TRPs fall for Satyamev Jayate, Advertisers raise noise!!

Aamir Khan The truth isn’t quite triumphing – not at least in the way some advertisers on Aamir Khan’s hyped debut television reality show Satyamev Jayate thought it would. Television rating points (TRPs) have fallen short of expectations, says at least two marketing heads of associate sponsors, although publicly most advertisers are making the right noises. That, however, hasn’t stopped media buying firms, on behalf of advertisers, from pushing for result and performance-based ad rates on reality shows. They say that TRPs should decide the ad rates of reality shows instead of the channels charging advertisers fixed rates even before the show goes live.

As per rating agency TAM’s data released by Star on June 13, Satyamev Jayate – which is being aired on Sunday mornings across nine channels of the Star Network (as well as on the state-owned Doordarshan) delivered a national TVR of 3.9. That’s lower than the ratings of blockbuster shows of the past like Kaun Banega Crorepati (Sony Entertainment) and Bigg Boss’ debut show (Colors).

Says Navin Khemka, managing partner of media buying firm ZenithOptimedia, which represents consumer goods major Reckitt Benckiser, one of the associate sponsors of Satyamev Jayate: “All the risk cannot be passed on to the advertiser. With high entry-level costs on reality shows, it is critical that channels take more accountability on the returns on investment.” Increasingly, agencies and clients will ask for certain minimum guarantees on programme performance and viewership, adds Khemka. “It has to be a win-win for both the brand and the show.”

While Bharti Airtel coughed up a chunky Rs 17-20 crore for the presenting sponsor slot, associate sponsors like Axis Bank, Reckitt Benckiser, Skoda, Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson paid Rs 6-7 crore each for the 13-week show. Star has charged Rs 8-10 lakh per 10 seconds for spot rates for Satyamev Jayate while spot rates for KBC were Rs 3.5-4 lakh per 10 seconds.

According to the marketing head of an associate sponsor who did not wish to be quoted, returns on investment on the show could have been higher. “The way the show was sold to us we expected higher ratings.

It’s disappointing and we hope the ratings increase as the show progresses.”

However, Bharat Bambawale, global brand director at Bharti Airtel, defends the investment. “To view the success of a show based only on television ratings would limit its overall value. The success of a show has to be looked at collectively and in a holistic way… the content of a show will impact ratings.” On whether broadcasters should rationalise ad rates on reality shows, Bambawale says: “It’s a matter of individual judgement for every sponsor.”

Basabdutta Chowdhury, CEO of Platinum Media, a division of media buying firm Madison World, which buys media for Bharti Airtel, says: “Advertisers do want accountability and minimum guarantees factored in for reality shows in general, although Satyamev Jayate was not meant to be a mass ratings show.”

On reality shows, deals are structured in a way that they cannot be re-negotiated through the entire program. This is unlike cricket where broadcasters keep at least some ad inventory – like the semi-finals and finals – open to negotiations based on the ratings.

Ajit Varghese, MD, South Asia of Maxus, which is owned by the country’s largest media buying house Group M, says: “While there’s no standardised way of looking at a deal, we all are pushing for deals with a minimum guarantee. Of course, the arrangement should factor in an upside too, but overall ad deals should be linked to a programme’s performance.”

Veteran ad man Santosh Desai is of the view that Satyamev Jayate needs to be evaluated not just by viewership but also for the impact it has. “It’s a difficult show to watch…. Some subjects don’t have a mass audience at all so to be watched week after week by masses will be a challenge.” KBC’s most recent season had opened to a rating of 5.24, and Bigg Boss Season 5 had opened to a TRP of 4.25. The Amitabh Bachchan-hosted KBC had managed ratings of over 4 all through its run.

A Star India spokesperson says the show has delivered a reach of Rs 40 crore over the first five episodes (including repeats). The launch episode delivered a TVR of 4.9 in Hindi-speaking markets and a 4.1 TVR all-India. Subsequently, all episodes have consistently delivered a 4+ rating in HSM and 3.5+ ratings at the all-India level. Says Kevin Vaz, Star India president, ad sales: “Satyamev has ranked amongst the top few every week on an all-India level.”

