Beyond the ratings: The cultural impact of Australia’s Reality TV obsession

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Beyond the ratings: The cultural impact of Australia’s Reality TV obsession

Reality TV
Survivor: Game Changers' Season 34

Reality television has become a staple in the television diet of us Australians - and there are no signs of this trend slowing down.

Since the first season of Big Brother debuted on our screens in 2001, the genre has become an integral part of Australian television culture, captivating audiences across our sunburnt country. The cultural impact of reality TV on Australia is undeniable, and the statistics reveal just how significant the effect is.

While critics have long debated the merits of reality TV, there is no denying its immense popularity. Australians love talking about their favourite reality TV shows on social media, and every new season and the show is eagerly awaited (FBoy Island Australia, anyone?).

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The numbers speak for themselves: reality TV shows dominate television in Australia. According to ExpressVPN’s analysis of social media and search trends, Survivor, Married at First Sight (MAFS), and The Block are the most talked-about reality TV shows, with Survivor alone hitting a whopping 108,075 share of voice mentions across social media platforms.

While the top four shows, Married at First Sight, The Block, Masterchef, and LEGO Masters, dominated the charts with the highest viewership numbers during their most recent season finales, Ninja Warrior and Love Island were the most searched shows in Northern Territory and Western Australia, respectively.

So, what do these statistics say about our viewing habits? Beyond numbers, the appeal of these shows lies in the drama, the competition, and the emotional connections that viewers feel with the participants.

One possible explanation for reality TV’s enduring popularity is its comfort and familiarity. Many of these shows follow a similar formula: a group of contestants live together, compete in challenges, and form alliances, all under the watchful eye of cameras. This formula allows viewers to become invested in the contestants and their storylines, fostering a sense of community and shared experience.

Additionally, audiences can tune in week after week to follow their favourite contestants and feel a sense of continuity and routine, providing a sense of community in our hectic modern lives.

At the same time, reality TV also provides a sense of escapism. For many of us, reality TV is an opportunity to switch off from the stresses of everyday life and indulge in guilty pleasures. Shows like Married at First Sight and Love Island offer a glimpse into a world of glamour and luxury, while shows like Survivor provides a chance to escape to an idyllic tropical island.

While it is true that some reality TV shows have been plagued by controversy, such as the cheating scandal at the heart of Married at First Sight in 2021, it is essential to note that not all reality TV is created equal. Many shows aim to inspire and uplift their audiences, such as Masterchef, which celebrates the art of cooking and encourages viewers to pursue their passions.

One of Australia’s most popular reality TV shows, Married at First Sight, exemplifies the emotional connections viewers can make with the participants. The show features strangers getting married and is known for the juicy, juicy drama that often unfolds, captivating fans who tune in season after season.

One reason viewers are drawn to shows like Married at First Sight is the chance to observe human relationships and behaviour in a unique way. These shows offer viewers the opportunity to watch the participants navigate the complexities of love and relationships, which is something many of us can (hopefully) relate to. Viewers often become invested in the participants’ storylines and are curious to see how they will play out.

Survivor Australia is another popular reality TV show that has captured the attention of Australians. The show involves contestants stranded on a deserted island and competing in challenges to be the last person standing. Survivor is also known for the complex social dynamics that develop among the contestants.

The Block is another reality TV show in Australia that has become a cultural phenomenon, amassing 1.38 million total views during its finale. The show features teams of contestants renovating houses and apartments to sell them for the highest price.

Reality TV has had a significant cultural impact on Australians, influencing their entertainment choices, attitudes and behaviours. The popularity of shows like Married at First Sight and Survivor demonstrates the country’s fascination with drama and competition, while The Block and Masterchef showcase Australians’ love for renovation and cooking.

The rise of streaming services has made reality TV more accessible than ever, leading to increased viewership and engagement on social media. As we move into 2023, we expect to see new genres and concepts emerge in reality TV, further shaping Australia’s cultural landscape.

Whether it’s love, drama, or adventure, it’s clear that reality TV will continue to capture the hearts and minds of Australians for years to come.

In collaboration with ExpressVPN