Serials Based On Hindu Mythology Boost TV Viewership in India

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A still from popular TV serial Ramayana

Mumbai: Getting back classic programmes like Ramayan to keep locked down people entertained has catapulted state owned Doordarshan (DD) to be the highest watched channel in India for week ended April 3, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) said on Thursday.

The national broadcaster could achieve the feat, which involves a nearly 40,000 per cent jump in viewership in the evening and morning bands, despite a surge reported by the private broadcasters who are also experiencing higher viewership, the BARC said.

Starting with the Hindu mythology series Ramayan, DD has got back other classics like Mahabharat, Shaktiman and Buniyaad to serve the audiences during the three-week lockdown. Most of these were produced when DD monopolised TV broadcasting in the country.

BARC attributed the telecast of Ramayan and Mahabharat for DD’s emergence to the top, while the other programmes also helped improve its position in select time slots.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal of switching off lights at 9 pm last Sunday led to the lowest ever viewing in that time segment since 2015. His speech announcing the lighting of lamps had fewer viewers.

Modi’s speech to appeal people to light lamps after shutting down of the lights had fewer viewers as compared to his speech announcing the lockdown, it said, specifying the numbers at 119 million versus 197 million.

South-based Sun TV’s strategy of broadcasting classics has also paid off and helped it jump on viewership, while a few paid Hindi general entertainment channels (GEC) who have introduced classics have also seen jump in viewership.

The overall TV viewership grew 4 per cent as compared to the previous week and was 43 per cent higher than the pre-COVID-19 outbreak period, the council said.

Channels in the news and movies genre recorded an all-time high growth in viewership during the week, with Hindi movies surpassing GEC segment, it said.

Interestingly, despite the absence of any new sporting event, the viewership for sports channels grew 21 per cent as they beamed India’s cricket wins from the past and also WWE matches from the past, it said.

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