Shailesh Kapoor:Getting ready for Satyamev Jayate 2.0

28 Feb,2014

By Shailesh Kapoor


Aamir Khan’s labour of love (but one that comes with a hefty paycheck too), Satyamev Jayate, makes a comeback this Sunday. In its first season in 2012, the show made a sizeable impact on the socio-political environment. In the process, it managed to become perhaps the only television property in the last twenty years whose success of not measured entirely or primarily through its viewership ratings.


We are in the election year, and coming with short, monthly seasons of 4-5 episodes each, starting with one in March, seems to be a good move. In the last season of 14 episodes, there was a sense that the show had become a blind spot in its second leg. There’s only so much awakening and inspiration one can take at a time, after all.


I have to admit I’m a tad disappointed with Sunday 11 AM continuing to be original slot for the show. While there may be a valid ‘feel’ argument, a property of this nature needs a wider available audience. 8 or 9 PM would achieve that better. Even at a feel level, noon will deliver a higher reach without compromising on the feel. I’m sure Aamir and Star Plus had their reasons.


Satyamev Jayate continues its tradition of not using show footage in the launch campaign. This season’s campaign, built around ‘Jinhein Desh Ki Fikr Hai’, stands out for its exceptional clarity of message and its consistent tone across ads. Rarely do we see TV show launches executed as ‘ad campaigns’. In fact, even in channel parlance, they are called ‘launch promos’ and not ‘launch ads’. Just nomenclature, or a deep-seated issue?


When I see a good campaign based on atypical viewer segmentation, my eyes light up. The researcher in me has been wondering: What percentage of our TV audiences are the ones who have a sense of ‘fikr’ about the ‘desh’? And how does one measure this accurately, without relying on claims? For example, do most viewers of Arnab’s show (in whose breaks the Satyamev Jayate campaign is running on very high visibility) care for the country? But we digress.


Despite the good campaign, the show is set to have a modest start from a viewership perspective. There are bound to be format tweaks that create a sense of freshness and build on learnings of the first season. For example, there is a definite hint of higher viewer interaction this season in one of the ads.


In the pre-satellite television and pre-measurement days, there was certain diversity in television content. TV ratings are needed for transaction. But the biggest collateral damage they have caused in India is homogenization of content.


Thank you Star and Aamir Khan, then, for challenging that status quo in 2012, and now coming back with a new season well knowing that blockbuster ratings are out of reach here.


TV Trails is a weekly column written by Shailesh Kapoor, founder and CEO of media insights firm Ormax Media. He spent nine years in the television industry before turning entrepreneur. The views expressed here are his own. He can be reached at his Twitter handle @shaileshkapoor


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