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.
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.
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.
A Big Thank You to all the viewers of Doordarshan – per @BARCIndia the most viewed channel during week 13 is @DDNational across India. With your support Public Broadcaster has helped India Stay Home, Stay Safe as we fight back #COVID-19 pandemic.
— Shashi S Vempati (@shashidigital) April 9, 2020
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.