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3 Comments
  1. sputnik 8 years ago

    Sincere do-gooder or an annoyingly fake goody two-shoes? That’s the big question hanging over Aamir Khan’s new role as India’s number one television crusader.

    Satyamev Jayate has attracted its fair share of critics, and the initial barrage focused on the content of the show. Khan was variously chastised for keeping it a little too simple, doing too little, playing too safe etc. The guns have now been turned on the man himself.

    “I wonder sometimes — when I have nothing better to think about — why a particular expression on Aamir Khan’s face irritates me so deeply,” begins Aveek Sen’s smackdown in The Telegraph.” The “particular expression” that makes Sen’s heart “recoil” is the “messianic” face of the great Khan:

    In all the publicity stills, Khan’s face has that solidly focused, almost driven, look — alert, outraged, but holding the emotions back because his sense of urgency tells him there’s no time to waste. His eyes look out towards some distant horizon (election candidates often have that visionary look in their posters). Or else, he is intently listening to a victim’s testimony, fighting back the tears that well up in instant empathy. His empathy is instant and humility endless — and both instantly, endlessly enacted.

    Sen’s critique echoes that of Firstpost writer Rajyasree Sen who pointed to his “exaggerated shock and histrionics as if he is holding up cue cards to tell his audience how to feel.” The Telegraph piece, however, goes one step further. The exaggeratedly moral facade and the show it helms, Aveek argues, is no more than slickly scripted PR strategy of an aging superstar: “It is good market strategy for cuteness to age into conscience, if it doesn’t want to lose its monopoly over hearts.”

    Aamir’s real problem seems to be that he can’t stop acting, be it on the show or in an interview. Raju Shelar/Firstpost

    To win those hearts and avoid the ugly taint of self-righteousness, the Dil ka Badshah dons a studied aam aadmi persona, points out Saswat Pattanayak in Kindle magazine:

    Just when the cynics wonder if he has turned self-righteous, it turns out ‘Satyamev Jayate’ works precisely because Aamir identifies himself entirely with the audience. He, too, learns of the bitter truths about Indian society from the very show itself, live on the stage. “Mujhe bhi aaj yeh seekh mili hai” is oft-repeated. Along with the audience, he is shocked at the barbaric, with them he sheds the tears, with them he signs petitions.

    And in doing so, he lets the audience off the hook for their own ignorance and apathy – which surely makes them love him more.

    Irrespective of the merits of the show – and there are many – Aamir’s real problem seems to be that he can’t stop acting, be it on the show or in an interview. What jumps out in Lhendup G Bhutia’s encounter with the great man are not the quotes, but his overly mannered persona (Read it here):

    When Aamir speaks, the voice that emerges is exactly like it sounds on screen. It is cultivated and genteel; the words are well articulated, with the inflections and intonations of a seasoned actor. You’d think Aamir had walked out of the screen into this room. When he emphasises the point of his show as “connecting hearts… jo dil ko chhoo de (one that touches hearts),” he comes close and draws an imaginary thread between his heart and mine. In these moments, he looks exactly like in his films.

    And there’s his penchant for dialogue-baazi:

    One sees traces of the superstar in the manner he often chuckles, and ends his answers with one-liners such as: “After all, wedding is for a day, marriage is forever.” He clearly enjoys his lines. “Remember that sentence I made,” and with a click of his fingers, he says, “Aap shaadi ko atom bomb mut banao, ki woh ek din mein ud jaye. Agarbatti banao, zindagi bhar uski mehek aati rahegi. (Don’t make your marriage an atom bomb that will blow up in a day. Make it an incense stick that will continue to lend fragrance to the rest of your life.).”

