I never thought I would become a practitioner of the Monday night religion that is The Bachelorette, but after one premiere viewing with friends, I became hooked on the reality “dating” show.
I say “dating” because it’s apparent after watching an episode that dating and marriage may be the last thing on many of the contestants’ minds. One look at any competitors’ Instagram profiles, and you’ll see countless promotions, event appearances and opportunities they have. Nonetheless, the show pulls you in with contrived drama and bizarre group dates, drawing impressive live viewer numbers even after being on air for over a decade (season one of The Bachelor premiered in 2002.)
That being said, I was curious to explore what other viewers thought of the franchise. Is it a game show, reality show or a bit of both? And, does audience opinion change when comparing The Bachelorette to The Bachelor?
CivicScience asked the following two questions to over 4,000 respondents between July 11th and 14th. The results are as follows:
Devotees and casual fans alike will not be surprised that the majority of those who watch the show believe contestants are on it seeking fame. The results are almost identical, meaning there doesn’t seem to be a gender bias based on if the suitors are male or female. Going forward, we’ll refer to these questions as one response.
58% polled said they don’t watch the show. More likely to me men, these viewers are less likely to watch television online. And naturally, they are less likely to watch ABC over other networks.
Let’s quickly break down the 4% of respondents who answered Love. Those who believe the Bachelor franchise is about falling in love are more likely to be women.
The majority, 38%, of those who watch The Bachelor/ette believe competitors are there for fame. These dating show fans are more likely to watch television online, use a smartphone to browse the internet and research online reviews before making a purchase.
All the above activities indicate the majority of Bachelor/ette viewers are tech savvy online communicators. It’s an interesting paradox that Bachelor/ette fans prefer to watch TV online, considering a major draw of the show is the live aspect. Viewing parties, live Tweeting and competitive suitor pools are a huge part of the show’s culture.
The Bachelor/ette still pulls decent ratings numbers, but with the shift from watching shows on the TV to watching later online, it’ll be interesting to see if live numbers decline.
A way to combat dropping viewership numbers could be considering a second screen experience. Viewers already use their smartphone to browse the internet. Being that The Bachelor/ette is a social show, ABC could create a smartphone experience where viewers are chatting about the show live, or receiving behind the scenes extras while watching the show on their TV. This might be as simple as encouraging cast members to live tweet the show, or revealing timed exclusive clips during commercial breaks.
Live viewership is the holy grail for any network show, and ABC has a unique opportunity with this reality show. It benefits viewers to watch the show live (to avoid next day spoilers), and some mobile exclusive experience would further serve to draw viewers.