Doordarshan tops charts as Ramayana & Mahabharat make a comeback on Indian television
In the wake of the Nationwide Coronavirus lockdown, classic old shows are making comeback on the Indian television. State-owned Doordarshan channel is broadcasting reruns of iconic shows, including Indian mythological shows Ramayana and Mahabharat, to keep the viewers engaged during the quarantine.
Interestingly, the re-telecast of Ramayana and Mahabharat during the lockdown has worked wonders for the public broadcaster. It has been over three weeks since Doordarshan is showing re-runs of these mythological shows and the channel is enjoying record-breaking ratings. According to the data released by Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC), Doordarshan was the most-watched channel in the country in the week starting March 28 when both Ramayana and Mahabharat returned to the television and has been on top ever since.
Not only this, but Ramayana on Doordarshan became the top search on Google and the Doordarshan website crashed due to high traffic on March 27 after people went on the internet for more information about the reruns of the shows.
Recent BARC India data shows that the overall viewership of DD National across all the General Entertainment Channels (GEC) for Week 14 (April 4-April 10) was 1.9 billion impressions, making the state-owned channel number one in India for two weeks in a row. Furthermore, it has surpassed its own viewership record of last week’s 1.5 billion impressions.
According to preliminary audience estimates by BARC and Nielsen, Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana was the most-watched Hindi serial after it recorded 52 million viewers on March 29 evening, which is the highest viewership since 2015 in the GEC space. Breaking all previous records, Ramayana also garnered a staggering 15.5 points TRP ratings in the last few weeks. DD National’s Mahabharat became the second-most-watched show with 4.7 TRP ratings. At 1.9 points on the TRP chart, PM Modi’s ‘9 Minutes 9 PM’ television address earlier in April became the third most-watched show on the television.
Due to the splendid viewership success, the public broadcaster recently also launched its fourth free to air entertainment channel called DD Retro, which will exclusively showcase old classic shows of DD National.
Following the successful re-runs of the mythological shows, DD also reintroduced popular iconic shows like Shaktiman, Dekh Bhai Dekh, ShrimanShrimati, Byomkesh Bakshi, among other to engage viewership. The viewership during the time slots of these shows also witnessed a significant spike.
Taking inspiration from DD’s strategy, private television channels also started telecasting repeats of their versions of Ramayana and Mahabharat. Pankaj Kapur’s popular ’90s show Office Office also made a comeback on Sony Sab to keep the viewers glued to the television. Interestingly, a similar trend of rising in viewership was seen in reruns of sports shows including cricket and wrestling matches. These steps were taken by TV channels due to the lack of fresh content after shooting for films and television shows were suspended amid COVID-19 lockdown.
Meanwhile, nationwide lockdown in India has been extended to May 3. The number of Coronavirus infected cases cross 14,000 on April 18 and the death toll nears 500.