 in its first episode. (Nach Baliye 4 went on air on Friday, October 17). According to a media planner, “Most reality shows manage to garner good TRPs in its consecutive seasons as there is always greater anticipation from the show after the first season is successful. But the flipside to this is that the channel has to promote the next season in an even more aggressive manner.”

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Ideally for most GECs, the marketing spends for a reality show is almost 40% more than that of a fiction sitcom. Also, the promotional spends for an upcoming season is almost two to three times more than the previous season.
While a reality show like Indian Idol may spend around Rs 5 crore to Rs 8 crore on its promotional activities, a fiction show may require an initial investment of around Rs 2 crore for the initial thrust.
Earlier, reality shows hit TV channels on weekend prime time slot. But Viacom 18’s GEC Colors changed that format. And successfully too. It managed to acquire good TRPs by heavily promoting two of its reality shows — Fear Factor and the second season of Bigg Boss (the first season was aired on Sony). The channel thus managed to acquire the number two position alongside Zee TV due to the strong TRPs through Bigg Boss.
Reality shows don’t breed boredom, believes Ravi Menon, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Star One. He reasons, “Since the shows last not more than 13 to 14 weeks due to its format being quite short-lived, it makes perfect sense to have a sequel for these shows.”

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Looking into the future, an analyst predicts, “the genre which is physical in nature and where action takes place outdoors will appeal more to the masses than the present in-studio format. For instance, Fear Factor and Bigg Boss capture more eyeballs than dance shows. More such shows will hit prime time TV,” he adds.
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