New Delhi: Is the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme, which has been termed the “most popular televised radio programme” by information and broadcasting minister (I&B) Anurag Thakur, on a decline? According to a written reply by the minister in Rajya Sabha, the revenues generated by the programme had in the last fiscal dropped over 90% compared with the peak in 2017-18.
It was in response to a question from Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Fauzia Khan that Thakur gave details of the revenues earned through the programme, 78 episodes of which have been telecast till date.
The ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme generated revenues of Rs 1.16 crore in 2014-15, which increased sharply over the first three fiscals. It generated Rs 2.81 crore in 2015-16, Rs 5.14 crore in 2016-17 and then peaked at Rs 10.64 crore in 2017-18.
However, ever since, the revenues from the programme have declined sharply. In 2018-19, they dropped to Rs 7.47 crore and then took a sharp dive to Rs 2.56 crore in 2019-20. The revenues reached a low of Rs 1.02 crore in 2020-21, which is even lower than what the programme generated in the first four months of its launch in 2014-15. Overall, the programme has generated Rs 30.80 crore since its launch.
In response to another sub-query by Khan, Thakur said the Centre has incurred no additional expenditure due to ‘Mann Ki Baat’. “Prasar Bharati produces Mann Ki Baat leveraging existing in-house resources with no additional expenditure. In-house staff is leveraged for production and existing translators engaged on assignment basis for language versions,” his written reply said.
The programme has become India’s “most popular televised radio programme”, Thakur said, saying that it has substantial audience following, and as per the audience data measured by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) of television channels, its cumulative reach of viewership ranged from 6 crore to 14.35 crore between 2018-2020.
‘Popularity of radio’
To a question which asked whether the ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme has increased the popularity of radio, Thakur gave a detailed reply in which he described the programme as “a unique initiative of the prime minister to reach the masses across the country through the radio.” The question was flagged by Bharatiya Janata Party MP Rakesh Sinha.
Further, Thakur said, the programme “provides every citizen the opportunity to connect, suggest and become part of participatory governance” through the prime minister’s address. He also termed it as “India’s first visually enriched radio programme that is simultaneously broadcast by television channels.”
Giving details of the reach of the programme, Thakur said 34 DD channels and approximately 91 private satellite TV channels broadcast this radio programme throughout India and it had recorded 11.8 crore viewership and 14.3 crore reach in 2020. “This has created renewed interest and awareness in traditional radio,” he claimed.
The minister added that All India Radio also broadcasts a weekly one hour programme based on the prime minister’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’, titled ‘Post Box No. 111’ every Sunday at 11 am, except on days when ‘Mann Ki Baat’ is broadcast, that features important issues or topics mentioned by the prime minister.