Are the TRPs Dismal?
Star Plus’s popular show Ishqbaaaz has been in the news since Tuesday because of the upcoming generation leap. It has been reported that most of the cast will be departing, including Surbhi Chandna. Recently, Gul explained that “the last 5 months the ratings have been dismal.” However, while superficially this might appear to be the case, there are other aspects that should be considered.
Or is there something else?
Firstly, in the last 5 months, Ishqbaaaz’s narrative has delineated from the original arc and is exploring the concept of an alternate universe. This has been on occasion complicated to accept and understand. As a general trend, any narrative that is not of the norm finds it more difficult to establish a viewership. Examples include shows such as Dahleez and Tamanna. Though these serials had unique concepts and storylines, they were launched during a phase where supernatural was the popular genre. Consequently, these shows were unable to garner a larger viewership.
In Ishqbaaaz’s case to state that the numbers were dismal is somewhat of a generalisation. Generally, whenever there has been Shivaay and Annika related high-octane drama, the show has done well. For example, in August 2018, there was a surge in viewership. The show managed to reach a whopping 2.3 rating in Week 32, 2.2 in Week 33, 2.0 in Week 34 and finally 2.1 in Week 35. This despite the reduced telecast and zero promotion. This has been the trend in the past too, with the wedding drama in December 2016 as well as Annika’s shooting in February/March 2018.
The other factors explaining the decline in TRPs
The reason for the decline in TRPs can be attributed to a number of factors. First, the festival season, most shows dip in numbers. Ishqbaaaz is no different, as its numbers have always dipped from Navratri to the end of Diwali. This was true in 2016, 2017 as well as 2018. The likelihood is that Ishqbaaaz’s ratings declined since partially due to the onset of festivals, including Navratri and Diwali. Furthermore, in the last two years, Ishqbaaaz has had competition from KBC on Sony and on occasion Bigg Boss. Therefore, it seems a little myopic to blame a decline in ratings entirely on narrative, when this is a yearly trend affecting the entire industry.
From the data available, it’s evident that there is more than one reason for the decline in numbers. From reduced repeat telecast, limited promotions and strong competition accompanied by a complicated narrative to the festive period, the show’s number took a natural hit. To state that Shivaay and Annika are no longer working is overly simplifying a more complex situation. There is hope, however, with the current wedding track that the ratings could be revived. Generally, Shivaay and Annika centric narratives have been proven to be successful. However, based on recent comments, ratings don’t appear to be the primary factor behind the decision to take a leap.