Viacom18 & The MTV Staying Alive Foundation collaborate for MTV Nishedh campaign

The 7-week mini-series is part of a 360-degree youth empowerment campaign tackling a number of important health and social issues facing Indian youth

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 17, 2020 11:31 AM
Viacom18 MTV Nishedh

In a distinct and ambitious drive to inform and educate around healthier social norms, break societal stigmas and give voice to some of the most taboo topics for young people, The MTV Staying Alive Foundation, partnering with Viacom18, brings a new campaign to India in January 2020.

MTV Nishedh will focus on fostering healthier attitudes and behaviours and removing the stigma surrounding several health-related issues, including sexual reproductive health and wellbeing, contraceptive care, tuberculosis (TB) and nutrition.

The campaign is a 13-episode fictional series, reflecting the trials and tribulations faced by many young people in India today, using themes of love, ambition, family and health to deliver a powerful and inspirational story. The series also aims to educate its audience and to get young people talking and seeking out more information about important and often neglected and overlooked issues.

Produced by Mumbai-based production company Victor Tango, will premiere on MTV India starting 25 January 2020 and on Colors Rishtey starting 1 February. MTV Nishedh will also be available anytime on VOOT.

A $5 million initiative has funded partnerships with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and The Centre for Social and Behaviour Change, Ashoka University along with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc. With UNICEF India, MTV Nishedh will also raise awareness around the importance of nutrition for adolescent girls, with a focus on anaemia.

MTV Nishedh has been adapted from The MTV Staying Alive Foundation’s multi-award-winning campaign ‘MTV Shuga’ that has had proven impact on health and behaviour change in Africa. Based on the same model, MTV Nishedh’s 360 campaign uses storytelling to raise awareness and reduce stigma around key issues. In addition to the TV drama, the campaign features a robust digital content strategy, a 15-part radio drama and peer to peer education.

Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO and MD, Viacom18: “I’ve always believed that doing good is good for business. We have, since inception, created content on social causes and built a successful broadcast business around it – from Balika Vadhu to Shakti to Laado – we have covered a gamut of socially sensitive issues through our TV content. Furthermore, through our youth brand MTV, we continue to create multimedia campaigns, over and above our TV shows, that highlight various social themes. We have explored issues as diverse as women’s empowerment to sanitation through our films like Queen and Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. This business philosophy of doing good was underscored last year when BMGF worked with us to bring forth a behaviour change content series called Navrangi Re! on the issue of Fecal Sludge Management. The sheer number of social organizations and like-minded corporate who are partnering us to launch MTV Nishedh bears testimony to its scale.”

Georgia Arnold, Executive Director of The MTV Staying Alive Foundation and Executive Producer of MTV Nishedh said, “MTV Nishedh marks an exciting point in The MTV Staying Alive Foundation’s journey. Bringing the highly successful MTV Shuga model to India facilitates young Indians to take up more space on issues affecting their everyday lives. The power of MTV Nishedh is in its reflection of real-life - we engage young people in all stages of its development to ensure the stories are relatable, entertaining, and highly engaging. Crucially, all of our content drives the audience to health services where they can receive valuable help. We believe MTV Nishedh has the potential to be a genuinely relevant cultural asset, as well as a successful public health campaign.”

Known for her association with social causes and strong performances in films addressing issues of significance, award-winning film actor Bhumi Pednekar has lent her support to the MTV Nishedh campaign.

Sonia Huria, Head - Corporate Marketing, Communications & Sustainability, Viacom18, said “Well, more than a conscious strategy, I think it is an ingrained thought process at Viacom18. Allow me to explain in some more detail. Our mission is to connect every story to its audience and every audience to its story. And over the last 12 years, we have created stories that resonate with our audience across platforms. Interestingly, some of our biggest successes have been stories that speak of societal issues or regressive societal norms – be it Balika Vadhu, Its Not That Simple, Angels of Rock, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha…the list goes on. Projects like Navrangi Re! and MTV Nishedh are natural extensions of this philosophy of using content to amplify social change. What encourages me is how more partners are recognizing the relevance of this approach and reaching out to us to use entertainment to bring forth such stories of social impact.”

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