India’s public service broadcaster helping nation
Prasar Bharati, India’s public service broadcaster, reports that it has been receiving accolades and praise from all over the world for its multidimensional approach to public service broadcasting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A key element of this approach is the combination of high frequency infomercials on COVID-19 with iconic TV shows based on Indian epics such as RAMAYAN, MAHABHARAT, CHANAKYA and others. Similarly, All India Radio (AIR), the radio service of Prasar Bharati, has been regularly broadcasting the government advisories at high frequency while engaging celebrated authors such as Mr. Ruskin Bond to use the power of radio for some old fashioned book reading and story telling.
The re-telecast of RAMAYAN has seen more than 200 million viewers tuning in during the entire episode while the highest viewed episode with an audience of 77 million established a global record.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on 28 April 2020 published an article titled “Coronavirus lockdown creates captive audience for 80’s show” highlighting how the series engaged audiences across India during the nationwide lockdown
Similarly, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on 4 May 2020 published an article titled “The Ramayan: why Indians are turning to nostalgic TV” covering a range of aspects of the popularity of the Doordarshan TV shows and has given a comparison of viewership garnered by the RAMAYANA and popular international TV shows.