From the word go, ‘Satyamev Jayate’ has clearly been STAR India’s endeavour to assert that the Network would like to view entertainment with a different lens. The first step in that direction, in the case of ‘Satyamev Jayate’, was working with actor Aamir Khan. “When you work with someone like Aamir, you know that you are not about to present the traditional understanding of entertainment. It would be unique,” observed Uday Shankar, CEO, STAR India.
Not only was the offering ‘different’ but STAR India also lent out the Intellectual Property Right (IPR) of the show to Doordarshan and ETV Telugu, which is a channel from competition camp Network18. The intention was to reach out to the large number of terrestrial viewers and to Telugu speaking audiences too that STAR India does not cater to yet with its various channel offerings in the south.
By putting the show on nine channels, while STAR may have got some incremental viewership in language markets, it also fragmented the show’s viewership across nine entities.
As far as STAR India is concerned, it was fully aware of the challenges it presented to itself by taking the various steps it did to create ‘Satyamev Jayate’ and give it the reach and scale that the show demanded. Shankar said, “We have walked into this with our eyes open, prepared that we are about to counter a different kind of audience that we expected would engage with this show, in an unprecedented manner.”
STAR may have braced itself for the risk factor the show presented but with the launch episode achieving a reach of 2.7 crore, which extrapolated to the universe, as STAR pointed out, to nine crore people making it the single highest reach for any launch episode in the last year, has been heartening for STAR India.
Shankar said, “We had faith in the show but we were surprised with the large numbers that have come to watch the show. Also encouraging was the SEC A viewership the show has received, as typically this is the audience that is restless with the homogeneity of content on television.”
The SEC A audience has delivered a time spent of 38 minutes for the show.
Another point that excites Shankar is the conversation that the show created. ‘Satyamev Jayate’ was trending top across social media on its launch day and most of the buzz continued in the second episode as well. Soon after the launch episode ended, Rajul Kulshreshtha, Managing Director, Kinetic Worldwide had written in an authored note that “Airtel did a very smart thing by sponsoring ‘Satyamev Jayate’. The amount of social media that it has earned in less than 24 hours is immense and most of it is positive. This is the impact that Aamir Khan can have.”
Shankar said, “As a creative head and a network head, this was a dream scenario for us. The fact that the show triggered the kind of conversations that it did has been overwhelming. And our hope is that because of the nature and intensity of the show, the viewership will firm up further as the episodes go by.”
For STAR India, the network has expanded the scope of programming and taken it forward in a meaningful way.
The show revived the Sunday morning slot that was once synonymous with shows such as The Ramayana and Mahabharata. In the decades since these two epic-based shows, the Sunday morning slot garnered only half of the weekend prime TV ratings.
The show has created more buzz than any other television show in recent history. It was the most searched term in Google in India on May 6, 2012 and the show trended 1-9 on the top Twitter trends and the sentiment was highly positive getting rave reviews across audiences.
The Facebook page launched about a month back has 7,90,000 fans with about half the fans talking about it. The show opened with roughly 50 per cent higher ratings in Upper SEC audiences (SEC A 5.9 TVR All 4+) and in C&S homes, the number is 14.4 TVR in SEC 15-34 years, SEC A (Digital homes, HSM million+).