According to Broadcast Audience Research Council’s (BARC) latest data, DD India by Doordarshan is the top English news channel in India after having beaten Republic TV. This is no mean feat since DD India came on top beating several heavily funded news channels. The channel made a surprise entry at the first position with ratings of 1503 for week 5 of this year. Republic TV slipped to the second position with ratings of 725. Times Now got the third position with ratings of 611. The rise in viewership clearly shows how the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore revived an ailing government agency.
— BARCIndia (@BARCIndia) February 7, 2019
This marks the possible resurgence of the Doordarshan network. At one time, Doordarshan used to be the only major network in the country and enjoyed huge popularity. However, after the advent of private television networks, Doordarshan witnessed a continuous fall in viewership and revenue. It had almost been seen as an ailing Enterprise in the recent past. For a long time under the UPA era, DD India used to be a mode of patronage for those with power. However, this phenomenal success of DD India points to the fact that a lot has changed since Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore took charge in October last year.
The latest statistics reinforce the fact that people prefer impartial, balanced and poised reporting over the blatantly pseudo-secular/anti-Modi or other hyperbolic alternatives. One may think that DD News viewership is larger than its rivals because of its outreach in remote areas, but this cannot apply to their English content since it is unlikely to be of any interest to people in those areas. When it comes to English content, it’s pretty much a level playing field.
As per a 2016 news report, DD National had registered 82.66 million impressions across rural and urban markets in the week ended October 14 in 2016. However, this was rather bleak when compared to the most-viewed channel Star Plus which had a viewership of 706.324 million impressions. DD National no longer found a place among the 10 most-watched Hindi general entertainment channels in the urban and rural viewership matrix.
The fact that DD India has reported such high ratings comes as welcome news for the Doordarshan network. It goes on to hint at a strong possibility of Doordarshan’s revival under Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s leadership, which was witnessing a downside for quite some time. The channel has been able to catch the attention of the target audience and this is the reason why it was able to surpass a popular news channel like Times Now and Republic TV.
The Doordarshan network had enjoyed immense popularity before the advent of private television networks. However, once the private channels had commercialized the television industry, Doordarshan started lagging behind. From this latest report of DD India finding its way among the top five in the English News Genre, it seems that Doordarshan has finally moved on the correct path. The non-partisan reporting of DD India that attracts the English speaking audience is a good start. It’s a question of innovation now. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, after taking charge, has revived the ailing DD and brought it to the top and in the process has set a precedent for other government agencies.