DAN Interviews

Naagin’s successor Kawach makes a strong debut

Between 11 and 17 June, ‘Kawach’ became the most watched Hindi general entertainment programme with 10.9 million impressions garnered across both rural and urban markets

The inaugural episodes of the weekend show Kawach... Kaali shaktiyon se on Colors, the Hindi general entertainment channel from the Viacom18 stable, gripped the Indian television audiences in both urban and rural India to top the viewership charts in week 24, according to data released by BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) India on Thursday.

Between 11 and 17 June, it became the most watched Hindi general entertainment programme with 10.9 million impressions garnered across both rural and urban markets. Impressions refer to the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes.

Kawach... Kaali shaktiyon se, which premiered on 11 June, deals with elements of the supernatural and exorcism and tells the story of a young couple and the spirit of the male lead’s fanatical lover.

Interestingly, the show based on Indian folklore and myths attracted urban audiences the most, registering 7.1 million impressions during the week as against 3.8 million impressions in rural markets where it stood third among top five television programmes.

The serial produced by Balaji Telefilms Ltd replaced Colors’s superhit fiction show Naagin, also made by Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji. Naagin ruled the TV viewership charts for about seven months and topped the list of the most popular shows on Hindi general entertainment channels, ahead of Yeh Hai Mohabbatein on Star Plus and Kumkum Bhagya on Zee TV.

“Supernatural genre is escapist entertainment and the viewers tend to gravitate towards it because it takes viewers away from their daily mundane lives,” said Ambi M.G. Parameswaran, advertising veteran and president of the Advertising Agencies Association of India.

Parameswaran attributed the success of the paranormal genre to Naagin. “This supernatural trend was started by Zee Horror Show and has been reinvented by Naagin,” he said. Zee Horror Show was a Ramsay Brothers production, which aired between 1993 and 1997.

Naagin’s success has propelled television channels to explore the supernatural theme by both launching new shows and introducing supernatural twists in existing programmes. Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd-owned Zee TV launched Vishkanya (a female serpent) in March. However, the six-days-a-week show has not been able to replicate Naagin’s success, registering 1.5 million impressions for the week that ended 17 June.

Meanwhile, long-running family drama Sasural Simar Ka on Colors recently added a supernatural track when the female protagonist turned into a fly. The show was first launched in 2011. Another such example is the Balaji Telefilms produced-Yeh Hai Mohabbatein on Star Plus in which the female lead was recently possessed by an evil spirit. The show was the second-most watched across both urban and rural markets with 10.4 million impressions for the week ended 17 June.

Tanusri Das Gupta, creative director at Balaji Telefilms, attributed the success of the genre to the folklore that is pertinent to Indian culture. “Folkore is a part of our culture. Possession and black magic go back to our past, to the interiors of our country. We play a lot of gimmicks and everything, but the concept is always folklore, history and mythology,” said Das Gupta.

She added that Balaji Telefilms is determined to make Kawach a worthy successor to Naagin. “Naagin was a super success and we really have to keep up the good work in the same space. Kawach’s launch was supported by a lot of promotions. Next two-three weeks may decide the fate of the show,” she added.

While viewers have voted in favour of black magic and evil spirits on TV, advertisers are also cashing in on this trend. According to the media buyer estimates, shows like Naagin and Kawach fetch advertisement rates of Rs.1.2 lakh per 10 seconds and with the show getting high ratings, the prices go as high as Rs.1.5 lakh. “The channels are encashing on the supernatural genres and such shows seem to be doing really well with the audiences,” said Harsha Joshi, executive vice-president (group trading), Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd, a global media and digital marketing communication firm.

Joshi added that the supernatural genre is emerging as the new trend on television and all the channels are moving towards it. “The genre is here to stay for a while now,” she said.

While Kawach bagged the number one position in top five programmes, Colors also regained the top spot after three weeks, garnering 664.5 million impressions, followed by Star Plus, which registered 641.4 million impressions between 11 and 17 June. In the week before that, Star Plus registered 702.4 million impressions, 18 million more than Colors, which garnered 684.3 million impressions.