Star & Aamir Khan bring discontinuity to Indian TV...

...But a job well begun is only half done. The ambition for this show is and should be social transformation, says Vikram Sakhuja, CEO, GroupM, South Asia

by Vikram Sakhuja
Published - May 7, 2012 10:38 PM Updated: May 7, 2012 10:38 PM
Star & Aamir Khan bring discontinuity to Indian TV...

Congratulations to Star TV and Aamir Khan for bringing a discontinuity to Indian TV that has the potential to trigger social transformation. This experiment required rare courage and I believe they have pulled it off. Awakening the conscience is a tough ask. They have gone about it by being faithful to the insight that ‘Jab dil pe lagegi, tab hi baat banegi’. The show is well researched, simple, hard hitting and makes a few points with huge impact. What works the most is the show's authenticity. The hero is not the anchor but the issue being discussed – our celebrated news anchors who host talk shows dealing with social issues should see this programme as a master class.

Launching a show like this has its risks. It could easily be slotted as a talk show on a Sunday morning and be relegated to social commentaries that appear on news channels. Keeping the show format under wraps, revealing only Aamir and launching it via a nine-channel virtual roadblock, on a slot that has the potential to build reach with no loyal viewer base, and starting with a female-oriented issue (of female foeticide) were all inspired decisions aimed to maximise reach of the show, and let the content do the rest. We will have to wait 10 days for the ratings to see how this plan worked.

But a job well begun is only half done. The ambition for this show is and should be social transformation, no less. After a long time, the power of TV as a medium is being unleashed for a greater good. Its success lies in ‘Satyamev Jayate’ becoming the key topic of conversation for the next 13 weeks. I hope organised and social media take this up with as much passion as IPL for instance. Public opinion should drive both individual belief systems and politico-judicial machinery into action with fear of a public backlash.

To close, a word for the sponsors...this is not a media buy that can or should be explained by efficient CPRPs. The power for the sponsor lies in being associated with a platform as vast as social awakening. The payoffs can be large but for that, the sponsor needs to activate its sponsorship with the same authenticity as the show itself.

Follow Vikram Sakhuja @VikramSakhuja

The author is the CEO of media holding company, GroupM, South Asia

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