    But all of this carping begs the bigger question: isn’t this the Aamir that we all love and want? His moral crusader avatar is no more fake than his other personas, each a carefully tailored version that mimics reality without being too real. That’s the eternal promise of movies and their best-loved actors, who dutifully hew to our desired script both on and off screen. So why blame Aamir for being what he is: a Bollywood star.

    http://www.firstpost.com/bollywood/false-prophet-the-unbelievable-fakeness-of-aamir-khan-350696.html

  2. Serenzy 8 years ago

    😀

  3. sputnik 8 years ago

    Citizen Aamir

    Aamir Khan looks to his right. A minute passes. Unable to find a suitable answer in that direction, he turns to his left. Another minute of complete silence. He then employs his right hand—the thumb, forefinger and middle finger clasping each other and coming to rest on his lips. Even in that, an asana of thought, there is no indication of an answer.

    What am I to do? Do I provide him with an answer, or do I move to the next question? Or do I simply wait for him? What is the correct protocol for dealing with a question that halts Aamir.

    The question wasn’t intended to have this effect. I merely want us to get started. I’d asked: “Is there anything you would like to alter about Satyamev Jayate?” But it has made him ponder. Which has made me ponder. I decide it is better to wait. Suddenly the hand drops. Ah, he has found the answer. Like a sprinter at the starting line, I ready my pen over a blank page in my notebook. He meets my gaze. His brows and the large bags under his eyes collude in a serious expression, and he says, “No, not quite.” Then he arches back into the large couch smiling, a smile that is either good-humoured or mischievous.

    +++

    I had walked into Aamir’s house, in Bandra’s Pali Hill area, 15 minutes before the scheduled interview. He wasn’t home then, and I was ushered into his study, a large room with maroon walls. If the room is any indication of his mind, it’s a jumble. The floor is strewn with cartons and bags. Later when he returns home, he says, hands on hips, “I can never get this room clean.” On one of the walls is a framed poster of Mughal-e-Azam, on another, a large painting of a human face in black and white. The painting bears the name of the artist, signed in capital letters—Salman Khan.

    Aamir has been away the whole day, working with director Reema Kagti on editing his forthcoming film Talaash. When he walks in, on the dot of the appointed hour, he is dressed in jeans and a T-shirt that matches the colour of his grey cap. A maid trails behind. She is carrying a diet cola in one hand and a large glass filled to the brim with ice cubes in the other. The table in front is stacked with plates of pies and croissants, but he refuses to touch any. Holding his tummy with his hands, by way of explanation, he says, “Dhoom 3”. Then he clarifies, “I can’t. I am on a diet for Dhoom 3.”

    +++

    When Aamir speaks, the voice that emerges is exactly like it sounds on screen. It is cultivated and genteel; the words are well articulated, with the inflections and intonations of a seasoned actor. You’d think Aamir had walked out of the screen into this room. When he emphasises the point of his show as “connecting hearts… jo dil ko chhoo de (one that touches hearts),” he comes close and draws an imaginary thread between his heart and mine. In these moments, he looks exactly like in his films.

    Perhaps because it is a question all too common now, or maybe because he understands the brute force of repetition, when I ask Aamir about the response to the show, he says, “It’s been a dream response.” It is a statement he continues to repeat. Verbatim. He had used the very same words to another news magazine a month ago, after the first show had aired. “Across the country, from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, across cultures and socio-economic classes, the show has been able to connect with people. I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” he says. With no prodding, he reveals that a second season of the show is already being considered. But he is unwilling to commit that there will be a Season 2 for sure. “If the response continues, we will take a call at the end of the show. If people like it, why not?” he asks.

    He wouldn’t change anything about the shows that have aired so far, Aamir says, and almost immediately slips into another reverie. And then, emerging, “Maybe one thing… (pause) in the episode of marriage”. When I ask him if he means the show on dowry, he rebukes me and says, “There, even you are saying ‘dowry’.” He says people keep referring to that episode as the one on ‘dowry’, when it was actually one on ‘how to have a happy marriage’. “Dowry is an integral part of that show, perhaps the central focus. But I think I should have emphasised the point that one needs to spend time and energy not just on a wedding, but also in learning about the partner one will get married to. There, that definitely needed some focusing on,” he says. Keep wondering if that might have made a difference to how you remember the show, but perhaps it is the fussy focus on nuances like this that earns him his moniker of Mr Perfectionist.

