Citizens' Issues
Satyamev Jayate: How the numbers add up

It is the most talked about show in television history with one billion impressions and 49 crore viewers, says Star TV as the Aamir Khan-anchored Satyamev Jayate winds down to the end of its first season

How popular has the Aamir Khan show Satyamev Jayate (SMJ) been? While anecdotal evidence shows that the show had begun to flag, statistics provided by the channel are certainly impressive. SMJ was the first ever show about social issues that had a celebrity anchor, large budget, massive promotion, cross-channel linkages and simultaneous telecast on nine channels—including the still mighty Doordarshan. The runaway success of the first episode, which saw Satyamev Jayate, Aamir Khan and SMJ trending on Twitter—in India and worldwide—for the entire day saw the media making comparisons with the immensely powerful and popular Oprah Winfrey.

Well, SMJ was certainly different, in fact more serious overall, and it is clear that it is certainly no Oprah show. In fact, as the first season comes to a close, we suspect that a second season, if it happens, ought to see some change in format as well. Another first for SMJ was the attempt to pull in trends from multiple media outlets, using “unprecedented deployment of people and next-generation technology” through a software firm like Persistent Technologies of Pune.

We asked Star TV for statistics and here is what they have to say. According to Star TV, the first 11 episodes of the show reached 14.4 crore persons, according to TAM data (which according to industry thumb rule of conversions, apparently translates to 49 crore people). In effect, two out of three television watching Indians have watched SMJ.

The issues covered in SMJ were Female Foeticide, Child Sexual Abuse, Big Fat Indian Wedding, Medical Malpractice, Inter-caste Marriage, Persons with Disabilities, Domestic Violence, Toxic Food, Alcohol Abuse, Untouchability and Elder Abuse.

According to Persistent-Star data, the show crossed one billion impressions making it the most talked about television show in history and the most talked about show on social media in the world in May (according to World Information Tracking). While conversations on social media and through text messages, IVR and on the internet were part of the plan, the data mined so far on viewership by the youth or women is not very impressive or granular. Also, it is clear that viewership has flagged, but again, some episodes have seen a spurt. SMJ has apparently raised Rs3.3 crore in donations over 11 episodes, which is one of the most disappointing aspects of the show and probably needs a separate social analysis.

Although people from 842 cities and towns apparently viewed the show, the north and west, accounted for 76% of the audience. Only 10% of people in eastern India and 15% in the south tuned in to SMJ—but this is probably due to the language barrier. Also Doordarshan contributed only 23% of the total audience, indicating that the viewers for SMJ were predominantly urban and semi-urban people. SMJ claims 12 million responses with the sixth episode on the disabled, generated the highest messages at 9.98 lakh. There were 30 million views on YouTube across English, Hindi and Tamil translations, says Star.

Data on the impact in terms of real social change is tepid and comprises some random viewer statements. SMJ’s inability to inspire stronger public action and results was probably a disappointment to the producers, as well. At just 20%, the response from youngsters (18 to 22 age group) is also disappointing. Youth response was the highest for three episodes—intolerance to love and untouchability or alcohol abuse.

According to Star, the youth response to untouchability had tags such as “improper use of reservation system, lack of opportunities for general” etc. which seems rather unexpected too.



Rajkumar Singh

5 years ago

We can expect others also to follow the trend and just like after KBC, it will now be mostly social topics.

We are entertained by such acts, plays or games to get some respite or to relieve ourselves from the troublesome journey of life.

If we get entertained ourselves with the illegal acts of notorious people, we can decrease our stress life to some extent as compared to getting into such sordid affairs!


5 years ago

What MK Gupta writes is very important and I can assure him that, a govt which thrives on black money stashed it away abroad for decades for safe keeping and use during elections, this will not be taken cognizance of those in power. In India, the real character of all parties is the same, be it this or that--all are timeservers, as has been exposed by the just concluded presidential "selection". Public Charitable Trusts, NGOs, the so-called "Non-Profit" Organisations, and similar dubiously called entities, etc.,have long been known by the public and the govt. as very reliable sources of siphoning off public donations or govt. funds for personal use as will be clear from the no. of foreign trips of the trustees and managing executives (invariably belonging to a family) and the properties acquired from the day of creating these bodies!
All this is wellknown.
And, as far as SMJ is concerned, is the anchor hosting the show free?

MK Gupta

5 years ago

A deeper probe is likely to unearth much more than what is on surface. While talking to an ex-IT chief commissioner, I understood that the "charity route" in India (and, of course, elsewhere too) is a very old and established path to not and respectability (right from the days of our Valmiki or their Robin Hood!), but a most secure way to enjoy the best of all the worlds at the cost of the society at large. There are many a so called "TRUSTS" in India, engaged in service to the people, with huge funds at their disposal and assisted by very, highly placed, influential and networked individuals/civil servants and "official" PR agencies, while thev trustees and "managers" (CEOs!) are busy with the "official Godmen" [whose benign magnetic personality and healing powers (realised through Yoga exercises or meditation sessions held on particular days) attract the unending stream of donations from big corporat houses who in turn use the contacts with the Godmen for furthering their business interests in the official circles]globetrotting or holding camps everywhere in the country by contributing to the publicity of airlines companies. The children of the "managers" (read:OWNERS) of these so called public trusts (as not all the founding persons are notnecessarily celebate) go on foreign sojourns at will, train abroad in the schools/universities of their choice, enjoy the cool weather there when the country is reeling in sweltering heat and groom themselves up, at the expense of the donating public, to finally take over the reigns of the trusts as career. And, with what aplomb and page-3 mileages/publicity, with the whole world at their feet. Haven't we seen a stupendous growth in the increasing number of NGOs in the past two-three decades, mostly "floated" by the spouses of top and serving civil servants or families of big landlords, whereas there really are a large number of hundreds of charitable societies begging for not only donations from public but also for tax exemptions from authorities who literally sell these "statutory" favours? It would be a good idea to make a study of these poor charitable trusts/societies operating in the remote, poverty stricken rural areas and see the amount of cash generated by them to carry on their noble work without any funds forthcoming from the govt agencies or corporates. They never get to be publicised through the media though, like a hospital run by the workers or a hospital started and run by an once vegetable vendor lady!
Thank you for at least drawing our attention to these aspects of "motivated charity" in our country.


