By Shashank Saurav:
When you see a reality show for the first time, you will have a different opinion to give depending on your interests and area of expertise. If you are an average viewer you will either like it or dislike it based on your taste. Most people tend to enjoy the whole entertainment package that comes with such shows. So its most likely that you will end up becoming a regular viewer although you might not appreciate the format.
If you are a political activist or are involved in social welfare then you will rail against these shows especially the ones featuring kids. The general angst (with insufficient knowledge) would be the fact that channels exploit children, that they are projected in the wrong light and in the rush for fame even parents get embroiled in this race when their kids are voted out.
If you are a middle class man with a constant source of income and a family to look after, your favorite contestant will be the one who belongs to your state or region. You will definitely vote for him even if he is mediocre or less talented.
If you are a teenager with a straight head and own a mobile, then you will ogle at all the scantily clad female contestants. You might vote for them if they are charming and glamorous otherwise you will think twice before touching your mobile phone and spending 3 Rupees from your account.
If you have gone through articles on reality shows you must have noticed how most of them are critical of the format and the policy adopted by these shows. I can’t blame them because at first sight most of these shows (take Rakhi Ka Swayamvar for example) seem worthy of denunciation, but on careful consideration you will have to appreciate the marketing scheme which is employed by these shows.
The voting system lays the foundation for this elaborate design. The SMS cost for voting is generally higher than the normal charges. Plus they continuously show the voting details of every contestant in order to remind you that your vote is being eagerly awaited. However the idea of limiting one vote per mobile was a novel one. It was done in order to prevent family members of contestants to cast many votes in their favour.
Advertisements are associated with every show. But in reality shows even all the accessories are advertised. At the end of the show the names of all the fashion houses, retail outlets or designers who dressed up the contestants are duly announced. You cannot switch channels because you are waiting for the results. Besides a brand name like Pagli is sure to grab your attention making you wonder what is it that they make.
Other than playing with the future of the contestants, these shows also excel in flirting with the sentiments of the public. They will tease the crowd, turn them wild with ebullience, make them ecstatic and at the same time bring out their maudlinism. Often dramas are staged on the sets in order to make the viewer experience different types of emotions. Therefore if you have a low E.Q. try becoming a regular viewer of these shows.
Besides all this, reality shows have a huge potential to exploit the TRP. The number of advertisements they bring in, the amount of viewership associated with them and the enormous popularity they enjoy especially among the masses in smaller towns is both fantabulous and amazing.
Therefore although most of us simply see the glitz and the glamour associated with these reality shows, a whole lot of thinking and planning goes on behind these shows in order to turn them into a lucrative investment for the producers.
The writer is a Correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz and also a student of BITS Pilani, Goa Campus.