On an average, a popular reality television show gets about 7 million cell phone text messages each episode.
At Rs 4 per SMS, that adds up to Rs 28 million per episode.
Over a year (52 weeks), that is an astounding Rs 1,460 million.
On a 50:50 split between the channel and the mobile operator, that works out to Rs 730 million to the channel.
All that money from just one reality show.
To get the SMSs in, they will motivate, inspire, incite, instigate and also lure you.
All you people who vote/SMS for reality shows, please note that you are part of a business strategy carefully drawn up in the boardroom and executed carefully by the director.
The regional/language/parochial/sympathy/failing-in-love cards are freely used. If all of them don't work, then you have a chance to win jewellery, a car, etcetera, etcetera.
And yes, you can vote as many times as you wish. The more you vote, the greater the chance of your favourite contestant winning. And you have a chance to win too.
Anything to make you send a simple SMS.
'Aapka ek SMS ek career bacha sakta hain(one SMS from you can save a career).'
Beg. Beg. Beg.
By the way, do you remember any of the following: Pratichee Mahapatra, Neha Bhasin, Mahua Kamat, Sangeet Haldipur, Vasudha Kamat, Neeti Mohan, Jimmy Felix?
I am sure you would know Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal and the latest Naresh Iyer.
Well, the former lot were the discoveries of a reality show and the latter emerged out of talent shows.Sting Bytes
While surfing news channels, I was forced to stop and watch CNN-IBN. After all, it was Rajdeep Sardesai, at his vocal best, telling the viewers, including me, that 'it is not like any other sting operation. We haven't caught a small time policeman taking a bribe."
All the efforts of other channels are like 'any other' sting operation.
By the way, I wonder why CNN-IBN also didn't give a name to their sting too. How about Operation Draupadi?
Recently, I watched an 'exclusive' interview on Aaj Tak, Headlines today, Times Now, CNN-IBN, NDTV, A to Z TV etcetera.
The interview was of former Mumbai police 'encounter specialist' Daya Nayak. And all channels had an 'exclusive.'
My apologies to channels not named here, I am sure I will name you some other time on some other 'exclusive' you do.The Simi Aunty Show
On a Sunday night, I tried to catch the Simi Garewal Show, in its all new avatar. While I was flicking through the channels searching for the show, my better half said, "Oooohhh, your faaather neverr huggged youuu?"
Embarrassed, I switched off the television.Real Heroes
Have you seen the entire Bollywood fraternity come crawling to the annual show staged by the Mumbai police?
One actor says, 'Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. You serve the city so well and it is our turn to serve you.'
But Karan Johar, a person I have enormous respect for, takes the cake. He says, 'My father said, "Beta, Agar aap ke saar pe bhagwan, maa baap aur Mumbai police ka haath hai, to koi aapka kuch nahi bigaad sakta hain(If you have the blessings of your parents and the Mumbai Police, no one can touch you)"'