Rakhi Sawant beats the Gods when it comes to programming

By Sapna Nair , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | July 02, 2009
The show has garnered a high TVR of 3.5 as per aMap research, highest ever for the GEC

NDTV Imagine claims to have got an unprecedented start for its reality show, Rakhi Ka Swayamvar. The show, which is about the popular television figure Rakhi Sawant selecting her life partner, has recorded a TVR of 3.5 as per aMap data (C&S, 4+, NWE). This is the highest ever rating recorded by any of NDTV Imagine's programmes since its launch.

Even its most popular programme, the mythological series Ramayan, did not garner such a high TVR. The launch TVR of Ramayan as per aMap data was 1.1. NDTV did not 'imagine' this response. "We were expecting it to do well but the aMap ratings are more encouraging," says Nikhil Madhok, vice-president, marketing and communications, NDTV Imagine.

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The show has replaced the epic Ramayan and another daily, Seeta Aur Geeta, in the 9 pm slot. The time slot has seen a 185 per cent rise in viewership, with the TVR going from an average 1.2 to 3.5.

Another reason for Imagine to rejoice is the fact that amongst all the new shows that kicked in towards the end of June, this one has attracted the most eyeballs. For instance, India's Got Talent on Colors garnered a rating of 2.2, while Hasne Aur Hasaane Ka Tonic - Ladies' Special on Zee managed to record a rating of 1.8.

What has worked, according to Madhok, is the campaign that was launched as early as April. Instead of discreetly calling for entries, Imagine announced the auditions. "This created a buzz much before the launch and since the concept is unique, the show got a lot of media attention," he says.

Through a multi-city and multi-media campaign, the show was promoted towards the launch date. There were posters, similar to movie posters, pasted across 25 cities and promoters with signage were stationed outside railway stations and bus stops to ensure tune-ins on the launch day.

A senior media planner says that while the buzz is at its peak now, the show will retain eyeballs for a couple of weeks but may fail to sustain it later. When asked if this was just an initial curious phase, Madhok informs that there won't be any room or time for fatigue. "The show will be on for four-five weeks. Viewer fatigue won't be an issue because the format is a short one. By August 2, Rakhi Sawant will garland the man of her choice," he says.

Besides having television celebrities walking into shows, Imagine is creating buzz on the web, too. A game, called Rakhi Ka Swayamvar, has been launched in association with Zapak. The game can be played on both Zapak as well as on NDTV Imagine's website. Madhok claims that within the last three days, it has featured as one of the top five games on Zapak.