    Aamir is extremely affable and courteous. He smiles at questions before answering them, and here and there, when a common acquaintance is found, an ‘Oh’ forms on his lips. But he is also a superstar. And a star, by definition, exists on its own, from which lesser bodies derive their light. One sees traces of the superstar in the manner he often chuckles, and ends his answers with one-liners such as: “After all, wedding is for a day, marriage is forever.” He clearly enjoys his lines. “Remember that sentence I made,” and with a click of his fingers, he says, “Aap shaadi ko atom bomb mut banao, ki woh ek din mein ud jaye. Agarbatti banao, zindagi bhar uski mehek aati rahegi. (Don’t make your marriage an atom bomb that will blow up in a day. Make it an incense stick that will continue to lend fragrance to the rest of your life.).”

    It is perhaps not so strange, but when I play back the tape of the interview, one that clocked over an hour, I find the biggest contributor to the conversation was not his answers, nor my questions, but the long drawn out pauses. They are present everywhere—in the silence after a question, in the pauses punctuating an answer, there are pauses even between his ‘hmm…s’. Aamir is not as much guarded as he is ponderous. He considers every question equally, ruminates over answers, however simple the question may appear to be.

    Much of the conversation centres on Satyamev Jayate, a subject on which he speaks easily and at length. Four years ago, Uday Shankar, CEO of Star India, approached Aamir with the idea of a game show. The actor turned it down, saying, “I don’t want to do a game show. I want to do something dynamically different.” He tells me that stayed with him, the idea of a show that would be ‘dynamically different’ and would connect with people’s hearts. “I continued to think about it, and slowly this idea was conceived.”

    During the course of the interview, as he sits on a couch with his legs tucked under him, there are moments when his answers are prompt. These invariably have to do with the negative reactions to the show. Is Aamir an entrepreneur, who with Satyamev Jayate has hit upon a show that makes social ills a market to cater to? “So I am not supposed to make shows on these subjects because there is a market for it? Earlier people said such a show would be boring and it would never work. Now that it has, they are turning the question on its head,” he says, and chuckles at this perceived double standard. “Even in the beginning, there were some friends who were doubtful whether such a show would be successful. But my idea wasn’t about success; it was about connecting with people.”

    In the course of the past few shows, a number of criticisms have emerged. Notable among them were a Rajasthan minister criticising the actor for ‘sensationalising’ the issue of female foeticide cases in the state and the Indian Medical Association asking him to apologise for generalising and defaming the medical profession in India. “I am not surprised by the criticisms. I knew the shows would upset a few, and these would be mostly people who have interests in maintaining the status quo.”

    But Aamir has been a recipient of not only these criticisms. He has been ‘trending’ and dividing people both in the virtual and real worlds. Some are smitten by the goodness of his soul, for others he is simply a middle-aged actor trying to build the brand of a star with a social conscience. Why does he cry so often during the shows? Does he really care? Aamir’s response is straightforward. He says he is not an activist, nor does he aspire to be one. “This activist image is not something I portray, rather it is an image others have of me. I am simply a communicator. Yes, I want to bring about awareness of these issues, but by bringing to the show real activists and solutions that might have been found.”

    “And,” here his voice acquires a steely tone, “I cry because their stories are moving. In fact, I’m a lot less emotional in what you see compared to how I was then. There have been times when I have broken down and been unable to continue. All this has been edited out.”

    Another pause ensues. When he emerges from it this time, his voice has lost its rasp and acquired a chuckle. “Because on TV, you can’t be silent.”

    http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/art-culture/citizen-aamir

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