Anindita Sarkar

Ratan Ka Rishta gets interactive: Will it help win fresh viewers?

The reality show on Imagine TV will be replaced by two new fiction properties -- Dwarkadish at 8 pm, and Preeto at 8.30 pm.

While Rakhi's oomph in the Imagine TV show 'Swayamvar' had helped the channel popularity rise up to as much as 140 GRPs, Ratan's potential 'Rishta' currently on air on Imagine TV, is still struggling to prove its worth amongst the Hindi GEC audiences.

The reality show opened with the lowest 'Swayamvar' ratings ever, with a TVR of 1.6. During its first edition, Rakhi Sawant's reality TV hunt for a partner had scored an opening of 4.1 TVR, while Imagine's endeavour to scout for the 'right bride' for Rahul Mahajan in 'Swayamvar 2', fetched the show an opening of 2.1.

And, therefore, the channel, currently standing at an 85-GRP mark, is pushing the absolutely non-controversial Ratan into the digital space, to expand the show's audience bracket.

Ratan Ka Rishta gets interactive: Will it help win fresh viewers?
Nikhil Madhok, senior director, marketing and communications, Imagine TV, says, "The show opened with an approximate 2.5-2.7 TVR, in the 10-24 girls segment. The attempt now is to tap into that youth segment, and expand the base even more."

For mobile, Imagine TV has partnered with UTV India Games to launch the 'Swayamvar 3' mobile game, in which, the game gives the audience a chance to see where it would stand in the real Swayamvar.

Meanwhile, the channel has also launched a unique initiative, wherein audiences can call Ratan, the show protagonist, and give her advice on each of the prospective grooms.

Additionally, to disseminate more information about Ratan, and thus raise the audience interest levels, the channel is providing 'Ratan's Audio Diary' for Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance users. To get connected with Ratan on television, Vodafone is also availing a live audience for its subscribers on 14 June.

The channel has also collaborated with Zapak, to roll out the mobile game on the web. The game will also be hosted on Facebook, as well as Imagine TV's website.

But, will this digital push really help improve the show's audience base?

While today, almost all channels are exploiting the various digital platforms to reach out to their respective audiences, Ratan Ka Rishta will need more than just a digital push to expand audience base.

The format is based on a single protagonist and therefore, unlike many other reality formats, needs to be the most interesting content of the entire show. During Season 1, controversy queen Rakhi Sawant created that interest factor with her 'oomph', while controversial politico-television personality Rahul Mahajan was the protagonist in Season 2.

Anita Karnik, principal partner, invention, Mindshare, says, "Therefore, since the characters chosen were so controversial in Season 1 and 2, the curiosity levels were extremely high. Ratan is not a very controversial feature of the Swayamvar property.

Hence, while the digital push can generate better awareness for the show, there is not much guarantee that this will lead to the show's overall audience base and stickiness."

Madhok is however optimistic. He notes that similar to the previous seasons, the new season, too, with more awareness, will add further to the audience base.

"Rakhi Ka Swayamvar started with a TVR of 4.1 and ended with 8.4, while Rahul's Dulhaniya Le Jayega scored a 5.6 TVR during its grand finale. Therefore, both shows continued adding numbers to the audience base till the grand finale. We are sure that Ratan Ka Rishta, too, will witness a similar fate," he says.

Meanwhile, the reality show, which will come to an end after three weeks, will be replaced by two new fiction properties. The mythological show Dwarkadish, will occupy the 8 pm band, and will be based on the life and times of Lord Krishna. Preeto, on the other hand, will be a fiction show that will occupy the 8.30 pm band, and will encapsulate the life and journey of five sisters.

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