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TV networks turn to mythology shows as lockdown hampers new content production 

TV networks turn to mythology shows as lockdown hampers new content production 

Published:29 May 2020

At the start of the lockdown, the viewership for mythology-based content stood at 25.7 billion minutes for a week, which hit a high of 119.1 billion minutes within three weeks and has steadily declined from there to be at 75.7 billion minutes for the week ended May 22.

Mumbai | Faced with lack of original content, television networks across India have resorted to deploying mythology shows and are continuing to increase the share of such content even as viewership for it is receding.
The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) on Friday said the overall viewership continued its southward journey despite the lockdown continuing in large parts of the country, but it is still up compared to the pre-COVID levels.
National broadcaster Doordarshan had adopted a strategy to telecast Hindu-mythology based shows like Ramayana and Mahabharata in the early days of the lockdown which paid handsomely by catapulting the channel to the top of the rating chart.
The lockdown has stopped all the production activities, hitting new content generation.
In data for the week ended May 22, the BARC said the total mythology-based programming stood at 1,671 hrs for the week, which is more than double that of the 777 hrs before the lockdown began.
The fastest growth was in the Hindi category which rose to 765 hrs from 293 hrs, while the east market showed the slowest growth to 443 hrs from the 249 hrs before the lockdown, it said.
Interestingly, the diminishing marginal returns seems to be playing out on the strategy as viewership for such content has declined lately. However, the programming hours keep rising despite that.
At the start of the lockdown, the viewership for mythology-based content stood at 25.7 billion minutes for a week, which hit a high of 119.1 billion minutes within three weeks and has steadily declined from there to be at 75.7 billion minutes for the week ended May 22, the body said.
The overall TV viewing continued its declining journey and stood at 1,018 billion viewing minutes as against the 1,069 billion minutes in the week-ago period, BARC said, adding that it was higher when compared to the pre-COVID's 887 billion minutes.
The biggest hit has been to the primetime band, which is the most rewarding from a commercial perspective, where viewership is 13 per cent lower than the pre-COVID-19 levels, BARC said, attributing the same to lack of new content.
From an advertising perspective, there have been some gains in the last fortnight but the overall volumes continue to be down 23 per cent as compared to the pre-COVID levels, it said.
There was a 3 per cent rise in the number of advertisers in the week to May 22 as compared to the previous reporting week, it said.


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