Despite Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan anchoring the third season of big-ticket reality show Bigg Boss on Colors, data from aMap, the overnight ratings agency, showed that the launch episode aired on October 4 generated an average television rating point (TRP) of just 3.
This is not only less than what media agencies had anticipated, but also lower than the opening ratings of other popular reality shows, those that are running or have just concluded.
The first-episode ratings of reality shows like Raakhi Ka Swayamvar (starring Rakhi Sawant) on NDTV Imagine (TRP of 3.7), Aap Ki Kachehri anchored by ex-policewoman Kiran Bedi for the second season (TRP of 3.4) and Akshay Kumar-anchored reality show Khatron Ke Khiladi-2, also on Colors, was at 3.
Shah Rukh Khan-hosted Paanchvi Pass, the reality show on STAR Plus last year (TRP of 4) or KBC-3 (TRP of 5.8), also starring Khan in 2007, opened with which much higher viewership than Bigg Boss 3.
However, aMap says the ratings of Bigg Boss 3 are double those of Bigg Boss 2 last year when actor Shilpa Shetty was the anchor, or Bigg Boss 1, which aired on Sony Entertainment Television three years ago.
Bigg Boss 3 was watched by nearly 11 million viewers, almost double Bigg Boss 2, the viewership data shows.
Colors is quick to defend Bigg Boss 3 ratings. “The first episode was for nearly one-and-half hours compared to some other shows so the comparison with a 45-minute show is not fair.” “If aMap data shows a TRP of 3, it will be higher when the TAM numbers come out,” a senior executive of Colors said.
But advertisers have expressed strong faith in the show that has attracted top spenders such as Vodafone, Sunsilk, Garnier, Max New York Life insurance, and GM Chevrolet among others.
“It is an interesting show that has always received higher ratings.
Bigg Boss 3 will be able to sustain high viewership to meet our marketing objectives,” says a senior executive of a leading brand that has bought on-air sponsorship time on Colors.
The Bigg Boss reality show is based on the hit international show Big Brother in which 13 celebrities are locked in a house for 84 days and monitored round-the-clock by 40 cameras.
Each episode of the show industry sources aid cost the producers Rs 60-70 lakh — a figure that excludes Bachchan's payment.