Yes, it’s another BBC vs ITV ratings battle, but this time it’s not X Factor versus Strictly, it’s Cowell’s other venture Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) against newbie The Voice.
The Voice is essentially a jazzed up and more professional X Factor, there are no exploited silly auditions for fun, all contestants are those actively pursuing careers singing. Whereas Britain’s got Talent, for those of you who have been living under a rock for the last 6 years is an unstoppable canon of a variety show, which seeks ‘talent’ to perform at the annual Royal Variety Show.
So the issue: The scheduling of Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice have overlapped in the last three weeks. The first two weeks of which included an overlap of 15/20minutes at 8pm on Saturday Nights which involved viewers missing either the ending of The Voice or the start of BGT. This week the big story involved a (petty) 3-minute overrun by the BBC – which ITV accused of foul play… but for goodness sakes in this day and age does it actually matter? Do ratings wars still count? ITV (who are losing this battle) are complaining that they’re not benefitting from the competition. But is this concern over ratings and constant rivalry between the shows actually genuine, or is it all a part of big media palaver purposely designed to generate talk?
I mean, really, what is the big deal? Let’s face it, in this day and age where most people have Sky Plus/Tivo or watch things online, if they want to watch both shows they will find a way to. For most people the 15-minute overlap only means convenience, as they can watch The Voice and record BGT and happily skip any ad breaks on ITV. So it should be no surprise that The Voice capitalised on the overlap.
But the truth of the matter is, the two shows are also quite different, yes they fall into the same entertainment reality category and both deal with ‘talent’, but their appeal is entirely unique. The Voice appears to be serious and competitive, whereas BGT is light-hearted entertainment, and offers a lot more amusement.
While both shows are undoubtedly much talked about, it is hard to distinguish whether anything is actually being missed. The big moment from The Voice where auditionee Jaz Ellington debuted and Will.i.am was brought to tears as he sang ‘Ordinary People’ is readily available on Youtube. And I don’t think there is anyone in the UK on the internet who could have escaped BGT’s now infamous “Where Me Keys? Where me phone?” skit. These clips have raked in hundreds of thousands of views on Youtube, which makes us wonder whether TV Ratings actually count in this day and age? We live in a time where things are available to watch/listen again instantly and important bits of shows rarely go un-missed – so can we really still judge which show is best just on the ratings of the night?
With Youtube, iplayer and all sorts of other mediums available it seems it’s not really the ‘now’ that counts, if it’s going to be big, it doesn’t matter how many people first see it, it’s about how much it can spread. It is the online viewers that people should be really caring about, they’re the ones who will “like” and “share” things, causing the viral success that these shows so crave.