Dance India Dance Season Three has become the first Indian reality show to introduce a no-cost method of public voting. The audience, that usually spends Rs 4 to Rs 6 per SMS and premium rates for phone calls, can now vote for their favourite contestants on the show without spending a rupee out of their pocket.
Each contestant on the Zee TV show, judged by actor Mithun Chakraborthy, has been allotted an individual phone number on which viewers can dial, wait for one ring, and cut the line to register support.
Ashish Golwalkar of Zee TV admits the missed-call-for-support idea that became popular with social activist Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement last year, inspired the channel. “It’s a tried-and-tested method. Last year, we observed last year that crores voted to pledge their support to Anna and his team. And one of the reasons was the fact that no one was spending a rupee,” he points out, adding, “It works psychologically.
The minute there’s no expense, everyone extends support or in the case of a show, casts votes without the fear of losing money. By everyone, we mean middle-class youngsters, who have less money in their pockets and people from remote areas of the country, who don’t earn much.”The channel’s move is also meant to combat allegations regarding the system of public voting that crops up each time a reality show ends.
“Regardless of what we say, no one really believes that channels don’t make money out of public voting done through SMSs and calls. With this method, I’m sure people will understand we’re not trying to make money. We only want to implement a clean system of voting,” says Ashish, adding, “Besides, no one can cast more than one vote for
That way, we’re hoping the best candidate wins, and we have a complete record of the votes that can be audited.”