BUDAPEST — Although Hungary is a little slow to catch up with the reality craze of the West, TV2’s sex- and nudity-laden version of “Big Brother” has proven to be a powerful weapon against rival RTL Klub.
“Brother’s” steamy content has given SBS’ subsid a 50% share of the timeslot on most nights and helped in the battle for the top spot.
During the first two weeks of September, TV2 claimed a 39.2% share of primetime among 18- to 49-year-old viewers, and a 42.2% among 18- to 29-year-olds.
On Sept. 17, SBS Broadcasting declared that TV2, which had been languishing in second place since late last year, “has regained its position as the leading commercial broadcaster” in Hungary.
RTL, which fought for four years and gained for supremacy in 2002, is not yet ready to surrender though. “TV2 is talking about some successful slots in primetime in September,” RTL programming and marketing chief Peter Kolosi says. “But the month is not over yet, and when it is over I think (TV2) won’t be the winner.”
“Big Brother’s” highest rated show was an episode that featured a sexual encounter between two house dwellers, per a network insider. “I don’t think this should be on a national broadcaster. And when you do something like this in primetime of course you’ll have good ratings.”
Vowing to fight on, RTL Klub has launched its own reality program, the “Real World,” which it claims is more interactive than “Brother,” and more tasteful.
However, industry insiders don’t think that’s the answer.
“RTL is running its own reality program against ‘Big Brother,’ but they have no sex and nudity and so far audiences aren’t finding it as exciting,” says Cecilia Hazai, managing director of TV distributor Twin Media.