Indian TV soaps have been known to cast a spell on the country’s women. But, with star-studded reality shows clashing with soaps during prime time, women are finding themselves sidelined as viewers.
Suneeta Nanda, a working woman, says that because of the reality shows, which her family loves, she misses out of her daily dose of soaps. Akanksha Paliwal, 35, is in a similar situation. “I loved watching Bidaai and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlaata Hai, but my family now prefers watching Kaun Banega Crorepati,” she says.While Colors and Sony air Bigg Boss 4 and 4 at 9pm, Zee TV and STAR Plus air soaps during that time.
Nitin Vaidya of Zee TV says viewership is more consistent with fiction shows than with reality TV. That is why they launched Preet Se Bandhi Ye Dori Ram Milaayi Jodi at a time other channels were busy announcing projects with stars such as Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan. “Non-fiction with film celebrities are a short-term phenomenon. They do not impact the serials beyond a point,” Vaidya says.
However, Danish Khan, of Sony Entertainment Television, says every channel must balance fiction and non-fiction shows. “It is important to give a mix to maintain loyalty from viewers,” Khan says. Namit Sharma of Wizcraft Television says, “Every high profile launch with big stars will give bumper ratings on the first day or week. Then, their ratings drop. However, ratings of TV soaps are mostly consistent.