‘Satyamev Jayate’ allowed an unprecedented response for STAR India, on various platforms. However, even as the show generated the right buzz, it did not create enough viewership, at least according to ratings data from TAM Media Research.
The first episode of SMJ received rave reviews from viewers, and stirred up the Indian media and advertising industry. Experts expected continued high ratings from the show. But TAM TV ratings, shared by STAR India, measured across channels that telecast SMJ, threw up only a 4+ TVR in the all-India market across cable and satellite homes. Ratings even dropped to 3 for some episodes. The marginal drop in ratings in subsequent weeks didn’t surprise the broadcaster. “Obviously, the first episode was expected to be really very big because it would get the crescendo effect of the launch. But we knew that it would settle down to normal business viewership,” asserted Uday Shankar, CEO, STAR India, reiterating his belief that TAM ratings cannot be the sole determinant of the success of a show. “The overall impact of the show has to be looked at.”
Bharti Airtel, the title sponsor of the show, echoed this sentiment. “TV ratings is just one facet of any show. Airtel associates with a show for the quality and stickiness of content and opinions formed about the brand, not just among viewers but also the wider universe of people,” stated Bharat Bambawale, Director, Global Brand, Bharti Airtel. He informed that direct and online response to the show reflects a high engagement level.
Another observation that surfaced was that while SMJ appealed to the widest age group of viewers, a large number of viewers were predominantly from urban regions of the country. Moreover, South and East India were not as keen about the show as the North and West regions. However, Airtel maintained that it is satisfied with the response SMJ received from southern markets. “While the show was dubbed in regional languages, the stickiness and quality of content ensured a wider reach and a positive exposure for Airtel,” said Bambawale, adding that the number of downloads of the SMJ hello tunes from the southern part of the country was around the same level as that from the Hindi speaking belt.
A popularly asked question for SMJ is whether TV ratings is the only metric to measure success? And a commonly given answer is ‘Not necessarily for a show like SMJ, which started trending on Twitter even before the first episode began at 11AM on May 6, 2012’.
The response to SMJ on all other platforms was good enough to prevent STAR India from fretting over television ratings. “I have not seen SMJ’s TV ratings data even once. I have a healthy disrespect for TAM data, which doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in it. It has a role, but it is not the sole determinant of the power of content,” said Shankar.