Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan just keeps hitting it out of the park. After consistently battering the TRP records since the show started re-telecasting, another feather has been added in the cap of the epic ancient-history show. Prasar Bharati has announced that Ramayan became the most viewed entertainment programme globally on 16 April in the 9 PM slot with a whopping 77 million (7.7 crore) viewership in the aforementioned time slot.
Ramayan World Record – Highest Viewed Entertainment Program Globally#IndiaFightsCorona#IndiaFightsBack pic.twitter.com/RdCDehgxBe
— Prasar Bharati (@prasarbharati) April 28, 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 38 million viewers whereas the evening episode garnered a viewership of 45 million. The next day the viewership increased to 40 million in the morning to 51 million at night. Thus the show received a total of 91 million views in just one day. A record of sorts in the Hindi GEC category since BARC started keeping the records in 2015.
Just to gauge the humongous feat Ramayan has achieved, we compared its numbers to one of the most popular TV sitcoms of the 21st century, Friends. ‘The one after the Superbowl’ (season 2 episode 12/13) episode of the show had a combined viewership of 52.925 million and was the most-watched episode in the show’s entire run.
Whereas, HBO’s crown jewel, Game of Thrones, despite the muddle that was season 8, consistently raked up massive viewership. But the numbers pale in comparison in front of Ramayan. The finale of season 8 ‘The Iron Throne’ was watched by over 19.3 million viewers across HBO platforms and other streaming platforms which fells way shy of the record set by Ramayan.
Although, Comparison is the death of Joy but certainly these numbers paint a picture that Ramayan has been a runaway hit in its second innings.
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 gargantuan viewership figures of 1.9 billion.
The success of the show has reached beyond Indian shores as even the typically anti-India Washington Post Journal carried a first-page story of DD’s and Ramayan’s fairy tale run amidst the lockdown.
@DDNational the front page and page ten of the @WSJ dated 29.10.20 carries a full length article on the telecast of the #Ramayan On DD National #feelproud #togetheragainstcovid pic.twitter.com/3YBJjh1AId
— Mark Wright (@markwrigght) April 29, 2020
1st page of the Wall Street Journal talks about #Doordarshan & how #Ramayan has brought Families together in #India.Hope U all are Watching..🙏 #ProudFeeling @WSJ@PrakashJavdekar thanks alot sir pic.twitter.com/n6F8TlRTwE
— Corona Warrior Jatin Kothari 🇮🇳 (@jatinjkothari) April 29, 2020
Reaffirming the age-old adage that “Old is Gold “—Doordarshan’s revival after languishing at the bottom of TRP ratings has been a fairy tale of sorts.
People who grew up in the late 80’s remember the sweet nostalgia of waking up on a Sunday morning and waiting with bated breaths for a television show that defined majority of Indians’ connect with its rich past legacy.
The show Ramayan is a pinnacle in TV show history of the country. Made on a shoestring budget with an unconventional airing time slot, the show rose above it all and captured the imagination of the whole of India.
Riding on the wave of popularity, Information and Broadcast Minister Prakash Javadekar had also announced that the national broadcaster will review the way it picks its entertainment programmes so that people prefer it over the extravagant private channels.
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.
It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that Ramayan is acting as a bridge between the boomers, Gen X, millennials and the Gen Z at the moment. With people confined to their households, the public broadcaster has seen a massive boost in popularity and the young generation is also lapping up to it readily and soaking in the 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.
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