Star Plus' social issues show looks at ways to become a people's brand for the next set of viewers.
After Satyamev Jayate got interrupted at the beginning of this year by the general elections in April, it is now getting back on air with a new marketing pitch. Behind Star Plus' highlighting the impact on the social causes the show had taken up, lies an insight on its audience.
The second season of the social awareness show had gone off-air in March on a call that Star India CEO Uday Shankar had taken. He did not want to air it when the country was slated to go "through the single-most important democratic exercise" in April. However, he had also hinted at the need to avoid subjecting the audience to too many episodes at one go in quick succession, given their heavy and intense subjects.
Gayatri Yadav, executive vice-president (marketing & communications), Star India, says, "Over the last two and a half years, Satyamev Jayate has redefined the role of TV as a positive change agent. There has been a significant shift in attitude, perceptions, beliefs and behaviour. We felt that there is a need to share this impact."
But the need to talk about the effect, rather than just the causes, also springs from the fact that the show needs to keep scepticism, among the viewers, at bay. "Talking about the impact also breaks the audience's cynicism and demonstrate that change is possible and how it has shaped in their lives and society."
Earlier this year, the show had focused on taking its activism offline. Star Plus had put up 'Fikr Points' across cities, to remind people to pay the rickshaw-driver only by the metre in Delhi, buy a ticket for a local train ride in Mumbai etc. This time, viewers across Star India's channels have been seeing the host, actor Aamir Khan, in TVCs, narrating the success stories of initiatives taken by or featured in the show's earlier editions, for the past two weeks.
The impact angle is distilled in the tagline of Mumkin hai (it is possible). Yadav says that talking about actual results that can be linked to the show makes the audience more sticky. "It has a big pay-off or gratification for the viewers for their time, energy and the emotions invested in the show; it helps in renewing their commitment to the show", she says.
While the first tranche of the second season of Satyamev had a promo depicting how social media, accessed through smartphones, can become a significant driver of change, this year the second screen will have a bigger role to play.
The viewers will get a chance to interact with the host, real time, via the digital medium. This extension, called 'SMJ Live', would be an hour-long live show that will follow the recorded episode. Khan would be interacting with people from all over the country.
"This was based on feedback that our viewers wished to interact and have their voice heard. Digital will be a key medium for this, where people can ask questions, share their views through social media and this will be broadcast live on Star Plus. 'SMJ Live' is one more step in taking the show closer to viewers and making it a people's brand," says Yadav.
A marketing executive from a rival channel, says that engagement initiatives for such a show are very important. "When the content of the show is more serious in tone, you need to make it all the more interactive. Moreover, the channel can capitalise on Aamir's celeb pull to make the live interaction be more popular." While Sony's Kaun Banega Crorepati has a live phone-in jackpot round for the TV audience conducted by Amitabh Bachchan, Colors' Bigg Boss had a 'Caller of the day' round last year, where a viewer could talk to Salman Khan and ask a question of the participants.
Since its inception, Satyamev has had a strong presence on digital, with over 1 billion online impressions across platforms. Star Plus launched the promo with the Twitter "Flock To Unlock" initiative, sending it out to all the people who flocked to use the hashtag #Mumkinhai.
Continuing from the March airing, Airtel is the title sponsor for the show, while Axis Bank is the 'powered by' sponsor. Satyamev will also be continuing its association with Nita Ambani's Reliance Foundation.
Media planners peg the cost of sponsorship at Rs 18-20 crore for Airtel and Rs 13-15 crore for Axis Bank, while the spot rates are in the range of Rs 9 to 11 lakh for ten seconds.
However, the show will have to deal with a slide (albeit marginal) in ratings over the last few episodes. Experts say it is because of the heavy topics in a format that has been repeated for two seasons in a row. The first season's average TVR was 2.45 over 14 episodes (which was formidable for a Sunday morning show). The March airing had seen 6-6.4 million viewers per episode, which was lower than the second season's launch episode, according to media planners. The two however are not comparable as TAM changed the metric of measurement last year. In the same unit, Bigg Boss clocked 5.5 million viewers in prime-time, for seven days in 2013, while KBC 3.8 million this year.
Star Plus is hoping, then, that the offline results will spur an on-air uptick too.