Beyond the screen

How our stories touch people's lives.

Connecting with our consumers

Since 1991, we have been telling stories that aim to inspire the imaginations of a billion Indians, leading the country into a better, more progressive future. We are able to do that because of the deep connection we share with our consumers, a connection we nurture by always working to understand what they love, what they dream of, and how our stories can help make their lives better. This connection is central to everything we do at Star, and it extends beyond the stories we show on the screen. Every day, we receive hundreds of calls, emails, tweets and posts from dedicated viewers, telling us how our stories affect their lives, discussing plot lines, offering suggestions, and rooting for their favourite characters to get more of the scriptwriters’ attention. Our Consumer Response Management team works around the clock, 7 days a week, to make sure that no suggestion, request or heartfelt story goes unanswered. “We are always connected with our consumers, engaging with them personally on a case to case basis,” says Shilpi Dubey Pathak of Consumer Response Management team. “We get close to over 100 emails and social mentions every day. Our average response time is less than three hours except for the escalated cases.”


Shilpi and Sushma from our Consumer Response Management team ensure that no feedback or suggestion goes unanswered.
“We are always connected with our consumers, engaging with them personally on a case to case basis.”
Shilpi Dubey Pathak, Lead - Consumer Response Management Team

"Our approach is to try and be ambassadors of the consumers to the company rather than being ambassadors of the company to the consumers." Sushma Parameswaran, Consumer Response Management team. "Even if I have already replied to a consumer email or a tweet no consumer case goes out of my to-do list until I have found a satisfactory solution for that issue.”

Changing mindsets

Many of our viewers write in to tell us how our shows changed their perspectives on themselves and the world around them and helped them overcome social barriers and personal insecurities.

Last July, we received an email from a young girl named Shruti Ganesh, who is an ardent fan of our show Ishqbaaz. She spoke of how the romantic relationship between two characters - Soumya, a chubby but supremely confident girl, and Rudra, a fitness enthusiast - helped her accept her body image. “Soumya is very important to me because she has helped me personally to deal with my body image and made me realise I am beautiful the way I am.”

Another fan of Ishqbaaz wrote to us about how Gauri - one of the show’s protagonists - taught him that you shouldn’t let the lack of educational qualifications stop you from working towards your dreams. “Education is not the foremost, it’s self-respect and talent which takes you places,” they said. Other fans talk about how Gauri’s love interest Omkara’s fair and just outlook on life has helped them break the barriers of caste and class. Ishna, a viewer who never watched Hindi serials because she found them regressive, was so impressed by the progressive ethos of our show Rishton Ka Chakryavyuh, that she offered us suggestions on promoting the show so that everyone would watch it. “I used to curse Indian television shows however it has become a ritual for me to watch RKC now,” she writes. “I really want such content to be available to the masses because TV in a way shapes our thoughts because of its reach.”

Our Consumer Response Management team not only replies to each and every one of these queries but also makes sure that the key suggestions, complaints and insights are regularly shared with the business heads. This consumer feedback plays a big role in making our stories more in sync with people’s needs, problems and aspirations.

“Our viewers are at the heart of what we do and our relationship with our consumers goes beyond that of entertainers and entertained. We are committed to connecting with them and their views, suggestion and requests are extremely important for us.”
Gayatri Yadav, President & Head – Consumer Strategy and Innovation

Adding a little sunshine to everyone’s day

Some of the happiest moments for our team is when they’re able to add a little happiness and sunshine to a consumer’s life. Such as when they helped a young bride-to-be find the perfect wedding dress - the same one worn by Gauri on Ishqbaaz - by putting her in touch with the designer who made the original. Or the time they dug deep into the archives to find a song that played during an episode of our show Dil Sambhaal Jaa Zara, just so a fan could make his girlfriend happy.

In November, we received an email from Mohan Rajasingam, telling us how a friend suffering from Motor Neurone Disease would look forward every day to our show Tamil Bigg Boss, which was one of the main sources of happiness in his last days. Rajasingam asked if they could send a video featuring one of the contestants to play at the friend’s funeral. “We sprung into action and got in touch with the Star Vijay team,” says Shilpi Dubey Pathak. “Their content team was very helpful and quickly worked out the messaging and it was sent to the deceased’s friend on time. This was surely a heart-wrenching experience for us.”

Thayalani N. Gomez, the mother of a boy suffering from autism, was always a big fan of Nakuul Mehta, who plays the character Shivaay Singh Oberoi on Ishqbaaz. She had written multiple letters to the team, sharing stories about her life and career, and connecting them to what she had learnt from the show. But when she wrote to us about how she used Mehta’s winning speech at the Asia Viewers Television Awards in London as part of her son’s speech therapy, the team decided to do something special in response. “I was overwhelmed with this fan story and so was Nakuul who wrote a personalised letter to our viewer, thanking her for her love and appreciation,” says Shilpi Dubey Pathak.

Star Vijay’s viewer L Chanthramohan (second from left) and his wife were delighted to be on the sets of Tamil Bigg Boss.

Going the extra mile

While it feels great to know that our work is striking the right chord with our viewers, we never lose sight of the responsibility that accompanies this love and trust. Recently, our team was faced with an unusual challenge of pacifying a distraught viewer who threatened to kill himself and his wife. We informed the police and pacified the caller by talking him out of the drastic step he was thinking of taking. “The first thing I told my team is that he probably has nobody to share his misery with,” says Sushma Parameswaran. “So please do not hang up on him until he himself feels pacified enough to end the call. Even if we won’t be able to help him directly, the least we can do is help another human being by giving him an ear or two to share his life’s story with us. Luckily, we had a team member whose mother is a social worker and she helped identify the right social help group to rehabilitate him.”

Stories like these remind us of how much our viewers' trust, appreciate and love us, and inspire us to go above and beyond the call of duty to help them. “It makes me want to squeeze out my potential and really write each response like I mean it,” says Parameswaran. “With a genuine interest in their question, with a deep understanding of how they feel, and with respect for what they say as one more opinion that has all the right to exist in this world.” 

Imagine more
Id: 7774