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Star Plus' off-air preparations for 'Satyamev Jayate'

Source : BUSINESS_STANDARD
Last Updated: Mon, Feb 24, 2014 20:17 hrs
Aamir Khan's year in retrospect

Star Plus is bringing back the show that gave it bragging rights over reviving a dead time-slot. After an explosive start in 2012, Satyamev Jayate, Star Plus' talk show that is anchored by Aamir Khan, is all set for its second season on 2nd March.

With an average rating of 2.45 over 14 episodes in the first season, the show had garnered its highest rating of 3.2 TVR for an episode on medical malpractice. Star India CEO Uday Shankar says, "Yes, the show has been instrumental in bringing about awareness on issues like medical malpractice and child abuse. It also blurred the lines between entertainment (fiction and reality shows) and non-entertainment (news etc.). It brought to light that what matters is the impact."


Apart from the audience impact, which the channel is using to drive its off-line activations for its season 2, Satyamev had also brought to life a time-slot in TV viewing that had been struggling for long - the Sunday morning-11.00-am time-slot.

THE ROOTS LIE IN SHANKAR’S PAST
  • Amid the din of preparations for the launch of Satyamev Jayate, Uday Shankar calmly shares the show’s antecedents. The idea and concept of Satyamev came to him when at Star News. A project had been tested on a small scale but did not take off.
  • At Star Plus, Shankar found in Khan, popularly regarded as one of the credible stars in Bollywood today, the perfect match. Shankar says, “The association is proof that the power of a platform and personality can be harnessed to bring about a change for the better.”
  • Having been a journalist, Shankar says, “No matter what part of media you work in, if you are not using it to create a better society, then you are missing an opportunity.”

The band had made for prime-time viewing decades back when B R Chopra's Mahabharat used to be aired on Doordarshan. With satellite TV, Sunday mornings were ruled by the Bournvita Quiz Contest, originally aired on Zee TV.

After BQC went off-air, channels failed to retain viewers, missing a hook for them to latch on to. Satyamev captured the audience when the band was almost written off. Most other Hindi GECs still concentrate on the evening prime-time, not just during weekdays but also over weekends, as both Colors and Zee TV have fresh programming only during the 8-11-pm slot on weekends.

With Satyamev, Star Plus is now able to reiterate its revamped strategy of extending the prime-time way beyond weekdays (usually lasting from 6:30pm to 11pm). Satyamev in its first season had also been the only popular non-talent reality show, when others focused on talent hunts for prime-time viewing.

The campaign tries to take its activism from its earlier programming off-line as well. Taking on the tagline of Jinhe Desh ki Fikr hai, Satyamev's launch campaign tries to differentiate between those who care and those who don't for their country. The channel is also running a promo that depicts how social media, accessed through smartphones, can become a significant driver of change.

Star Plus is pulling all stops to weave the launch campaign into the social fabric before the show is aired, touching viewers' everyday lives. The channel will soon have Satyamev imagery at what it calls 'Fikr Points' across cities, encouraging people to do the right thing - so it could be seen reminding people in Mumbai, for example, to pay the rickshaw-driver only by the metre, or buying a ticket to ride in the local train. The idea is to integrate the motto of Satyamev in the everyday routine of the audience.

Satyamev's popularity in 2012 has helped it retain two of its main sponsors - telecom player Airtel and Axis Bank. The sponsors too have gone beyond just on-air sponsorship. This time around, Airtel users will get the message of Satyamev on their bills for a full month, taking the brand integration deeper. Apart from this, all the in-show calls will be made on Airtel 3G and donations could be made via Airtel Money. Those on Airtel's online community will get access to exclusive content from the show.

Mohit Beotra, chief brand officer, Bharti Airtel (India) says, "The show's content adds a dimension of affinity (to the brand) and Aamir's presence brings credibility. Also, the popularity of the show means that it gives us access to a lot of eyeballs. Perhaps the most important reason for us to associate with the show again in its second year is that it creates conversations, especially in the online space, and gives way to high levels of engagement."

The show will have a longer lifespan this year, owing to general elections. It will be aired in three installments. The first five episodes will be aired in March and then it will return after two to three months. With elections slated to be held in April, Shankar did not want to air Satyamev when the country would be "going through the single-most important democratic exercise." It would also help, as the channel's research says - it would be a good idea to give the audience time to dwell on the intense issues in between episodes, rather than subject them to consecutive episodes in quick succession.

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