5 years ago

All the same SMJ was essential. It is unfortunate that most people still look at it as a 'serious' entertainment. They finish the SMJ, are long faced for a few minutes before going to their 'Sas Bahu' serials (may be to forget SMJ??).

Personal guarantee must before loan restructuring: RBI

In cases where the restructuring package could not be implemented due to promoters’ non-adherence to terms and conditions, the banks should exercise exit option at the earliest with a view to minimise the losses

Mumbai: A Reserve Bank of India (RBI) panel has recommended banks should seek personal guarantee from promoters and adopt a “carrot-and-stick policy” while restructuring loans of corporates, reports PTI.

“As stipulating personal guarantee will ensure promoters’ skin in the game or commitment to the restructuring package, obtaining the personal guarantee of promoters be made a mandatory requirement in all cases of restructuring,” the panel said in its report, on which it has invited comments of stakeholders by 21 August 2012.

The RBI had in January set up the panel to review the existing prudential guidelines on restructuring of advances by banks and financial institutions and suggest modifications taking into account the best international practices and accounting standards.

The panel, which is headed by RBI executive director B Mahapatra, said corporate guarantee should not be considered as a substitute for the promoters’ personal guarantee.

In cases where the restructuring package could not be implemented due to promoters’ non-adherence to terms and conditions, the banks should exercise exit option at the earliest with a view to minimise the losses, the report said.

“The terms and conditions of restructuring should inherently contain the principle of ‘carrot and stick’, that is while restructuring being an incentive for viable accounts, it should also have disincentives for non-adherence to the terms of restructuring and under-performance,” it said.

The panel further said that conversion of debt into preference shares should be done only as a last resort. Also, conversion of debt into equity/preference shares should be restricted to a cap (say 10% of the restructured debt).

Conversion of debt into equity, it further said, should be done only in the case of listed companies.

The banks, according to the report, should disclose all recast loans on books, and from hereon keep a 5% provision for new standard loans recast, as against the existing norm of 2%.

These provisions, it added, could be implemented over a period of two years.

In view of the ongoing economic problems, ratings agency Crisil expects bad loans to rise to 3.2% of the total by March 2013.

Banks usually refer bad loans, which are provided under a consortium arrangement, for Corporate Debt Restructuring (CDR).

Crisil expects loan restructuring in India to rise to $37.5 billion, or 3.5% of total loans by March 2013.



EGoM recommends lower price for spectrum auction

TRAI had recommended a base price of Rs3,622 crore per unit of spectrum

New Delhi: The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) headed by home minister P Chidambaram, on Friday decided to recommend to the Cabinet a lower than sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)-proposed reserve price for auction of spectrum, reports PTI.

The reconstituted EGoM, which met for the second time this week, firmed up its views on key issues like reserve price, spectrum usage charge and terms of payment.

The same are being sent to the Union Cabinet headed by prime minister Manmohan Singh for a decision, telecom minister Kapil Sibal said after a two-and-half-hour long meeting.

TRAI had recommended a base price of Rs3,622 crore per unit of spectrum, called MegaHertz, for the auction of spectrum vacated from Supreme Court, cancelling 122 licences issued by the then telecom minister A Raja in 2008.

This base price translated to over Rs18,000 crore for a pan-India spectrum for new companies.

“The EGoM discussed three specific issues... The Empowered Group of Ministers is going to make a specific recommendation on each of these issues to the Cabinet so that the Cabinet decides on it finally,” Mr Sibal told reporters.

While Mr Sibal refused to give details, sources privy to the deliberations said the EGoM has decided to lower the TRAI suggested base price.

Telecom companies bidding in the auction will pay to the government an annual fee for using airwaves, called spectrum usage charge, besides the price at which they buy the spectrum.

The industry had been pitching for an 80% cut in the reserve price as they felt TRAI recommended rates would lead to upto 100% hike in mobile telephone charges.

Sources said EGoM may not have gone for a drastic cut in reserve price.

At the last meeting, the EGoM had asked the Department of Telecom (DoT) to prepare a matrix of reserve price in the range of Rs12,000 crore to Rs18,000 crore and do an impact analysis on government revenue at different rates as well as on mobile tariff.

This impact analysis was to be done on the basis of spectrum usage charge in the range of 3% to 8% of revenue earned from telecom services.

Sources said EGoM may recommend to the Cabinet giving auction winners an option to make deferred payment of charges, as had been suggested by TRAI.

In that case, telecom companies would have to pay a certain amount of money upfront for the spectrum and the rest over a certain period of time along with interest.

However, no decision was taken on the one-time fee that DoT had proposed to levy on existing telecom operators by making changes in their licence conditions.

DoT wants incumbents to pay auction-discovered price for the spectrum they hold, a move bitterly opposed by CDMA operators.

Sources said the EGoM has recommended a 3% to 6% spectrum usage charge.

The Union Cabinet will take a final decision on the prices of telecom spectrum and one-time fees payable by incumbent telecom operators.

The TRAI suggested auction starting price is nearly 10 times higher than what companies had paid in the 2008 sale.

The Supreme Court has set 31 August 2012 as the deadline for the auction process to be completed. But an inter-ministerial committee has indicated the deadline is likely to be missed, given the present pace of decision-making.


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