(Updated at 17 November 2010 11:20 pm)
(17 November 2010 7:30 pm)
NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: The government has clamped down on two controversial reality shows, Bigg Boss and Rakhi Ka Insaaf, pushing them from peak primetime viewing hours to an 'adult' time zone that could have an adverse impact on their ratings and revenues.
Pulled up for their raunchy content, the government has allowed these shows to run only between 11 pm and 5 am. Big Boss 4 airs daily at 9 pm on Colors and Rakhi Ka Insaaf at 10 pm (Friday-Saturday) on Imagine TV, time slots that are popular among TV viewers and advertisers.
There is also a ban on repeat on any other time band for these two shows, according to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, which says both shows are not for universal viewing. News channels are also banned on airing these shows or clips thereof.
The government has also decided to ban SS Music, a multi-lingual music channel, for seven days for allegedly showing nudity.
A recommendation had been made to the Ministry on 15 November in a meeting of the Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) comprising representatives of the ministries of Information and Broadcasting, and various child rights and women’s rights organisations.
The meeting had also discussed the programme Emotional Atyachaar on Bindass, but the Ministry has so far not taken a decision on this reality show
Ministry officials admitted there had been several complaints about objectionable content in these three programmes and there were reports of a youth committing suicide after being insulted by show host Rakhi Sawant in Rakhi ka Insaaf.
The IMC in its meeting on 15 November viewed the programmes, Rakhi ka Insaaf and Bigg Boss Season 4, tapes. It said that Rakhi Sawant in the reality show Rakhi Ka Insaaf asks certain questions to the participants relating to their personal lives which are not found suitable for unrestricted public exhibition, and she uses abusive language. It has also been noted that participants often reveal intimate details of their relationships, resulting in great embarrassment to the viewers watching the programme along with their families and also to the participants in the show. Participants are often shown quarrelling in the programme and hurling abuses on each other.
The Ministry accepted the recommendation of the IMC and has directed Imagine TV and Colors channels to shift the programmes to anytime after 11 pm and modify the content in accordance with the Programme Code with effect from 17 November.
The channels have also been directed to run scrolls on the television screen to the effect that the programmes are not suitable for children. They are further directed to ensure that there are no transmissions/retransmissions of the programmes between 5 am to 11 pm. The channels should also ensure that no clippings of the programmes are provided to any other News/Non News channel for telecast at anytime during the restricted time zone from 5 am to 11 pm.
Any further violation of the Programme Code may entail more stringent action in future including suspension or prohibition of broadcast, the notices to the channels said.
The National Commission for Women also objected to the language used on Rakhi ka Insaaf. Commission chairperson Girija Vyas said the Commission had issued an advisory to Imagine TV.
Coincidentally, Aaj Tak today telecast interviews with an estranged couple who said their relationship had worsened after the woman took the case to Rakhi ka Insaaf.
Interestingly, the Ministry had issued warnings to Colors during the telecast of Bigg Boss season 2 on 3 June last year and during the screening of Bigg Boss Season 3 on 18 December last year.
While Colors has been issued four warnings (including the two for Bigg Boss), Imagine TV has been warned twice during the last three years for different programmes.
A total of 14 channels including Colors, Imagine TV and Bindass have been issued warnings between two to four times for different programmes during the last three years.
So how deeply will the time shift hurt the ad revenues of the two reality shows?
Mindshare leader, South Asia R Gowthaman believes this is a very important order and will have a huge impact on the channels. “It will definitely impact the ratings and revenues of the channels. At 11 pm, the ratings are going to drop significantly and we have to reconsider our investments on these shows,” he said.
An example of how ratings can be damaged due to a late night shift is Star Plus’ Sach Ka Saamna.
Says Lodestar Universal COO Nandini Dias, “The late primetime (11 pm) slot usually has lower viewership. This may possibly impact on the ratings of the two shows. And advertisers, who must have done agreements based on the primetime airing of these shows, will definitely review their deals.”
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