Dating Shows: The Lucrative Marketing ‘Rose’
In the last decade, dating shows have carved a hefty piece of the reality television pie – leaving most of us licking the plate and dare I say – wanting more. But why is it that dating shows are so popular within modern television culture?
The effects are evident at least. The finale of The Bachelor last year racked up ratings of almost 1.5 million viewers, eyes peeled to their screens to watch the ultimate rose slip precariously and dramatically from one girls grasp to another. Others, such as Farmer Wants a Wife, and Please Marry My Boy, have similarly crept into the viewers’ lounges with their eerily addictive glow.
Plainly, producers have picked up on the massive success of the televised dating game and have sought to replicate the juicy products that consumers are dying to sink their teeth into. The cheapness and ease of producing these shows coupled with high earnings from advertising if ratings are high make dating shows a boon for media companies. Similarly, the abundance of often ludicrously moronic contestants eagerly exposing their dating endeavours for the viewing pleasure of the public is equally enticing for television viewers.
Beyond this however, the show needs a recipe for it to sustain success and keep the viewer hooked. The real success lies in the heightened participation of such shows. The manifestation of what we perceive to be genuine attempts of individuals to obtain ‘real love’ must be portrayed with sincerity for viewers to fully engage with the show. If this can be achieved, then the audience will invest in the contestants and continue watching. Dating shows work when they use the complexities of real human relationships to appeal to and connect to a wide audience – viewership loyalty is maintained, ratings go up, and we get another episode of an unfortunate girl ruining her mascara over a wilted flower.
Personally, I have managed to avoid the trap of watching the many hapless romantic attempts haphazardly thrown onto my screen. However, the one show I can’t deny having a soft spot for is If You Are the One. This Chinese dating show follows the recipe down to the letter. It’s cheap to run (filmed in only one studio), the contestants are plentiful (there are many men in China frantically looking for wives), and the authentic commentary from its contestants is beyond amusing.
The phrase ‘Failed to get a date’ is thrust on the screen when an unlucky bachelor is unsuccessful in his attempts to woo one of the 24 women on the panel, this coupled with SBS’s language translation make up a unique show dabbled with subtle hilarity. One contestant even announced that two whole years ago, he could still do a somersault. Now who wouldn’t want someone like that? Okay. Maybe none of the twenty-four women did, and I concur – but I can say with certainty I couldn’t tear my eyes away.
As much as we can critique the banality of these shows, one thing’s for sure, dating shows have proven themselves to be worthy of our viewership and they look set to stay.