By Invitation: Sundeep Nagpal | Will Satyamev Jayate work for advertisers?

10 May,2012

By Sundeep Nagpal

 

Much has been said already about this latest attempt at garnering mindshare (no, not that one …. please notice, the ‘m’ is not in caps !). And most of it is reasonably credible and justifiable. For instance, there’s little doubt that the show is a brave attempt by an entertainment channel to create some degree of social transformation, as much as being almost a challenge to its sponsors to leverage its equity for their brand.

 

There’s also little doubt that both, the anchor of the show and its production values are as superlative as they could be.

 

But the question is: Will it work?. What are the benchmarks of performance? Should they be just the ratings? And if not, are there any other – for example: any NGOs which can monitor changes in behaviour, attitude, etc. towards the social issues that the programme addresses.

 

However, until such time that any social transformation becomes evident, here are some thoughts that still intrigue media professionals (especially after seeing the first episode). (Lesser mortals such as us can only look at this prism, in the light of the advertising / media business).

 

– By any stretch of imagination, and despite being broadly classified under the genre of reality, SJ is far from being an entertainment show (no argument that even KBC was entertaining to some degree, despite basically, being a general knowledge quiz). So, will it work even half as well as KBC?

– With the backdrop of socially-oriented programs like Aap Ki Kacheri, what can be expected from SJ? Can the host / treatment of this show make it a commercial viability for the channel?

– In a season where the popularity of the country’s largest entertainment spectacle (the IPL) seems to be on the wane, what can be expected by an advertiser from a social talk show?

– To what extent could the marketing muscle behind the show have bolstered the ratings of the first episode? (and of course, what, if anything would sustain its popularity?)

– While there is no doubt that the host/ anchor, production values and the promotional strategy (including the suspense created), have been very favourable for the show, are the time slot, program duration and basic content, favourable enough to create a block buster?

So, this article is not a shot at ‘philosophical gyaan’. In fact, it is an attempt to understand audience perception as well as an attempt to predict the popularity of the show (yes in terms what the opening ratings are likely to be).

 

To address the former issue, we at Stratagem Media, undertook a dipstick study of a cross-section of more than a 100 people who had watched the show, in Mumbai only, (needless to say that dipsticks are only meant to be indicative of any patterns that may exist and not necessarily statistically accurate).

 

Also, we did look at the ratings of a variety of other reality shows quite closely, just to be able to arrive at an educated judgement on what its opening TVR would be on Star Plus (for an All India, CS, 4 + audience).

 

Here are some of our observations.

–  To begin with about 25 % of people approached for the dipstick survey had not seen the show (but that’s not surprising, after all people do other stuff on Sunday mornings), and males formed a larger component of the non-viewing audience.

– 18 % watched for less than 15 minutes, while 27% watched for more than an hour (albeit, not for a statistically valid sample).

– A majority of male viewers did not even know the duration of the programme, (even after having watched it).

– Two-thirds of viewers watched the original airing and almost everyone who saw it, did so on Star Plus (in Mumbai).

– A majority of Males watched primarily because of the host/anchor, while about a third of them were curious about the content. Whereas a much larger proportion of women watched for the content.

– More than two-thirds of viewers rated content and credibility of the show very highly.

– In fact, the majority seemed to find nothing wrong with the time slot and expressed a desire to watch it again.

 

And lastly, while the media fraternity waits with baited breath for this, and purely based on judgment, the opening original episode of Satyamev Jayate on Star Plus, ought to garner a rating of between 3.2 to 3.7 for an All India, C&S, 4 years-plus audience.

 

However, as has been said before, for advertisers/ sponsors, this programme is not about ratings alone – it’s about an opportunity to build brand equity, which can be invaluable. In fact, it could be about diverting your CSR budget to Television !

 

So, All the best, Aamir & All the best, Star!

 

Sundeep Nagpal is director of Stratagem Media Pvt. Ltd, a Mumbai based media agency!

 

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