A still from Ramanand Sagar's TV series Ramayan | YouTube screengrab
A still from Ramanand Sagar's TV series Ramayan | YouTube screengrab
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New Delhi: Fuelled by the return of classics like Ramayan, Shaktimaan and Byomkesh Bakshi and the overall rise in TV viewership during lockdown, the state-run Doordarshan National has emerged as the most-watched channel across genres in the week of 28 March to 3 April.

The jump is significant, given that in just the previous week (21-27 March), DD National was not even in the top 10 most-viewed channels in the Hindi General Entertainment Channel (GEC) category, while now, it has topped all categories.

Fresh data released by Broadcast Audience Research Council-Nielsen Thursday showed that DD National’s viewership climbed to 580 million impressions in the 9am-10.30am slot in week 13 (28 March to 3 April), compared to just one million impressions in the previous week. In the 9pm-10.30pm slot, the corresponding numbers were 835 million impressions, compared to two million in week 12.

DD National was followed by Sun TV and Dangal as the most viewed channels across genres.

Also read: Ramayan on DD: Best way to keep India’s elderly indoors or show the young TV beyond Netflix?

Return of the classics

Ramayan, the 1987 dramatisation of the epic directed by Ramanand Sagar, gave DD National the biggest boost — its viewership grew 454 times in the morning and evening slots combined.

Shaktimaan, the Indian superhero series starring Mukesh Khanna, also gave DD National a significant boost — a 52-fold rise to 20.8 million impressions.

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Byomkesh Bakshi contributed an 11 per cent jump, while other classics like Buniyaad, Dekh Bhai Dekh and the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Circus together gave the channel an eight-fold boost.

ThePrint had earlier reported that Ramayan had recorded 170 million, or 17 crore, viewers in the just first weekend of its rerun.

Mahabharat boosts DD Bharati figure

The B.R. Chopra-directed Mahabharat, the other TV epic from the late 1980s, is being broadcast on another Doordarshan channel, DD Bharati, and has also boosted viewership.

Mahabharat boosted DD Bharati’s viewership 365 times to 145.8 million impressions in week 13 in the morning and evening slots combined.

Even the digital traffic for all DD channels on YouTube has doubled since the re-runs of the iconic shows began.

Shashi Shekhar Vempati, head of Doordarshan’s parent Prasar Bharati, tweeted his thanks to viewers.

Also read: Game of Thrones holds viewership records, but Ramayan could cause ‘curfews’ in India

Overall state of TV viewership under lockdown

BARC-Nielsen also released the third edition of its report on TV and smartphone consumption Thursday, which revealed that average TV viewership has grown by 43 per cent in the 28 March-3 April period as compared to the average before the Covid-19 crisis, which has been calculated on the basis of data between 11 and 31 January.

News and movies across languages recorded an all-time-high growth this week, at 251 per cent and 77 per cent respectively.

Advertising volume, indicated by free commercial time across genres, went up 9 per cent compared to January, with sports channels registering the highest growth at 86 per cent.

The report also gave viewership figures for PM Narendra Modi’s messages to the nation on Covid-19 — the third message, urging people to light diyas and candles, was watched by 119 million people and recorded 1 billion viewing minutes.

The second address, announcing the nationwide lockdown, was watched by 196.5 million people.

Also read: DD gets back viewers with Ramayan, Shaktimaan, Byomkesh Bakshi. It’s most watched channel now


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6 Comments Share Your Views


  1. It’s really feels good to see all our favorite show of our childhood times have returned enjoying every moment and even our kids are enjoying Ramayan. One more request to start vikram aur vetal serial and dada dadi ki kahani. Jungle book is changed and even its title song is so boring pls get the original to enjoy.

  2. The basis of Indian Nation is not politics or the instruments of statecrft but the innate spiritual and timeless civilizational values coming down to the progeny of Bharat Mata since times immemorial.
    News portals like the The Print The Wire Scroll and the like can ignore it. But then who cares.


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