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Bigg Boss, are you counting my votes?

Does Bigg Boss value Public opinion and voting? It is a million-dollar question that boggles the thought of millions of viewers around the world. For instance, if we consider Telugu Bigg Boss Season4, a series of recent evictions from the house for the past few weeks rekindles this question among the viewers. It is not just confined to a region and a language but finds its appeal almost everywhere in India. Before we further dig into the topic, let's understand a few things.

A brief history of Bigg Boss in India

Bigg Boss made its way into India through Bigg Boss Hindi, which was an adaptation of Big Brother. John de Mol Jr was the creator of the show Big Brother it was close to the model Celebrity Big Brother which was owned by Endemol Shine Group. It was the first launch in the year 2006, with a set built in Lonavala. From the Hindi Language, it spread to other regional languages and states. Bigg Boss Telugu started in the year 2017, hosted by Jr NTR.

Celebrities stayed in the house as housemates. Every week a housemate who got fewer votes would leave the house until a winner emerged. The winner of the game emerged from public voting. No matter which language it is or whichever season it was, Bigg Boss was always in controversies. It was the Sony-TV channel that launched Bigg Boss in India. From the following year, Colors have been telecasting the show.  

Voting Process of Bigg Boss 

Bigg Boss Voting process is available both Online and Offline methods. In the Online process, viewers have two options either they can Vote Online through Mobile Application or the Bigg Boss Website. The details about these two procedures in detail are present on their respective language websites. For offline voting, the only method that has been present is through Giving Missed Call. 

TRP's for Bigg Boss 

TV shows try to garner good TRP ratings, as it keeps the production values of the show in green. Bigg Boss is no exception to this. From the inception of Bigg Boss, it got the best TRP ratings.  Bigg Boss team always makes sure it picks the right contestants who prove to be a boon to the ratings of the show. The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) gives the TRP ratings for the daily soaps and shows. As a comparison with the big wigs of TV shows such as the IPL cricket league, Amitabh Bacchan's quiz show, etc., Bigg Boss seems to be giving a tough competition. Bigg Boss team analyses these TRP trends and comes up with challenges within the house that keep the audience stay glued to the Television. Also, they try to stir-up conflicts between the housemates or contestants, which makes the show interesting.  

Gossip fodder provided by the contestants of the Bigg Boss show gives the fans of the contestants enough content to enjoy. Fans of the contestants often taken it to their social media handles and share their thoughts and opinions about the strategies, gossip, and ideologies.  

Fans often take to their social media handles to share their opinions and thoughts on the episodes and the contestants' game strategies. All this adds to the publicity and curiosity about the show, which in turn impacts the show's TRP's, a probable reason because of which TRP's for the show exceedingly increase as the game progresses.  

Bigg Boss Telugu Season 2, which was hosted by Nani, saw an incredible rise in the TRP ratings. From the beginning of Season 2 in Telugu, the show had many controversies. Controversies are a part of Bigg Boss the more is the controversy, the better is the TRP rating. It was for the first time that there was an army of fans formed, not seen in previous seasons. 

Model-turned-actor Kaushal Manda, who was one of the contestants in Bigg Boss season 2 Telugu, became a popular household name in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh after he won season two. An episode of bullying against Kaushal saw an unprecedented rise in his image and the show's TRP. So, on the whole, controversy is a prelude to the rising TRP of the show.  

Akkineni Nagarjuna hosting Bigg Boss Telugu Season 3 and Season 4, has elevated the show to new heights. Especially, Nagarjuna hosting season 4 has garnered record viewership.

The show registered a swashbuckling TRP rating of 18.5, which in comparison to previous seasons, was a much better figure. The show amassed a TRP of 20.6 in Hyderabad, and to add to this the premier episode hosted by Nagarjuna had 40% viewership by the Hyderabad population. This means it has a 20% hike as compared to previous seasons. BiggBoss Season 1 hosted by Jr NTR recorded a TRP of 14.13, while Season 2 hosted by actor Nani got 15.05 TRP. So far, the grand finale hosted by Nagarjuna recorded the highest TRP Ratings of 18.29.

Role of PR agencies in Bigg Boss

All the contestants except a few who enter Bigg Boss house happen to be celebrities. Usually, these celebrities have to maintain their image in public engagement mediums such as social media, press, print media, etc., to make their presence felt. So they need external help in managing their image. Celebrities who become household names ought to have a PR firm's support on board. The media keeps watching them, and they need someone to manage their appearance. At times PR firms even handle scandalous rumors from spreading and let the public know the reality behind the scenes.

A celebrity or an entertainer may not handle all their situations alone. Doing so, they could be at the risk of quickly ruining their reputation, which they've built over the years. A probable reason why they have some of the top PR firms backing them. PR firms handle their social media accounts, messages, etc., to make sure they are active in social circles. 

Now, these PR agencies can influence the votes, create opinions, and improve the graph of a contestant in the Bigg Boss house. It is a big concern shared by the evicted contestants from the house. PR firms can also indulge in maligning the opponents, spreading rumors about them, and demeaning their position concerning a particular contestant in the Bigg Boss House.  

Contestants of Bigg Boss Season 4 have been complaining about a fellow contestant Abijeet Duddala, who they feel had made arrangements much before entering the house. Abijeet, before he entered the Bigg Boss House, was not a great celebrity, who was well known to all. He hardly had any big hits to credited to his account. His performance in the house was never impressible, as he always refrained from taking up physical challenges set by Bigg Boss. He was not even part of any controversy in the Bigg Boss house, nor raised any brows taking a stand for a contestant. Yet, he was always confident of topping the voting charts, while others who toiled in the Bigg Boss House always feared eviction. Often, he piqued fellow contestants' emotions to nominate him for evicting from the show. From the very first day, he was confident about his journey in the Bigg Boss show and exuded confidence, which pointed fingers towards him. Although he is just like any other contestant in the Bigg Boss house, he behaved like a superstar. To support the claim made by the evicted contestants, he topped every chart on the unofficial voting sites, and on top of it, all the votes were by accounts created a few days back.   

