On 27 November, Sony Entertainment Television launched one of its most expensive historical show, Porus. Apart from being the most expensive show in television history, the fact that the IP of this drama remains with the producers, makes it a differently treated project.
The show is produced by Siddharth Kumar Tewary, who is known for making larger than life shows like Mahabharat (Star Plus), Shani (Colors), Mahakali (Colors) and many more. Interestingly, Porus was initiated two years ago before the official launch of the show. It believed to be one of the most expensive show on TV with a production value of Rs 400-500 crore. Also the 10 sec slot of the show was pegged at Rs 1.5 lakh.
The show has completed its two months journey. Though the show created lot of buzz, it failed to garner the impressive ratings. According to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data, the show started with 3.6 million impressions in week 48. As the show moved ahead, the ratings dropped in week 49. The show garnered 3.0 million impressions. In week 50, it recorded 3.3 million impressions and again dropped in week 51 and achieved 2.8 million impressions. While in week 52, Porus recorded 3.1 million impressions.
Talking about Porus' performance, Sony Entertainment Television, EVP and business head Danish Khan said, âRight now, the show is doing average, I will not say that its doing extremely well but 1 (TRP) rating in todayâs scenario is not a bad rating. The key story of Porus and Alexander will start now. I am hoping that we will see approximately 20 percent of growth in viewership in the mid February to mid March. We are happy but not delighted but we think there is prospect of growth in Porusâ viewership.â
In the past we have seen shows like Jodha Akbar which was produced by Ekta Kapoor and it was one of the most successful historical drama. Shows like Chakravartin Ashok Samrat, Mahabharat, Dharti ka Veer Yodha- Prithviraj Chauhan, Chandragupta Maurya and Bharat ka Veer Putra- Maharana Pratap, have all performed extremely well for the makers. One factor was common in all these shows- the character connect. So if we talk about Porus or Alexander, the lesser known character can primarily be one of the reasons of the show's slow performance.
âPorus as a hero might not be as popular as Akbar or Chandragupta Maurya but the story is very strong. I am not worried about the choice of Porus as a show. The start was good, there was little bit of lull but its picking up now.â
According to the information available with exchange4media, the show is performing extremely well on the digital platform. The show garnered 80 lakh viewership in the month of January.
âIn SonyLiv, between December and January, the growth has been 25 percent and I am sure what we are seeing on Sony LIV, we will start seeing the same on television,â said Khan.
Sony is an urban channel and it caters to urban audiences in metros. Khan added, âWe are delivering almost 50 percent of the average of Hindi speaking market. It's not about GRPs, it's also about the quality of GRPs that Porus is over delivering.â
The beginning of the years had been stable for the show as in week 1, it garnered 3.1 million impressions. In week 2, the show witnessed a hike in ratings and collected 3.4 million impressions, but again in week 3 it dropped and gathered 3.2 million impressions.
âThis week we have increased to 1.1 rating which is quite encouraging and we are growing. We have a long way to go. The best part is I have tried something which is not in the regular zone. I have tried a new way storytelling which you can see in the show. It's been appreciated and people are liking it, so I am happy but not satisfied yet. It's a number one show on Sony and we will keep moving. Sony has supported a lot, they said, 'follow your conviction and keep doing your best because results are not in your hand',â said Siddharth Kumar Tewary, founder , chief creative, One Life Studio and Swastik Productions.
Speaking about the character building and connecting with the viewers, he agreed and said, âYes I agree that in the historical zone, Porus is lesser known from a pan India point of view. But every time you canât piggyback on a known character. If your character is not connecting with the viewers, people are not going to watch the content. I need to keep working on building a character. For me making a series like Porus was much more difficult than making a show on a known character. It's not a regular drama, you canât compare a weekend non-fiction with a weekday non-fiction, its different.â
ZEEL Special project, Chief Creative , Shailja Kejriwal mentioned, âMost people have started looking more at the scale of a product rather than the characterisation or story. The chatter surrounding historicals and mythos are about how much money has been spent and on what. Good production design is important but that alone cannot get ratings. In case of historicals and mythos, the familiarity of the brand is also what attract masses in the first instance. People are familiar with brands like Ram, Hanuman or Jodhaa Akbar, more than they are familiar with Alexander or Porus. Historicals and mythos are like comfort food. The familiarity is comforting.â
Director Kutsâ Production founder Rajan Shahi said, âEverything cannot be judged on the basis of ratings. Porus has set a exemplary example of the kind of television content we should be proud of. The makers of the show, Siddharth and Rahul have taken the content miles ahead. Some content makers are doing safe kind of shows but really, hats off to Porusâ makers of pushing the limits. There are some shows which are poor in the entire execution and content but gets good ratings. I am inspired by Porus, and the team that produces this kind of content and hard work, irrespective of ratings. Porus has been a benchmark of good content, execution and casting.â
Producer, director, Ravinder Gautam said, âPorus is a great show and well executed but I think it would have been better for other platform (digital) where you have recall value of these things. TV audience is not savvy enough to understand good graphics and all other technical things. I think on television, scale is not that important; one should invest in creating stories on television. In the past, we have seen shows like Mahabharat, Ramayan which is large in scale at that time but it worked because the story was engaging and people connected with it.â
The show might be taking a slow flight on television in terms of ratings but it is definitely making a noise, not just in India, but also internationally. Sri Lanka based broadcaster Maharaja TV bought the rights of 260 episodic series Porus. The show has been renamed as Digvijaya. The broadcaster has paid USD 5000 to the production house for the historical drama. According to sources, the makers of the show are in talks with other platforms as well.
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