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Return of Ramayan, Mahabharat boosts DD’s viewership

Over the last two weeks, the slot viewership during Ramayan has grown 60 times, while Mahabharat’s slot has surged by 208 times.Premium
Over the last two weeks, the slot viewership during Ramayan has grown 60 times, while Mahabharat’s slot has surged by 208 times.

  • The surge in TV viewership continues to be driven by the the 2-14 age group, which has registered a 52% rise, followed by 41-50 year olds at 43%
  • Overall, TV viewership has grown by 43% in the third week of covid-19 disruption and lockdown, up 4% over the previous week

Doordarshan (DD) has emerged as the most watched channel, with the return of classics such as Ramayan and Mahabharat taking its viewership surging ahead of other private channels in the Hindi-speaking belt.

The viewership of the slot (9am and 9pm) for Ramayan, which was a favourite of the 1980s, has grown 60 times over the last two week, while Mahabharat (12pm and 7pm) has led to a slot surge of 208 times.

The findings are part of the third report on television viewership and smartphone usage by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc), a television monitoring agency, along with data measurement firm Nielsen. The report was based on a comparison of data sourced in January with data of mid-March.

The spike in viewing was observed across urban and rural India for those above two years of age, while smartphone usage was tracked across 12,000 Android smartphone users in the 15-44 year old age group.

The surge in TV viewership continues to be driven by the the 2-14 age group, which has registered a 52% rise, followed by 41-50 year olds at 43%.

Overall, TV viewership has grown by 43% in the third week of covid-19 disruption and lockdown, up 4% over the previous week.

In fact, the segment of population watching TV for more than three hours daily has risen from 61% to 63% in the past week. The number of channels viewed has also gone up from 16 in the pre-covid period to 23 later.

News and movies have clocked an all-time high growth across languages, rising by 251% and 77%, respectively. Reruns of classics on general entertainment channels have also risen sharply.

Apart from the DD hits, shows such as Siya Ke Ram and Mahabharat (a recreation of the 1980s DD hit) have also returned on Star Plus, which have led to a slot viewership surge, besides Metti Oli and Thangam on Sun TV. Sports, too, has dabbled with reruns, leveraging old India-Pakistan cricket matches and WWE tournaments.

However, while advertising free commercial time had risen by 15% last week, as compared to the pre-covid period, this week’s surge stands at 9%. Categories, such as toiletries, social and cultural organizations, have seen the highest growth at 190 and 66 times, respectively.

Time spent on smartphones per user per week has grown by 12.5% in week three, versus 12% in week two, when both are compared to the pre-covid period.

In fact, smartphone usage is inching towards 4 hours per day, and about 26 hours 36 minutes per week.

People seem to be getting used to the new normal, with time spent on chat and social networking apps stabilizing to 5 hours 17 minutes and 4 hours 39 minutes, respectively, both in terms of per user per week.

Mobile payments seemed to have gained traction at a time when people are short of cash, growing at 4% as compared to the pre-covid period. Virtual education is another big gainer, with time spent per user per week rising by 30%, as is online gaming at 44%.

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