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After success of Man vs Wild episode featuring PM Modi, Discovery ropes in noted Indian personalities

Celebrities like Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar will appear in the upcoming 14-part TV series.

January 31, 2020 / 09:34 PM IST
Image: Twitter/@BearGrylls

Image: Twitter/@BearGrylls

After the appearance of Narendra Modi on Man vs Wild show, Discovery is continuing its strategy of calling more influential Indians on the show. This time, host Bear Grylls will be seen with Rajinikanth.

What's more interesting is that the channel is adding more Indians to the guest list on the show. Recently, it was reported that even Akshay Kumar has shot for an episode for the Man vs Wild show at Bandipur National Forest, Karnataka.

In addition, the 14-part series television survival series will also feature  Deepika Padukone and Virat Kohli.

But is Discovery's strategy a step in the right direction?

The PM Modi show, aired on August 12 last year, clocked highest viewership in the infotainment genre during prime time, Discovery had said in a statement.

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According to data by Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC), Discovery’s Man vs Wild recorded 6.9 million impressions and 400 million viewing minutes.

As many as 18.4 million unique viewers tuned in for the episode across the country.

Discovery channel was at the 4th position across all channels/genres on the day of the premiere (August 12, 2019) during 9m-10 pm slot.

The premier on August 12 last year recorded 6.1 million tune-ins on the channel, 15 times higher than what the previous four weeks had seen during the same slot. And this resulted in Discovery getting 93 percent channel share in the infotainment genre.

But the episode not only proved beneficial for Discovery but to the entire infotainment genre. This is because Modi’s appearance on the Man vs Wild show resulted in viewers spending an average of 29.2 minutes and the Discovery network as a whole saw 15.6 million tune-ins.

BARC defines impressions as the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes.

While Modi's episode was a success, it was considered as a one-off thing. Experts then had said that for the channel to sustain the new audience, it will have to keep experimenting.

It looks like the channel is just doing that by focusing on Indian celebrities.

Talking to Moneycontrol, Sudhir Kumar, Director, Offline Media, DCMN India, said: "They (Discovery) are extending the Indian celeb strategy and they are promoting on social media and getting better viewership and the social media buzz is huge. This new act has revived the infotainment genre."

The Modi episode had clocked 3.6 million social impressions in two weeks and #PMModiOnDiscovery was one of the most used hashtags with 1.2 billion plus impressions on Twitter.

"Such episodes help revive interest in the programme. At least for those special episodes, viewership sees an upward spiral. The moot question however remains whether as an overall strategy such interventions work. The PM’s episode showed high traction. I think other celebrities too help both the hype as well as bring in the higher eyeballs. Discovery has a unique niche, and its programming is differentiated. So, celebrities help in spicing up the content somewhat but Discovery’s core audience is still about nature and new learnings," said Sandeep Goyal, Chairman, Mogae Media.

According to Shrenik Gandhi, CEO and Co-Founder, White Rivers Media, there are three things which help dissemination in India – Politics, Bollywood and Cricket.  The Narendra Modi episode created the right stirs and huge populations of the country who were not prone to Discovery started consuming their content.

But Gandhi too shares similar concerns.

"There are no two thoughts that this will highly benefit both the Discovery channel and the show but what’s important is that this should not be a one of stunt in TRP for Discovery. Discovery should keep coming up with interesting and innovative concepts and content herein after because it has a new audience that has moved on to their channels. This is not the end of the game but the real game of TRP begins once these episodes are aired because a new plethora of audience will come on board on the channel," he said.
Maryam Farooqui
first published: Jan 31, 2020 09:27 pm

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