Coronavirus effect: Ramayan, Mahabharat make Doordarshan highest-watched channel in India

Coronavirus update: 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.

Coronavirus news: Re-telecast of Ramayan, Mahabharat helped in DD's viewership Coronavirus news: Re-telecast of Ramayan, Mahabharat helped in DD's viewership

Doordarshan became the highest-watched channel in India last week, thanks to two of the most popular shows in Indian history -- Ramayan and Mahabharat. The shows kept audiences glued to the channel, resulting in an unprecedented spike in viewership. The re-telecast of Mahabharat and Ramayan resulted in nearly 40,000 per cent jump in viewership in the evening and morning bands in the week ended April 3, as mentioned by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC).

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Amid the lockdown that has resulted in a halt of production of shows and movies, Doordarshan brought back mythology series Ramayan and Mahabharat as well as other popular shows such as Shaktiman and Buniyaad. Most of these shows were produced when DD monopolised TV broadcasting in the country.

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While Mahabharat and Ramayan pushed Doordarshan to become the No 1 channel last week, other programmes also lended a helping hand to increase viewership.

Additionally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech appealing citizens to switch off their lights at 9pm last Sunday had fewer viewers as compared to his lockdown speech. The speech for lights-out had 119 million while the lockdown speech had 197 million.

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South-based Sun TV also undertook a similar exercise that resulted in high viewership. It broadcasted classics leading to higher viewership. Other Hindi general channels that introduced classics also witnessed a jump in viewership.

News and movie channels also saw an all-time high growth in terms of viewership during the week, said the BARC report. Viewership for sports channels also shot up by 21 per cent even as there are no sporting events currently. India's cricket victories and WWE events pushed up viewership.

All in all, TV viewership grew 4 per cent as compared to the previous week and witnessed a 43 per cent jump than the pre-coronavirus breakout period.

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