Will Mahabharatham walk the talk?

MUMBAI: Not very long ago, Star Plus launched its magnum opus, Mahabharat, a contemporary retelling of the ancient Indian epic, on a scale never-seen-before and amidst huge fanfare.


Soon after, a dubbed-in-Tamil version of the show named Mahabharatham was aired on 7 October on Star Vijay, Star TV’s Tamil GEC.


Not only did Mahabharatham take over the 7:00 pm slot, earlier reserved for a kids’ show titled 7 C, which was anyway about to end, two weeks prior to the show’s launch, a high decibel marketing campaign comprising TV, radio, digital, on-ground, and to a large extent, outdoor, was undertaken to publicise its arrival.


As part of this endeavour, life-size posters of the show characters were put up across Tamil Nadu; TV celebrities were brought in at the end of every show on Star Vijay to promote the series; monologues were staged on streets to grab attention; and hoardings were put up across 500 locations including Chennai, Madurai, Tiruchirrapalli, Erode and Tirunelveli. A staggering Rs 1 crore - Rs 1.5 crore was spent on the campaign, with separate plans for merchandising during Diwali.


Promotions apart, Star Vijay ensured Seventh Channel Communications did a neat job of the dubbing. “Seventh Channel Communications has dubbed on a 50 episode contract, with each episode costing up to Rs 1 lakh. We have ensured the dubbing is so tight that the lip movements match with the Tamil words the characters are speaking. People were thoroughly impressed with the grandeur on watching the promos. The feedback on production value was positive,” elaborates Star Vijay general manager K Sriram.


Now, with the show well past its launch, Star Vijay faces the big question whether all the investment and effort has been worth the channel’s while.


While there are no clear answers, it is true that the first two weeks of Mahabharatham have garnered 422 and 440 TVTs (average), respectively, and its opening show has got 415 TVTs unlike 7C, which was just about managing 169 TVTs weekly (average). What’s more, close competitor Raj TV’s Sindhu Bhairavi (Uttaran dubbed in Tamil), which airs at the same time (7:00 pm), has garnered only 251 TVTs (average).


As a media planner from Chennai-based Group M puts it: “For Star Vijay, these are good numbers and now - Mahabharatham - for which they did huge promotions, is their best show as well.”


However, the picture is not entirely rosy. Sun TV, another rival, has its own version of Mahabharatham which airs every Sunday morning and garners more TVTs than Star Vijay’s show. To this, the planner only says that it is wrong to compare any other channel with a player like Sun TV which enjoys strong loyalty.


The planner reasons that Tamilians are attached to such shows because they are conservative and dedicated to religious beliefs and that is why epic shows work well down south. At the same time, he is quick to point out it would be best to wait for another week to see if Star Vijay’s Mahabharatham sustains its ratings before taking any call on the show.


In fact, readers may recall that the original Mahabharat (Hindi version on Star Plus) too dropped from 8,445 TVTs to 5,518 TVTs in its second week... So, Star Vijay will have to wait to see the returns of its investment...

Latest Reads
US$ 4.5 bn expected from IPL rights; SC recommends accounts scrutiny

The Supreme Court on Friday froze all financial transactions between the BCCI and state cricket associations by directing the apex body not to disburse any funds till it resolves to abide by the Justice RM Lodha panel recommendations on reforms by 3 December . The top court ordered that none of...

Television TV Channels Sports
TVS Tyres is co-presenter for Asian Champions Trophy 2016

Continuing its strong connect with sports, TVS Tyres has associated with Asian Champions Trophy 2016 by becoming the co-presenter. The Asian Champions Trophy is one of the premier hockey tournaments, a much sought after annual international competition promising some great hockey action. This...

Television TV Channels Sports
Q2-17: Zee Learn declares maiden interim dividend

The board of directors of the Essel group’s education company Zee Learn Limited (ZLL) have declared a first time ever dividend of 5 percent per equity share of Re 1 each for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q2-17, current quarter).

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Whether BARC action can stop unethical practices?

Whether businesses and industries practice their art of selling fairly although they have 'Fair Practices' training during the academic courses, workshops and several ISO and other certifications? There seems to be the fear of the lawman, and not the law in India.

Television TV Channels Viewership
TV Superhighway: beIN, Yaddo, AfricaXP have joined us, says Magine CEO Ambuj Goyal

CANNES; Magine has secured partnerships with four of the industry’s most exciting sports, documentary and entertainment content providers. Partnerships with beIN, the international media group and owner of MIRAMAX; Yaddo, the new documentary streaming service headed up by former head of The BBC’s...

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Colors emerges strong on strength of Naagin I & II

MUMBAI: One of the top rated shows Naagin Season 2 helped Colors reach a top-ranking position.

Television TV Channels GECs
Pakistan Broadcasters Association to oppose PEMRA Indian content ban

MUMBAI: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) shocked both Pakistan and Indian broadcasters when it issued an order blanking out  all Indian content from Pakistan’s television channels on 19 October.

Television TV Channels GECs
Sony Pix to telecast 'Jurassic World' on 22 October

Sony Pix will take the viewers on a thrilling, adventurous journey with cloned dinosaurs in their Billion Dollar Premiere property. The channel plans to air Jurassic World on 22 October at 1 pm and 9 pm.

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Sony AXN scripts deal with Pinewood; buys stake in SVOD service Hopster

Folks at Sony Pictures Television (SPT) are in a celebratory mood. Not only has it signed a six-series deal with Pinewood Television but has also acquired a minority stake in the London-based video subscription service for kids content - Hopster.

Television TV Channels English Entertainment

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories