DD National viewership soars due to classics’ re-run

Ramayan and Mahabharat garnered 545.8 and 145.8 million impressions, respectively.

MUMBAI: DD National has become the most-watched channel in week three of lockdown. The third edition of BARC-Nielsen report on TV+ smartphone consumption during the crisis shows that Ramayan on DD National at 9 am and 9 pm garnered 545.8 million weekly impressions in week 13. Mahabharat, which airs on DD Bharati at 12 noon and 7 pm, garnered 145.8 million impressions. The return of the classics made DD National the most-watched channel across India

The re-telecast of the show Ramayan garnered the highest-ever rating for a Hindi GEC show since 2015. The show was highest rated in the urban market and megacities. According to BARC India data, the first four episodes of Ramayan garnered an average of 28.7 million impressions.

"After the news of Ramayan made headlines and social media trends were dominated by it, we have had a flood of rights holders themselves approaching us with iconic content that aired in the past on DD," Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati told

Vempati informs that there has always been a demand from audiences to bring back the iconic serials of DD's golden era. So, DD started to re-telecast old shows like Shaktiman, Dekh Bhai Dekh, Shriman Shrimati, etc.

In 1987, Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan was aired for the first time on DD National which gathered many people in front of the television. But this time to entertain people at home and ensure the successful implementation of social distancing during COVID-19, the public broadcaster brought back the show on its Hindi GEC platforms DD National and DD Bharati.  

Vempati says, “This demand was the reason why even before this crisis started, Prasar Bharati Board approved the new content acquisition policy last year. The current crisis however made a radical difference to these content acquisition efforts. There was a tumult of requests on social media. The prime minister in his speech to the nation spoke of a metaphorical Lakshman Rekha when he called upon the citizens to stay at home and to keep social distance for an effective lockdown. I am thankful to the I&B minister Prakash Javadekar for his advice and guidance in accelerating our efforts to engage with the rights holders to bring back the iconic serials to DD so that the public broadcaster was able to play its role in the government's efforts to ensure a successful lockdown.”

Apart from DD National and DD Bharati, Doordarshan’s regional channels are also bringing back old shows. Recently, DD Sahyadri started airing a special programme Aarohi from the 1980’s.

According to BARC data, the viewership on Doordashan channels rose by 16 per cent in 2019 over 2018. Last year also Prasar Bharati added 11 regional channels on DD Free Dish to expand its reach. Fifty per cent of its viewership comes from Hindi channels and the rest is garnered by its regional channels. “News and live coverage have been Doordarshan's USP. 2019 was an important year from a news and live standpoint with the general elections and several major public events all of which cumulatively contributed to the growth of DD's viewership,” says Vempati.

With regards to advertising and revenue growth on the back of these old shows, Vempati says, “It is too early to discuss revenues. Our priority right now is to ensure the audience are engaged and the lockdown is effective.”

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