One of the biggest challenges in today’s time is that no one is really ready to talk about issues such as sexual reproductive health and wellbeing, contraceptive care, tuberculosis (TB) and nutrition, people still hesitate and fear that somehow broaching the subject might lead to people judging them. But these topics are meant to be talked about openly as it also gives the person suffering a ray of hope and encouragement.
A passionate mission to inform and educate around healthier social norms, break societal stigmas and give voice to some of the most taboo topics for young people, The MTV Staying Alive Foundation, partnering with Viacom18, launched a new campaign called “MTV Nishedh”. The 7-week series is part of a 360-degree youth empowerment campaign tackling a number of important health and social issues facing Indian youth
Viacom18 and MTV Staying Alive Foundation along with CIFF, UNICEF, BMGF, Ashoka University, Packard Foundation and Johnson & Johnson as a team have come along to educate the masses through this campaign.
“We are in the business of storytelling and for us our mission is very simple, we want to connect every audience to each story and every story to its audience.” Said Viacom18’s Group CEO, Sudhanshu Vats at the launch.
Vats spoke about how Viacom18 believes in telling stories that have a meaning and which will help redefine the thinking and shaping the behavioural patterns in the society. Right from “Balika Vadhu”, “Udaan” and more recently “Shakti” that were shows based on real practices and customs in India and also on how exploring into issues as diverse as women’s empowerment to sanitation through our films like Queen and Toilet: EkPrem Katha.
“So our ability to continuously tell stories, which we feel are stories with meaning, but at the same time, equally entertaining and impactful is something which makes us stands apart and we have a belief that doing good is good business” said Vats.
Vats highlighted the fact that MTV Nishedh is a $5 million initiative and on how they would want in to bring in the requisite finance for the right level of partners, the entire network support which is needed of 360 degree program to make it successful.
“If we would do a wonder to India and I think the big step that we could do is change the conversation from these topics, which are considered to be taboo topics or Nishedh and what we would like to start as a movement of hashtags called KhulkeBol and then to be able to talk around things which are important to us” he concluded.
Sonia Huria, Head – Corporate Marketing, Communications & Sustainability, Viacom18, “Well more than a conscious strategy I think it is an ingrained thought process at Viacom18. Allow me to explain in some more detail.Our mission is to connect every story to its audience and every audience to its story. And over the last 12 years, we have created stories that resonate with our audience across platforms. Interestingly, some of our biggest successes have been stories that speak of societal issues or regressive societal norms – be it Balika Vadhu, Its Not That Simple, Angels of Rock, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha…the list goes on. Projects like Navrangi Re! and MTV Nishedh are natural extensions of this philosophy of using content to amplify social change. What encourages me is how more partners are recognizing the relevance of this approach and reaching out to us to use entertainment to bring forth such stories of social impact.”