Special: ‘Aamir Khan used the data to convey sentiments’

By : |September 23, 2012 0


What spurred the idea for a concept like this? Any international reference points?
The idea of show came from discussion of Star India CEO Uday Shankar with Aamir Khan about the television debut. This is a very unique show. I don’t think there are any direct reference points. There have been many kind of talk shows, reality shows, but this show has a unique combination of discussing a social issue from all aspects and what one can do to affect change at individual level.

To what extent could you successfully interpret the results, be it those drilled from social platforms and online feedback or those culled during pre-show research phases? For sure, Translating numbers in the right context, can make a lot of difference to these vital issues.

The analysis of results was pretty thorough. It went well beyond the simplistic levels such as praise or criticism. Before every episode, we got together with Persistent team, to go over taxonomy of tags for analyzing the responses based of the issue handled in the episode. These tags (more than 50), helped us analyze the responses in the context of the topic discussed.

The ‘favorable’ responses to every show’s questions are commendable. But what about that iota of naysayers (0.3 pc, 0.4 pc, or 16 pc people who voted saying that violence against a woman is a sign of masculinity) Is there any action or analysis possible with those numbers (Ex: to get to the root or mental genesis of such crucial problems). And yes, how strongly could you leverage these data and analytics bits to advocate the relevant laws and push for the legal reforms needed. Were they admissible?

Some of the data and analysis was used my Aamir Khan to show the sentiment of the viewers. For example, for the first episode on female foeticide, when 99 per cent of the people responded yes to the fast track court question, Aamir Khan presented to Rajasthan chief minister Mr. Gahlot and he acted upon it immediately. Similarly, the support for manual scavenging act was shown to our Prime Minister by Aamir Khan during his meeting.

Finally to address the SMS and web votes on the domestic violence poll, yes, they surprising and it is clear as a society we have a ways to go on this issue. However, when we looked at the comments a different story emerged. Across the web, Facebook, and Twitter, we saw an amazing response from women, who comprised over 50 per cent of the respondents. Persistent’s work helped us get a deeper understanding of the messages, highlighting important stories of hope and courage. Women also shared their views on the root causes on domestic violence: Number 1 male dominance and then tolerance by women -a very self-aware insight.

Were there any teething troubles in terms of execution, scalability, Indian nuances, compliance factors, privacy elements etc.?

As the show is quite unique and no one has done anything like this before, we had prepared well in anticipation of the response. There were some teething troubles like load on the website immediately after the first episode. However, in terms handling all the responses, making sure that we do not miss any response and finding out insights, all this was done well right from the first episode. We were expecting a good response to the show, but in practice, it exceeded all our expectations. Data volume was significant across all channels. For instance, every Sunday we trended as the number 1 trend on Twitter in India and 3 times we even entered into the top 10 global twitter trends. Thankfully both the site and analytics solution were architected to be very scalable.

Finally, on privacy we took great care to keep our viewers personal details out of the public domain and even kept masked from the analysts to ensure they remained as objective as possible.

Where exactly did the show benefit from this platform and how precisely did you realign (if at all) to the feedback and insights being gained?

Persistent’s commitment as very dedicated insights partner was crucial, in terms of understanding the viewer response to various social issues and gain very valuable insights for business as well as social benefits.

What were the highlights?

We learned a lot from analytics about the extent and global spread of the response. For example we were amazed to learn that responses came from 840 locations in India and from around 126 countries across the globe. There were total over one billion impressions and over 14 million responses.

Did the platform help in creating ‘impact’ points and the essence of the show: change?

The show had two primary goals. One was to encourage participation and the other was personal impact. The analytics platforms made it possible to do both by listening to social media and people stories. We could have easily have been overwhelmed by the torrent of data received. But with some smart planning, we were able to create a meaningful relationship with viewers. The website today remains a great testament to that effort. If you go to the impact tab you’ll see the great lengths we took to uphold a spirit of transparency. For each episode we opened our numbers to show in-depth statistics about the responses. We also highlighted hundreds of the amazing user comments. This helped the show to become a dialogue with people rather than a monologue.

Any future take-aways from this experience?

Our big take away: The viewer responses helped us truly grasp how the show transcended entertainment. SMJ had a social purpose and people’s involvement was crucial. Due to involvement of social media to such large extent, the show became people’s own show rather than remain as just as a network show. It was quite an amazing feat to achieve, one that we are very proud of at STAR.

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