Network18’s viewership grew by triple digits during the lockdown: Karan Abhishek Singh

BYJU’S Young Genius, a News18 Network initiative, showcases and recognises inspiring journeys and achievements of child prodigies with exceptional talent in academics, arts, science, sports, music and other creative fields. After receiving overwhelming audience and participant response for the successful first edition, which aired between January and March 2021, News18 Network has now announced the second edition of the BYJU’S Young Genius with a promise to make it bigger and better.

The positive and encouraging narrative of the show makes for a perfect family TV watching experience, especially during these unprecedented times. The show comprises 11 episodes, honoring around 20 young geniuses in the age group of 6-15 years. The inaugural edition saw some well-known Indian personalities from different fields, including Virender Sehwag, PV Sindhu, Mohanlal, Sonu Sood, Sonam Wangchuk, Rajkummar Rao, Shankar Mahadevan, Leander Paes, among others, who not only cherished the remarkable accomplishments of the child prodigies, but also reminisced their own path to glory.

On the show’s success, Karan Abhishek Singh, CEO - Hindi News Cluster, News18 Network, said, “The success of ‘BYJU’S Young Genius’ demonstrates the acceptability of inspiring and entertaining stories and refreshing show formats on Indian television. The first edition received massive viewership, 98.4% positive sentiment on social platforms and consistent demand for new episodes week-on-week from viewers across the country.”

In an exclusive interaction with Adgully, Karan Abhishek Singh, CEO – Hindi News Cluster, News18 Network, speaks about what makes BYJU’S Young Genius such a success, plans for Season 2 of the show, growth during the pandemic period, impact of non-publication of BARC News TV ratings, and more.

What are your plans for the second season, and what new elements will you be introducing in this season?

‘BYJU’S Young Genius’ is a show where we discover young prodigies from across the country, who have the potential to shape the future of this country. After a very successful Season 1, Young Genius Season 2 is going to be much bigger and grander.

We have already done the call for entry campaign and have received over 3 lakh page views and more than 11,000+ entries on the microsites. The final jury is working on it, and once we finish it, we will able to comment on the child prodigies and the episodes. But having got a sneak peek on some of the children, we are very excited and it is mind-blowing to see such talents.

What is the kind of response received for the first edition of Young Genius in terms of viewership, advertising revenues, and advertisers’ response?

Ratings were not available during Season 1, but we had fantastic responses on the digital platforms. The campaign had an overall reach of 100 million+ on social media and on the microsites had 81.5 million users. The total video views were 25 million.

There was a fantastic viewership response. From the advertisers’ perspective, brands are looking out for ideas to deliver a business objective. We have the ability to create innovative concepts and execute them with supreme quality. Young Genius is a big milestone in that direction and will create disruption in the News genre because of the unique kind of content that they bring to the genre and is an addition to large campaigns like Mission Paani, Swabhiman Bharat, Period of Pride Past, etc., that we have done in the past few months as a part of Network18. These innovative ideas are testimony to the trust our partners put in us.

Could you please take us through the selection process and criteria for the child prodigies featured in the show?

The selection is done through various jury processes. An eminent jury of experts from various fields, including Network18’s editorial board, go through the entries and evaluate their talents and achievements. This year’s jury consists of distinguished personalities such as Hema Malini, Shankar Mahadevan, Pullela Gopichand, Amish Tripathi, Amul MD Dr RS Sodhi, and Dr Anil Vishal, Director of VRDO. They are putting in all their experience and insights in shortlisting the children and showcasing their talents to the country.

Given the current circumstances, brands and media alike are making a greater push for positive sentiments. How is News18 Network powering its good news initiative and encouraging the spread of positivity?

As a network, we have always believed in balanced and considerable journalism which has been our philosophy. In these circumstances, viewers and advertisers want to avoid content which is overly toxic. Fortunately, this has never been an issue with our network as we have always been fair and impactful with the news that reaches the heart of the audiences.

The launch of Young Genius during the pandemic has also been inspiring because of the heart-warming content and stories in these times. That is how we look at bringing good and positive content to our viewers on our network.

Apart from BYJU’s, who are the other advertisers on board for the second edition of Young Genius?

BYJU’S was the exclusive partner on the initiative and there are various formats of partnerships and that’s the reason both of us, BYJU’S and Young Genius, partnered. BYJU’S was the exclusive partner last year and continues to be the partner for Season 2 as well.

What are your observations on the growth of the News genre during the pandemic period and after India has unlocked?

Any information or awareness has given more potential to fight against the pandemic and it has played a big role in enabling the country out of the situation. The pandemic has seen people sitting at home, which has helped in news tv consumption. Network18’s own viewership during the lockdown period grew massively; to be precise, it almost went up by triple digits. During the second wave there was a growth of viewership.

As India unlocked, we still continued to provide information and got enough viewership, as we are a network providing content which is relevant and empowering. Because of Network18’s reach in national and regional channels, there is an enhancement of trust that we believe we have created for our viewers.

What is the kind of impact that you have seen with the non-publishing of Barc tv ratings for the News genre?

We are the country’s No. 1 network and we always have a rich historical legacy in place. There is no compromise on the quality of the product that we give to our viewers. Thus, we continue to enjoy this bond with our viewers not only because of the strength, but also because of the impact that we constantly deliver even during the absence of ratings, which create measurability for our efforts. We are in touch with all the bodies of the industry and we are ready for ratings as and when they resume.


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