The revival of Doordarshan has been a fairy tale of sorts—from being at the bottom of the TRP charts to dominating the top position of the list, DD has seen a phenomenal upward curve in the last one month. Riding on the wave of popularity, Information and Broadcast Minister Prakash Javadekar has announced that national broadcaster will review the way it picks its entertainment programmes so that people prefer it over the extravagant private channels.
Partly the reason for this massive popularity is the re-run of Hindu epics Ramayan and Mahabharat.
Currently, DD operates on an obscure process referred to as L1, under which work is allotted to the lowest bidder which in turn had “destroyed” the programme quality. The continuous churning of “low-quality content” took DD down and it was left lurking behind.
“We want to review this fully. The best serials should be on the national broadcaster. This is our target. We have decided that we must bring in good (programmes), allow the system to bring good serials and programmes so that people prefer public broadcasters over others,” the minister told PTI.
“L1 has destroyed…and the low quality of our content was the problem which took DD down,” he further added.
According to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data–in the 13th week of the year (March 28 to April 3) DD national had received 1.5 billion viewership figures and created a record for the highest viewership figures in the channel’s long history. But a week later, in the week-14 (April 4 to April 10), it broke its own record—achieving mammoth viewership figures of 1.9 billion.
— Prasar Bharati (@prasarbharati) April 16, 2020
The writing on the wall was imminent the moment the first episode aired late last month. The inaugural episode of Ramayan had a massive audience of 34 million whereas the evening episode garnered a viewership of 45 million Indians. A record of sorts in the Hindi GEC category since BARC started keeping the records in 2015.
After that DD National’s viewership climbed to 580 million impressions in the 9 am-10.30 am slot in week 13.
In the 14th week of the year, the channel cumulatively recorded 1.9 billion weekly impressions and was far ahead of its competitors.
In terms of shows, Ramayan continued to be rating juggernaut amassing 61 million impressions for the Week 14 of 2020. The second position was held by DD Bharti show Mahabharat which had 16 million impressions.
Other classics like Shaktimaan, Byomkesh Bakshi, Shriman Shrimati, Buniyaad, Dekh Bhai Dekh, Circus are also thoroughly entertaining the TV audience and paying rich dividends to DD.
Shaktimaan, India’s own superhero that can rival Marvel’s Avengers has also given DD National a substantial boost — a 52-fold rise to 20.8 million impressions (week-13).
The detective-sleuth show Byomkesh Bakshi saw an 11x growth in viewership from week 12 (0.4 million impressions) to week 13 (4.5 million impressions). The 1986 TV drama Buniyaad saw 2.7x increase in impressions as week 12 recorded 0.06 million impressions, and week 13 the impressions were 0.16 million impressions.
The shows are acting as a bridge between the boomers, Gen X, millennials and Gen Z at the moment. With people confined to their households, the shows have seen a colossal boost in popularity and the young generation is lapping up to it readily and soaking in Indian history.
The rich-tapestry of culture and tradition of India can be best understood through the goldmine of TV shows that DD possesses and it certainly seems to be the case of DD’s rise to the top—much like a phoenix.
Now with a change in the way DD procures and selects its programmes roster, it is set to challenge the private players. It will be an uphill battle against the private TV giants and OTT platforms but there’s an age-old adage, “Well begun is half done” and Doordarshan has done more than well in the last one month to set a solid foundation. The government needs to capitalize on it.
The rise of Doordarshan has undoubtedly hit the OTT platforms- Netflix and Amazon Prime. Netizens even have been flooding the internet with Netflix reaction memes.
— Roy🇮🇳 (@uugly_naked_guy) March 28, 2020
— ㅤ ㅤ ㅤ ㅤ ㅤ ㅤ ㅤ ㅤ ㅤ (@theesmaarkhan) March 28, 2020
— vny_sapariya (@SapariyaVny) March 28, 2020
The love Doordarshan is getting from the millennials as well as the connect it holds with the other generations is soon going to change the way people had the image for DD. The initiative to now come up with better programs on DD is soon going to be a game-changer and will affect other OTT platforms. Also, with news coming in that DD is soon going to evolve into an online platform for viewers; the other OTT platforms are sure shot to get a big blow.
“CEOs of Prasar Bharati and Doordarshan are working on a project to evolve an online platform for the viewers,” Supriya Sahu, Director General, Doordarshan, told IANS.
Amazon Prime and Netflix are all set to take backseat very soon as DD is all set to rise on the top. The shows being aired on DD have gripping impact and other shows in future are all set to leave web series on Netflix such as Sacred Games and on Prime such as Mirzapur, Family Man etc behind. OTT platforms can’t get anything better for the Indian audience than the classic hits which have brought all the generations together. The government is rightly capitalising on the great work dne by Doordarshan in the last month.