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Bollywood's romance with TV is on despite rise of OTT

OTT might be the rage right now, but Bollywood simply cannot get over its obsession with television. From Amitabh

OTT

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  8 Dec 2020 5:20 AM GMT

OTT might be the rage right now, but Bollywood simply cannot get over its obsession with television. From Amitabh Bachchan to Salman Khan to Sunny Leone, the busiest of our filmstars keep returning to the small screen, to host shows, make special appearances on soaps to promote films and also as mentors or judges on reality TV.

The most popular and enduring example has to be Amitabh Bachchan, who remains committed as host of "KaunBanegaCrorepati" despite his busy schedule in Bollywood. Big B has hosted the show over consecutive seasons through two decades, except for season three when Shah Rukh Khan took his place. With KBC 12 currently on air, Big B has lost none of the edge.

Unlike OTT, which is still carving its space in the popular psyche, television gives a big advantage to filmstars. Given the recurring nature of hit shows, returning every year with a new season lets celebrities like Big B or Salman maintain their brand power as family icons, and take the image right into the living rooms.

Salman Khan, for instance, has been hosting "Bigg Boss" for years now, and has emerged as the big draw for the show, more than the contestants about whom the programme is actually supposed to be about. Viewers eagerly wait for the weekend episodes where Salman appears, to share his opinions on the participants' actions in the Bigg Boss house. Top stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, ShilpaShetty and ArshadWarsi have also served as hosts of "Bigg Boss", though Salman has come to be the mascot of the show over the years. It is something that sustains his mega-popularity even during phases of the calendar when he might not be in the news for his films.

There is more to come. "Indian Pro Music League" will be launched early in 2021 and it will be big in terms of Bollywood presence. It will have six teams owned by the likes of actress ShraddhaKapoor along with her father Shakti Kapoor and brotherSiddhantKapoor. The other owners are RajkummarRao, Govinda and wife Sunita, and RiteishDeshmukh with wife Genelia D'Souza Deshmukh, representing different regions of India and battling out in a musical championship.

"TV in India is still the dominant medium as it has the largest viewer base and it continues to grow year on year. Even during the pandemic, TV viewership has seen significant growth as compared to other mediums. OTT, on the other hand, might have made a good mark and is popular among a certain segment of the audience, but its penetration as compared to television is still less," Manisha Sharma, Chief Content Officer, Hindi Mass Entertainment, Viacom18, told IANS.

She added: "Even from the advertisers' standpoint, big-ticket shows like 'Bigg Boss', 'KhatronKeKhiladi', that have a mass appeal, are best suited for the television audience and will continue to reign on the medium."

"We have Salman Khan hosting 'Bigg Boss', Madhuri Dixit as a part of 'Dance Deewane' and we will also continue to have (director) RohitShetty for 'KhatronKeKhiladi'. Apart from that, we are also looking at exploring new concepts and will rope in more Bollywood actors as they deem fit," Sharma pointed out.(IANS)

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