Star India CEO Uday Shankar and his team have reasons to cheer. The initial viewership numbers for Mahabharat, their Rs.100 crore show on Star Plus, have been extremely encouraging. The show garnered an opening viewership of 8445 TVTs (television viewership in thousands), which means that around 8.4 million people watched it on September 6, the day it debuted. The show has garnered a weekly rating of 6356 TVTs (6.3 million viewers).
A Star India spokesperson claimed Mahabharat has garnered the highest TV ratings among all TV shows of the last three years. The company bet heavily on Mahabharat and is known to have spent close to Rs.20 crore on its marketing alone. On the sidelines of the Business Today CEO Power Breakfast on Tuesday (September 24), CEO Uday Shankar had mentioned that the show had received good response on online platforms as well. "Our aim was to reach out to the youth through Mahabharat and with online receiving good traction, we have succeeded in our attempt." The Mahabharat ratings have taken Star Plus overall viewership numbers to 534569 TVTs (53.4 million viewers), while Colors, the No. 2 player in the Hindi General Entertainment genre is a distant No. 2 with 479,902 TVTs (47.9 million viewers). Unlike most marquee properties for which broadcasters charge a premium for a 10-second ad spot, Star Plus chose to go with its usual 10-second rate of Rs.2 lakh to 2.5 lakh for Mahabharat. Given the ratings, advertisers should expect a rise in ad rates. A 10-second ad spot on Sony TV's Kaun Banega Crorepati costs Rs.5 lakh to Rs.6 lakh.