Impact of Reality Shows on Society

By Vijaykumar, SiliconIndia   |   Monday, 26 March 2012, 06:04 Hrs
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An attempt has been made to explore opinion of the students, research scholars, homemaker and teaching faculty’s regarding their consumption patterns of reality television, their rationale for watching reality shows, their perceptions of the situations portrayed on these shows. The impact of these shows on the society was also studied on the basis of the responses received from a sample of 100 respondents in the city of Gulbarga, Karnataka. Results reveal interesting information on the typed of television programmes viewed, the ratings of the most watched reality shows and their impact on society. The nationwide criticism that Reality Shows on TV succeed in hiding the socioeconomic realities in India is not wholly ignored in this study.


The media put our environment in perspective by giving several aspects, meaning and explanations relating to it. They help establish our agendas by giving us things to think and talk about; they help us become socialized into our communities and political system and to participate in change when necessary; and they help us cope with or escape from life’s realities in a variety of ways. In short, the greater our need to belong, to understand, to cope with several situations and the greater our reliance on the mass media. Hence the media must have some pervasive influence on our thoughts, beliefs, values, and even our behavior. Television is a popular and powerful medium that both imitates and influences culture. For many people, television is a primary source of information and entertainment. It is a window into a different world an opportunity to view people, place, and things that we may not have experienced firsthand. In an increasingly global society, television shapes society’s perception of the world.

Reality television, they say, breaks the monotony by creating interesting concepts and innovative ideas that made them stand out from the regular shows. With the worldwide small screen sector coming up with new concepts for reality shows, India too is in the race to project good and original concepts. Every day on television, some new reality shows are being introduced, enabling the viewers to choose to choose from a large menu of many shows. Reality television is a genre of television programming that presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and usually features ordinary people instead of professional actors, sometimes in a contest or other situation where a prize is awarded. Reality shows have become the order of the day, attracting and wooing the audiences in all age-group. With the advent of shows like Antakshri and Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, the music reality shows, Indian television industry saw a new wave generated in the genre of Reality Television shows back in early 1990s and since then there has been all kinds of reality shows and perspectives like MTV Bakra, Nach Baliye, Kaun Banega Crorpati, Jhalak Dikhlaaja, Big BossSwayamvar, etc. According to Hight (2001), most assumptions about the psychology of reality television viewership are derived from textual analyses of reality-based programs, rather than research involving audiences. Thus, it calls for investigations of reality-based programming based on the assumption that such programmes may implicate a network of social, economic, and political changes in modern society and hence the study attempts to determine impact of reality shows on the society.

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