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Viacom18, MTV Staying Alive Foundation collaborate to roll out MTV Nishedh

The initiative will focus on fostering healthier attitudes and behaviours and removing the stigma surrounding several health-related issues. At the heart of the campaign is a 13-episode series reflecting the trials and tribulations faced by many young people in India today, using themes of love, ambition, family and health to deliver inspirational story.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 16, 2020, 05.10 PM IST
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MUMBAI: With an aim to inform and educate youngsters about healthier social norms, break societal stigmas and give voice to some of the most taboo topics, the MTV Staying Alive Foundation has partnered with Viacom18 to bring ‘MTV Nishedh’ to India.

The new initiative 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.

At the heart of 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 inspirational story. The series will 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.

MTV Nishedh, produced by Mumbai-based production company Victor Tango, will premiere on MTV India starting January 25th and on Colors Rishtey starting February 1st.

Through 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, the campaign weaves in messaging around sexual reproductive health and wellbeing, contraceptive care and options, consent, preventing teenage pregnancy and reducing stigma around abortion, into its world, characters and stories.

An educational grant from Johnson & Johnson Services has enabled the campaign to integrate messaging around the realities of TB in India – which has the world’s highest burden of this airborne disease – so young people can better understand the signs and symptoms of the disease and help reduce the stigma that is too often associated with it. With UNICEF India, MTV Nishedh will also raise awareness around the importance of nutrition for adolescent girls, with a focus on anemia.

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.

“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,” said Georgia Arnold, executive director of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and executive producer of MTV Nishedh. “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.”

The campaign website (mtvnishedh.com) will feature informative digital content. It will be home to exclusive short form video relating to the drama series, blogs and articles about the health issues and social the campaign is tackling, and an interactive clinic finder to help its audience access clinics and services near them.

“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,” said Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO and MD, Viacom18.

Vats added that through youth brand MTV, the company continues to create multimedia campaigns, over and above 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.”

Film actor Bhumi Pednekar has lent her support to the MTV Nishedh campaign.
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