Press Release

And the show goes on…

5 August 2012

FULL-PAGEadvertisements splayed in Sunday’s two main city supplements —Yeh anth nahi..shuruaat hai. As curtains came down on Star network’s 13-episode, ambitious, part-news-part entertainment talk show that dissected a complex slice of our life every week — the real ordeal begins for Persistent System’s 1000-strong ‘Big Data’ in Pune.

Specialising in digital analytics, the digital analytic service was hired to aggregate the billion-odd impressions generated by the show and archive (still a work in progress) the viewers’ feedback from across the globe.

This will help and Aamir’s and Star’s team to make sense of the show’s impact and use it for the proposed sequel. The ultimate aim is also to distribute the SMJ reports to various academic institutions, who might find these of value for future research. Persistent System used DataStack 3.0 suit to gather feedback from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and SMJ official site, during the 13 week run of the show on Indian television.

At the last count, SMJ had managed to create over 10 million responses and made one billion plus impressions over the web. Every week, the show took Twitter by storm, trending at the top in India. Three episodes — # Weddings, #Don’t Hate Love and #For the Disabled - trended top, globally and SMJ emerged as the most talked about new show on social media in May, according to World Information Tracking (WIT).

In its wake, SMJ also stole the thunder from its star-anchor. As #Aamir slid on Twitter trends, #Childsexabuse, #Dowry, #ThingsDoctorsDo, #DontHateLove, #ForTheDisabled, #DomesticViolence, #WhatweEat and #AlchoholAbuse rode high. The highest response was received from outside India — from the NRI community in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Messages were also received from remote countries — Djibouti, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Isle of Man, Cayman Islands, Cape Verde, Sierra Leone and Papua New Guinea. The most heart-wrenching however came in the form of personal stories shared by ordinary Indians on social media — a platform ideally suitable for such outpourings.

Jonathan Dotan, an American who is assisting Amir’s team with this data mining is struck most by this cathartic flow. He explains it in the following words: “The issues we took up were part of the private discourse. SMJ merely brought them out for a no-holds barred introspection on a public platform.”

About the use of the digital medium for this kind of an impact study, the Star spokesperson says, “It was not done as an afterthought. It was integral to STAR and AKP’s plan from day one. Rather than simply using digital as a marketing tool, we had an abiding belief in the power of the digital platforms to improve the format and bring about the change that Satyamev Jayate aimed at.”

Even the website testifies to Aamir’s strategic use of the new medium. It archives the show content and carries full YouTube versions of every episode in seven regional languages. There is a dashboard to give viewers’ a real-time impact assessment of each episode. The website became so popular that the channel had to carry a disclaimer against copycat versions!

Not everything, however, was released for mass consumption. An internal dashboard from Persistent presented a more in-depth analysis of weekly data to the core team — Aamir Khan and a few key people from Aamir Khan Productions (AKP) and Star India. Obviously, this is the material that would be used for the sequel.

A library section provides additional material and is a good resource for victims, who want to refer to NGOs. A donation portal was later added to receive financial contributions for SMJ-endorsed NGOs. This portal received Rs 5.2 crore, not counting the matching grants that Reliance Foundation has pledged. Nearly half of this, ie Rs 2.3 crore were received in response to the first episode on female foeticide for the NGO Snehalaya. If the barrage of responses that is still pouring in from different parts of the country is any indication, Star’s hottest property is perfectly poised for the sequel.

Source: Tehelka

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