Now, reality shows take the digital route. Is this a wake up alarm for television? | tv | Hindustan Times
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Now, reality shows take the digital route. Is this a wake up alarm for television?

After web series, short films and fiction shows, it’s time for reality shows to try their fate on digital platforms. Will it be a big dent to TV channels? We find out.

tv Updated: Mar 08, 2018 17:51 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Remix, a new music reality show premiers on Amazon Prime on March 9.
Remix, a new music reality show premiers on Amazon Prime on March 9.

The digital platform is expanding and how! Exclusive web series, short films and fiction shows were anyway a big lure for netizens who prefer OTT (over-the-top) services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Alt Balaji and Viu over the good ol’ medium of television, when it comes to streaming the content of their choice as per their convenience. Now, you can add reality shows to that list.

For nearly two decades, TV channels have enjoyed exclusive rights to air popular international show formats in India — such as Kaun Banega Crorepati, Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, Bigg Boss, and Indian Idol among others — and have been instrumental in contributing to their popularity in India.

“Things are clearly changing. It’ll be good to see if a reality show can do as well as fiction or web series on the digital platform,” says musician Amit Trivedi, one of the judges on Remix, a new music reality show that premiers on Amazon Prime on March 9. It will have 10 teams of dynamic singers and DJ duos battle it out week after week.

When it comes to digital platforms, there’s convenience and ease of access as well, but good content is what matters to the audience the most, and OTT platforms are serving that on a platter! “Only if you make incredible content, people will spend money to watch it,” adds Trivedi.

But what has led to the growth of web-based shows? Trade analyst Amul Vikas Mohan credits the change in consumption patterns of the audience. “Web platforms give you the freedom to choose what you want to watch and stay loyal to what you like. That’s why they offer a great variety,” he says.

Film producer Rahul Mittra calls digital space the ultimate future, and adds, “Though subscribers are not that much at present, they are growing fast. Also, with content that’s liked world over, cheaper data plans and mobile phone connectivity, show makers in India also feel there’s a scope to do digital.”

If the idea clicks with the web-audience, experts foresee an eventual threat to TV. “It’s a wake up alarm for television. Although it won’t finish overnight, but to survive, TV will have to offer better content and engage with the audience,” says Mittra, adding, “Even films nowadays are being made keeping the satellite channels and digital space in mind.”

Trivedi agrees, and says, “TV is very big in India as compared to digital platforms, which is rapidly making its space in the market. Personally, I don’t watch TV, so I’m already converted.”

According to insiders, several TV channels were in the race to acquire rights to air Remix, which is based on the format of a hit international reality show, much like KBC is based on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Jhalak Dikhla Ja on Dancing With Stars, Bigg Boss is based on Big Brother and Indian Idol on American Idol.

But it’s OTT that emerged winner and will now air Remix, perhaps due to no TRP (Target rating point) pressure, says Mittra. TV channels monitor TRP ratings on a daily basis to measure the popularity of a show. “With so many reality shows already on TV, it’s a tough fight. In the web space, makers are more assured of getting worldwide audience and consumers,” adds Mittra.

Interact with Monika Rawal Kukreja at Twitter/@monikarawal