Endemol shine group brushed aside these claims saying that they had a robust IT wing that could identify any abnormal traffic from a particular IP address or a social media account. The evicted contestants have their set of doubts about the robustness of the Endemol shine group's IT wing.  

Voting controversies in Bigg Boss? 

In the recent Bigg Boss season-13 in the Hindi language, Asim Riaz fans were irked for not getting a chance to vote enough for him. A technical glitch did not allow them to cast their votes in favor of their favorite contestant. The glitch was by an unprecedented glitch in a mobile application, which omitted Asim's name from the nomination list, so the fans had no option to vote. Although the Bigg boss team cleared the glitch, it was too late. Asim was out of the house, irked fans hit out at Bigg Boss on all social media platforms. There was no relief for Asim.    

The gaining popularity of the show is evident from the TRP ratings and the number of votes every week it gets for its contestants. There are different thoughts about this voting system of the game. People doubt, is it worth voting for the contestants in the game show. Often contestants, who, according to the viewers, are strong get evicted from the game show. To add to this speculation, evicted contestants also propose theories, which fortify the idea. It all sums up to one point does Bigg Boss consider the votes of viewers?

The voting controversy in Bigg Boss was not just to Hindi Bigg Boss, was common in regional languages as well. Bigg Boss Telugu Season 4 sparked controversy when a housemate by the name of Kumar Sai evicted. The week he was sent out, he performed well and was close to becoming the captain of the house. Every unofficial poll during the week placed him in the top two spots. Despite these facts in favor of him, he got evicted, and a weak contestant got saved. It gave way for new thought, does Bigg Boss Team evict housemates based on public votes, or is it more dependent on a contestant's screen presence, the chemistry they have with fellow contestants, and the entertainment factor?  

Even though Endemol Shine Group, the makers of the Bigg Boss, strongly advocate their policy that it's the viewers who decide the eviction, doubts still exist. Often viewers also feel that the makers of the Bigg Boss favor specific contestants and target others. This favoritism is attributed to the hosts of the show as well. Fearing these opinions, few hosts for the show have backed-off from hosting for the next season. As the hosts felt it could damage their reputation and fan base. Yet, others have been hosting season after the season, unless they had strong reasons to forfeit the chance.  

Then why this confusion? 

Off late evicted contestants have sparked this controversy. Even websites that took the opinion of people and gave statistics from their polls have added to this. Every other time Bigg Boss team had made it clear that it's the people's mandate that makes a housemate safe or goes evicted from the house. So websites that claim the eviction is not just present the data they have from the opinions and polls they gather on the website, but the Bigg Boss team does not consider this. Endemol Shine Group clearly states that only those votes that people cast to the contestants through their website or by giving a missed call on the specified number are only into consideration. They shift the onus of voting it right onto the viewers for supporting their favorite housemates. 

While public forums, websites, youtube channels, and the eliminated contestants argue with the point that those who support their favorite housemates on social media platforms stay even more responsible to browse the authentic site and vote for their favorite contestants. There is also widespread speculation that most of the contestants in the house have already set up their collaboration with PR agencies before entering the house. There is another news abuzz in social media that it's the Bigg Boss team who decides the elimination process, and also that the show goes following a script. 

Whatever the reasons are and what people speculate, Endemol Shine Group, the makers of Bigg Boss, clarify that votes polled only through their authenticated channels are valid. They also cleared the doubts off the air about PR agencies, that they have a mechanism in place to detect unusual voting to any of the contestants. 

The best way would be to make the voting numbers public and build trust among the viewers about their authenticity. The contestants also have a right to know about the votes they get. If that data is open to all, there will not be any scope for controversies.  

Bigg Boss is an entertainment show, and entertainment shouldn't turn into fatigue for the viewers. Pestering the viewers with a job to vote for their favorite contestant is not a fair practice, as most of the viewers may not be in a position to vote even though they like a contestant. The eviction process has to be better. Candidates have to be evicted based on their performances during the weekly tasks. It will make sure that every contestant in the house performs well and entertain the viewers. Bigg Boss has to proactive in clearing the controversies in the Bigg Boss house and has to work towards strict implementation of rules in the Bigg Boss house. Implementing the strict rules exposes the black sheep in the herd and makes the job of eviction easier. Makers of Bigg Boss house should also take an undertaking from the contestants that if they retort to any improper means to gain undue advantage, they will be expelled from the show. It creates a sense of responsibility and seriousness among the participants. Well, these are some thoughts that can be effective, but it's the Bigg Boss makers Endemol Shine to come with better plans, till then viewers keep voting for your favorite contestants irrespective of the outcome. 

Die-hard fans of the contestants off-late have been complaining about the Bigg Boss Team controlling the screen space of certain contestants. Bigg Boss Season 4 contestant Divi has become the center of such a discussion her fans wanted to see her talk at least before she left the house. The challenges and tasks are scripted to suit certain housemates and make the going tough for others. This adds strength to the speculations made by the viewers. Abijeet hardcore fans feel that his growing popularity has made Bigg Boss Team scheme strategies to bringdown his public image, he has been constantly tagged with fellow housemate Monal to bring down his popularity. Although, a similar approach was followed with Kaushal in Bigg Boss season 2, using humanist and an efficient orator Babu Gogineni, nothing seemed to work in favor of Bigg Boss instead it fortified Kaushal's image in public.

More info on Telugu Bigg Boss 4

You can find the latest Season 4 videos here

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