MUMBAI: The most talked about social show Satyamev Jayate (SMJ) would never had happened, had James Murdoch not given a go ahead for the same.
“When I told my CFO that I was planning to do a show such as SMJ, he looked at me as though I was going totally out of line,” Star India CEO Uday Shankar had said during the recently held Paley Media Council in New York. Shankar then called up Murdoch and told him about the risk associated with SMJ because of the investment. “He told me ‘we would live.’ I needed his blessings to go ahead with it,” Shankar had expressed then.
A show which didn’t pass the litmus test in the first go is one of the most successful shows for the channel today. SMJ has truly taken the nation by a storm even as it brings home harsh realities. “India was ready, our viewers were ready and internally Star as a company was ready to take the leap and that’s how came SMJ where we decided that sharply we will, in each episode, focus on some of the things that must change in the country while all other kinds of economic and social changes keep happening,” Shankar had said.
The series first went on air in 2012, with episodes being aired at a stretch for 13 weeks. But, when it returned with its second season this March, it decided to be a little different.
This time around, the series was presented in installments. With the first bunch of five episodes aired in March, the show is all set to go on-floor again in the month of July, with telecast plans for September.
“We will air six episodes to end the second season,” says director of the show Satyajit Bhatkal when quizzed if the season will see another installment. The second season was supposed to have three installments as said earlier.
As per Indiantelevision.com’s earlier report, season one of the series garnered an overall rating of 4.27 TVRs (including DD) across the six metropolitan cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, upon its premiere telecast on 6 May 2012. According to TAM TV Ratings, the show reached out to 89.6 lakh people in the age group of 4+.
The popularity of the show grew and it was evident from the opening episode of SMJ 2 which premiered on 2 March with historic numbers. As per TAM data for week 10, Satyamev Jayate’s launch episode was watched by a massive 2.6 crore Indians. This when extrapolated to All India Universe, as per standard industry conversions, means that the launch episode was watched by 7.9 crore Indians.
Moreover, the show recorded 7,429 TVTs in All India (All 4+, All India) and a HSM TVT of 6,770 (All 4+, HSM). These were simulcast ratings of the original episode aired on Sunday morning 11 am across seven channels (Star Plus, Star Pravah, Star World, Star Utsav, Star Vijay, Asianet and Doordarshan) along with the 1 pm original airing on ETV Telugu.
The overwhelming response by the audience was backed by the advertisers as well. According to sources, while each episode of SMJ costs close to Rs 5 crore, the channel charges approximately Rs 10 lakh for a 10-second advertising slot.
Hosted by actor Aamir Khan, the response to Satyamev Jayate has changed popular perceptions of what people want to watch. That apart, it has also helped generate enormous discussion points in the public sphere on issues many Indians were so long cutoff from. The show also instills in people the feeling of being agents of social change.
With the show going on floor next month, Bhatkal believes that the four-month break has given them time to research on topics which will be based on what a citizen can do to change his life and the world around.
Star Plus is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that viewers are engaged by the conversations triggered around the message given by SMJ. Keeping that in mind, Facebook and Twitter is abuzz with activity every hour.
A total of 8.7 million "Votes for Change" were received from viewers in support of the issues raised during the show.
Bhatkal is happy with the feedback. “When we aired the first installment of the second season, we were worried if we would get the desired numbers, as elections, exams etc kept people busy. But, despite that, people have loved the show. Also, our ‘Vote for Change’ campaign also garnered huge amount of support from people.”
The SMJ team believes that everything is going in the right direction. “Government is also showing a lot of interest in the issues we raise and has promised to work on them,” concludes Bhatkal.