Top reality TV shows that are yet to return

NEW DELHI: The top reality shows of Indian television, including the likes of Kaun Banega Crorepati, Big boss, are yet to fully recover from the 50% dip in viewers witness in 2020. Also this year, the viewership of the two main shows on Sony and Colors respectively is down 25-30%, said media buyers and entertainment industry experts .

Television Monitoring Bureau BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) India and channels such as Sony, Zee and Colors did not share any ratings or comments on declines in ratings sought by Mint.

Broadcasters and media buyers said that reality shows on TV were influenced by tent pole sports properties such as the second half of the Indian Premier League cricket which restarts in mid-September after a break by covid and the Cricket World Cup which lasted from half October to mid-November. The live sporting events coincided with the television of these shows on TV.

Surprisingly, a new show The big picture on Colors hosted by actor Ranveer Singh also lost steam after his debut in October, said a media buyer on condition of anonymity.

“Most of the non-fiction television franchises in 2020-2021 have seen a significant 25-40% drop in ratings of their pre-covid seasons. affecting ‘non-fiction cycle, most franchises have not been able to match the performance of pre-2020,’ said Keerat Grewal, partner at media consulting firm Ormax. In addition to movies and websites, Ormax tracks the popularity of TV shows, characters, and contestants.

Media experts said that reality TV genre can suffer from high cost, limited efficiency and minimal experimentation. “There is no formula for success, there are leading channels that have brought reality shows that did not work,” said Sujata Dwibedy, director of group trading, Amplifi India, dentsu, stressing that ratings will only drop, no matter how many channels may invest in non-fiction given the undeniable emergence of the digital medium.

“The shift to connected TV and OTT platforms is a reality seen in metros, non-metros and even the smallest cities. Public fragmentation has been at its peak as people consume content across different mediums and platforms. There is good and original content available everywhere, “said Dwibedy. She points to the behavioral change that is leading viewers to abandon their cable TV connections, such as DTH (direct-to-home) subscriptions, a phenomenon known as cord cutting.

Chandrashekhar Mantha, partner at Deloitte, said fiction-based shows have returned to their pre-covid levels or delivered better, but the same is not true for non-fiction. “One reason may be the overlap with sporting events, but there may also be content angles to it. These formats have been around for a long time and maybe broadcasters need to revamp them to keep the audience busy,” Mantha said.

Fiction, on the other hand, has a loyal fan base and audiences usually develop connections with individual characters whose journeys they want to follow. At the same time, the dip in ratings could mean that viewers have diversified, and that the target audience for non-fiction has shifted to a second device, he pointed out.

While it is likely that some viewers will see these shows on streaming platforms and connected televisions, these are not yet measurable.

“The agencies and advertisers will eventually also assess the buzz around these non-fiction shows, their social ratings, interviews, etc. The evaluation metric will have to be non-linear and only independent of available ratings,” Dwibedy said.

That said, a look at the packed list of advertisers and sponsors indicates the appeal and power of non-fiction shows that command almost twice the CPRP (cost per rating point) of fiction shows, said Mansi Datta, chief client officer and head, north and east at mediaburo Wavemaker India.

A senior director at a broadcast network said that fiction shows may have made a stronger comeback after the pandemic, but non-fiction has been a safe, though stagnant genre even for covid.

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