If you follow Tamil TV programmes, you can't have missed Bigg Boss, the latest reality TV show to hit the small screen.
Hosted by Kamal Haasan, the show premiered on June 24 on Vijay TV.
The premise of the show is that the contestants will be under lock-down in a house with all facilities for a period of 100 days, with surveillance cameras recording their every move except in the toilets and bathrooms. They will supposedly not have access to the outside world through TV, phone or Internet. Every week, a contestant will be voted out of the house.
With 15 contestants in the house who are mostly from the entertainment industry, the ratings data provided by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India show that the show got off to a decent start with 3.4 million impressions (Original Airing) for its launch episode.
However, since the time the show premiered, it has been much talked about and has mostly received negative feedback. From the Hindu Munnani Katchi making objections on "moral" grounds, to troll memes and videos about the show, there has been much discussion on it. Fans of Kamal Haasan have also lamented that their favourite actor, who has an intellectual bent of mind, should be pushed to hosting such a show.
Kamal for his part has repeatedly explained why he's doing the show, calling it a "social experiment" that would teach viewers about human behaviour.
But how has Bigg Boss held up since its launch? According to the BARC numbers accessed by TNM, in the first week of Bigg Boss, the show had an average of 3.6 million impressions (Original Airing).
How good or bad is the viewership of Bigg Boss Tamil when compared to other TV shows? Long story short: it's good, but not that good, and nowhere near as good as the top shows in Tamil television.
In the last week of June, Nandini, a serial on Sun TV, clocked an average of 13.7 million impressions.
The corresponding number for Bigg Boss during its first week was just 3.6 million impression This means that on the first day, Bigg Boss clocked 3.4 million impressions, and it only grew over the week to notch up 200,000 more impressions on an average.
However, it is probably not fair to compare the numbers between Bigg Boss and Nandini. Nandini is a TV serial, which as a segment could command a fairly higher audience, compared to reality shows like Bigg Boss. Notably, none of the top 5 shows are reality TV programmes, telling us that when it comes to the numbers game, the list is dominated by the TV serial segment.
Nandini is also on Sun TV, which has a larger audience when compared to Star Vijay. Also keep in mind that this was the first week of Bigg Boss, unlike Nandini which could have had a cultivated viewership over the months.
The bottomline, however, is that despite all the negative feedback and trolling, Bigg Boss has managed to keep a steady viewership graph from the time of its launch - according to the data on its first week performance, anyway. As they say, there is no such thing as 'bad' publicity.