Effects of Reality Television in Vietnam

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Due to the development of technology, reality television becomes more and more popular and has many impacts on society. Based on different research, this paper describes this effects. In particular, there are two main contents mentioned in the paper, including positive and negative effects of reality TV. The findings of the research illustrates that reality TV has both advantages and disadvantages. As a result, the paper pointed out that some problems of programmes that make audiences lose trust. Therefore, a relevant suggestion for producers is given in the paper with the hope to enhance the quality of content in reality television programmes.


The society is developing that contributes to the needs of new news and leisure of human. Since TV was invented, it has been playing an important role in human’ lives. And like the indispensable development to modern life, reality television is popular all over the world. Therefore, in recent years, it is undeniable that reality television in Vietnam is a hot program which attracts millions of viewers and takes much time of people although reality TV has been appeared for a long time, especially in developed countries such as American, Korea, and so on. However, the dense appearance of reality TV makes audiences feel more confused about both quantity and quality when producers only concern about ratings and advertisements for programmes. Thus, the aim of this paper is to evaluate the effects of reality television in Vietnam.

Background Information

The definition of reality television derives from Oxford dictionary (n.d.) which states that reality TV is programmes where normal people are filmed, created to be enjoyable rather than educational. To be more precise, Wikipedia (n.d.) claimed: “Reality television is a genre of television programming that documents supposedly unscripted real-life situations, and often features an otherwise unknown cast of individuals who are typically not professional actors, although in some shows celebrities may participate”. Moreover, realizing the development of reality TV in society, professor Hill(2005)- director of the research center of Westminster University(England) introduce the term “ Reality television” that is entertaining programmes about real people. A point of view comes from different awareness about reality TV. Generally, they are similar about situations and human. Therefore, reality TV can be defined as programmes that build unexpected events performed by ordinary people. It can be clear that reality TV in Vietnam is developing significantly in recent years with the large number of people watching these programmes. According to a survey (slideshare.net, 2016) about “”Reality show” popularity in Vietnam” in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh city with 506 participants who are from 16 to 39 years old both gender, “nearly three fourth respondents said they’ve watched reality show in Vietnam, in which 40% of them watch every day.” Therefore, it can be seen that reality television contributes to the prosperity of Vietnamese media market. Unquestionably, reality TV has become an attractive dish of entertainment of Vietnamese despite having imported for several years.

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The survey also shows “comedy competition shows are favored the most(69%), followed by singing contests with more than half of respondents like it(59%) which ““The Voice Kids” hold the first rank” (47%). Moreover, ““Dad, where are we going” ranks first favorite among outdoor reality show (44%), closely followed by Vietnam’s Next Top Model” (42%). However, reality television not only brings some positive effects but it also contains some unwanted elements or negative effects on people. 2.2.Positive effects It can be clarified that good impacts contributes to reality TV success in life through three main ideas, including entertainment for audiences, revenue for manufacturers, and success for participants. Primarily, reality TV brings rest and enjoyment for viewers. It also enrichs the mind for human and increases connection between people. Frisby (2003), assistant professor of advertising at the Missouri School of Journalism at MU said:” Entertainment needs are met through reality TV because these shows allow people to make comparisons with media images- comparison that ultimately help them feel better about themselves and their personal circumstances”. In addition, although some programmes only have particular people, they brings interesting moments for the viewers because of special motif (cinet,2013). Furthermore, reality television not only brings entertainment, it also gives new experiences for audiencesto improve themselves better through difficulties and challenges. (Nguyen, 2012).

Besides, reality TV can play a dramatic role in huge revenue of producers. In the article “ Here’s how much Donald Trump made on the Apprentice”, author Priola (2016) wrote “ according to Money Nation, Trump reportedly earned $3 million per episode for the Celebrity Apprentice”. Moreover, in Vietnam, revenue of manufacturers comes from advertisements. The Tuoi Tre online (2013) reported that programmes broadcasted on VTV3 had no less than 40 advertisements each night on average. In addition, this article pointed out that in the last 3 months of the “ Your Face Sounds Familiar”, the rate of advertisements increased by 50%: “10 seconds of advertising is 90 million dong, 108 million dong for 15 seconds, 135 million dong for 20 seconds and 180 million dong for 30 seconds... more than two hours broadcast, the program was able to collect about 10 billion”.Finally, reality television brings success for participants. Most of programmes are hopes and opportunities for all people who have a talent for any field such as singing, dancing, magic or other talents. Hence, it can be seen clearly that reality TV is one of the shortest ways which fame and money also a future with many new opportunities to develop arose from some programmes dramatically (Vietnamnet, 2012).

These days, reality television is becoming a major launching pad for some of the stars who can succeed in other field. Therefore, the names such as Tran Thanh, Thu Minh, Ngo Kien Huy, and so on or Uyen Linh, Bui Anh Tuan,... became famous after participating in the popular programmes like The Voice, Vietnam Idol, The Perfect Couple,...(cid.edu, 2013).2.3.Negative effectsAlthough reality TV, as people can see, has some advantagesand positive aspects, they still can deny that it also has its dark and ugly side too which creates several disadvantages for both viewers and participants.Through the reality television, audience feel deceptive because of manufacturers who can edit and plan reality TV programmes before they are broadcasted (Nguyen, 2012). Almost all stories and situations are developed in advance to gain a high rating for the show (Russell, n.d.). In addition, stars of showbiz are invited to programmes which makes reality TV become boring because of familiar faces and the old ways which are reused time after time. Moreover, some programmes have scandal that brings about bad aftertaste for the show, and then audience feel distrustful (cinet, 2013). Therefore, reality TV has nothing true and it is difficult to understand what to trust and what not to trust.Another problem or disadvantage is that reality TV takes both audiences and participants much time. A program is usually produces in many episodes and seasons, so, audiences spend a long time on watching, sometimes they are affected by messages, results and forums (Nguyen, 2012). For participants, filming time is really long although each program lasts one or two hours. Furthermore, some situations broadcasted on TV less than 24 hours lasts over 2 weeks in reality (vietnamnet, 2012).

Additionally, it is certain that if a program of reality TVhas too strong, even elderly people are likely to neglect some their important work to indulge in it and not care about things around their lives.One of the most important disadvantage of reality television is that it creates chaos of participants life, leading to suicide. Model Trang Tran shared contestants and instructors were pawn of producers who focused on their past and personal lives through family, friends, social networking accounts to respond the needs of viewers (vietnamnet, 2016). To be obvious, Wruble (2016), the Bachelor producer said “ Reality is not documentary. There isn’t always time to wait for things to happen naturally...you’re just giving them a kick in the ass to do what their heart desires, which of course will make great TV”. It’s obvious that reality TV has a great impact on the lives of contestants.


The above analysis has shown that reality television which is developing significantly has a great impact on the majority of Vietnam’s population, especially the youth. With some outstanding benefits, many audiences really enjoy reality TV. However, due to the fact that there are so many dramas in production, many programmes have met with the harsh criticism of the audiences. Moreover, a lot of programmes ignore the core values such as humanities to promote a competitive lifestyle, pragmatism to survive or win others, so, they no longer received the love of audiences. With the reality TV in the world, although it has some problems, unexpected situations, manufacturers always solve peacefully to achieve success for programmes. In contrast, in Vietnam, in the process of introduction and development, reality television not only has limited human resources, it also encounter cultural barriers and reception of the masses, so, the quality of programmes can’t be like expectation of audiences. Therefore, manufacturers should focus on investing in content of programmesto enhance quality of reality TV show in Vietnam.

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