The crippling effect of demonetization announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was felt by almost every industry, leading to a huge economic slowdown. Now with every media company on a recovery track, Times Network has come out with a CSR initiative with a campaign called ‘Remonetise India-Invest in the Nation’ on January 4, 2017 whose TVC under the name ‘Help Your Help’ was launched yesterday. The first phase of the initiative included Telethon and on ground activities like Go-Cashless Rally and set up of Sahayata Camps across India, to help people open bank accounts.
Highlighting the fact that this initiative has no sponsor, M K Anand, MD and CEO, Times Network explains the idea, “Times Network reaches out to about 4.5 crore urban English viewers every week. This is the largest base of premium, influential audience in the country and is comparable to print industry. At a time when the nation is attempting to leapfrog economically, we believe that regulation, infrastructure and technology are not enough to jumpstart socio-economic change. Behavioural and cultural transformation is as important, if not more. Through the ‘Remonetise India’ campaign, we aim to focus on making changes in every-day behaviour of urban Indians so that the benefits of this disruptive reform (demonetisation) flow in the right manner. One of the pledges under Remonetise India is to help others around us to go digital and benefit from the new economy. The Sahayata Camps that we have started has already resulted in the opening of thousands of bank accounts and more and more young people taking the Remonetise India pledge. The second phase of the campaign ‘Help your Help’ that started yesterday is a call to urban citizens to help and aid others in achieving financial inclusion.”
The idea has been on works since the second week of December. The “Help Your Help” campaign created by Publicis Ambience, and director Karthik Bhat will have another TVC scheduled to release in the next two weeks. Promoted across the network channels and additionally in 300+ multiplexes, there will be a digital contest to promote participation. The telethon which saw the participation of noted personalities and celebrities like Amitabh Kant (CEO Niti Ayog), Narayana Murthy (Founder – Infosys), Sonam and Anil Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty, and Manoj Bajpayee received a positive response.
Additionally, the network organized ‘Sahayta Camps’ which encouraged people to get Pan Cards, Aadhaar Cards and open bank accounts (Jan Dhan Yojana Accounts) for the development of Digital India. Finally, the Go-Cashless Rally took place to drive awareness about digital transactions and save cash for those who can’t do without cash. As a part of this initiative, the network will further organise these activities across the length and breadth of the country to take the movement forward.
Anand is skeptical about the time frame for the economy to get back to its aggressive self. Because of demonetization, Times Network’s double digit growth rate of 20 per cent will fall to single digit of approximately seven per cent.
Talking about the network completing 11 years, Anand said that his company is at a great place from product point of view. “Last September, we launched Movies Now 2 which beat HBO to come to number four. We believe it will come to number three. All our HD channels are doing very well in terms of viewership. The editorial of Times Now did great work when we lost the most important content element i.e. Arnab Goswami. We didn’t face an impact.”
Talking about the way forward, Anand points out, “Given the contraction witnessed in the last three-four months, we have to be cautious and be less exuberant in the coming two quarters.”