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Changing face of ‘Balika Vadhu’: Will the story reclaim the glory?

10-August-2010
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Changing face of ‘Balika Vadhu’: Will the story reclaim the glory?

When Colors launched in July 2008, one of the first shows that it started promoting was ‘Balika Vadhu’. The fresh concept, a socially relevant issue like child marriage and the marked absence of the saas-bahu wars had the audience tuning in to the show.

Over the past two years, the show has highlighted several issues like widow remarriage, educating the girl child, craze for a male heir and so on. Even the protagonist, Anandi, has been through quite a lot at a tender age, including battling death at one point.

All these have had audiences hooked to the show, bringing in fairly decent numbers. In a period of just one month (July-August 2008), ‘Balika Vadhu’ managed to get an average TVR of 2.79 per cent (C&S 4+ HSM). Over time, the ratings picked up and in the first two months of 2009, the show’s average TVR was 7.48.

Natasha Kapoor, Media Purchases Director, MediaCom, noted that the initial promos of the show had generated a lot of interest in the buying and planning fraternity. “The repeat telecast strategy that the channel adopted, worked very well. In fact, the repeat telecast at 11 pm has been delivering better ratings than the original 8 pm telecast,” she pointed out.

On similar lines, Shailesh Velandy, Vice President, Mudra Max, said that repeats performed well, especially in single TV households like India.

Over time, more characters have been introduced in the show without diluting the main story line. The show has managed to deliver decent ratings and till February 2010, the show consistently gave an average TVR of 5+. However, it did slip a bit to 4.3 TVR for the June-July 2010 period.

Moving ahead in time

Seeing this dip, Colors probably decided to bring about a time leap on the show – a tough decision given the immense popularity of Avika Gor as Anandi. But it is a gamble that the channel has taken and in order to generate interest and engage the viewers in the entire process Colors let them ‘choose’ their own Anandi. Viewers were given three possible options for the new Anandi and the one who got the highest number of votes was selected as the new Anandi.

This move seems to be paying off for the channel. The episodes prior to the time leap had a TVR of 4+, whereas the first two episodes after the time leap recorded TVRs of 5.04 and 6.92, respectively. However, the ratings started to decline after that and in Week 31, the last episode of ‘Balika Vadhu’ received a TVR of 4.99.

Commenting on the time leap, MediaCom’s Kapoor said, “Initially, there will be a disconnect between the audience and the new Anandi, but then they will get used to her.”

However, this does prove that the days of a single show ruling television are long gone and that viewers want innovation and thrills in the storyline to stay faithful to one particular show.

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