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Zindagi Mobile: The new radio show by Omidyar Network India and BIG FM

BY Eularie Saldanha

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At a time when the Next Half Billion (NBH) has maximized the use of technology for most of its operations, specifically through the use of mobile phones, the cry for concern grows even louder with the plethora of frauds and other mounting perils to privacy. Omidyar Network India has partnered with BIG FM and radio storyteller Neelesh Misra to address the issue of privacy and raise awareness around key aspects of engaging in the digital world by launching a radio show called ‘Zindagi Mobile’.

Speaking of the reason behind the insight of the show launch, Rohan Vyavaharkar, Director, Marketing and Communication, Omidyar Network India, said, “The idea is to inform people, sensitize them, and equip them to deal with the vulnerability. Fear of technology today stands redundant and we want to talk about its benefits, harms and how to take recourse. As well as the criticality of privacy, and introducing the idea that it is a fundamental right.”

The content on the show takes an anecdotal form while correlating everyday concerns in a story format. “When you hear them you will say, ‘Hey, this has happened to someone I know,’ or ‘could happen to someone I know,” said Neelesh Misra. “The stories are all fictional but we know that it’s not something that will go over the heads and people will understand these nuanced issues that are now being spoken about,”adds Misra.

Attention deficit seems to be one of the muddles of long format content. However, the reason behind choosing Radio as a medium to deliver the message conveyed through the talk show is clear to Vyavaharkar, who believes that the target audience is inherently on Radio. “A large part of listening happens on the mobile phone, with about 90% of android users using radio apps. Not discounting the fact that radio is actually the one medium which includes zero data cost.”

In a segment which has enough radio players to pick and choose from, the choice of partnering with Big FM comes from its well-entrenched demographic. “Organically we tend to work with partners who are philosophically like-minded and I think Neelesh and his team certainly fit the bill, since this is not the first project that we worked together on. There are a lot of other compelling reasons which have made BIG FM a natural choice”, said Vyavaharkar.

Misra said, “Big FM, whom I already have a relationship with straddle both, the urban and the rural universes. The station was doing a show with me and this show would kick off with a large audience, since I already have a following there.”

“Our association with Omidyar was interesting because for the first time, we have a partner who is not trying to sell anything, but just promote a good idea,” adds Misra. Misra’s holds a strong presume on delivering socially relevant messages in India, irrespective of governments or brands, so as to not make it a sheer waste of money.

No experiment is complete without scientifically backed data and so Omidyar has appointed Nielsen to do a study, where they will track consumer behaviour and monitor the change in behavioural habits, alongside ratings and social media monitoring. “We can’t just claim we made people aware based on ratings, but can talk about it only when we have got scientific data. This study is as important as the programming in itself because ultimately if you have the numbers, it all stands concrete,” says Vyavaharkar.

The start of anything can come with uncertainty and rightly so. However, Vyavaharkar remains positive about being able to create change. “In theory, the box is all checked and should have accumulative impact, but even if it doesn’t, it will at least give us a good blueprint for what the format ought to be. We can all agree that the learning from this is going to be massive and a win-win for the industry, and certainly for the next half billion.”

With an aim to reach as many audiences as possible, the show will be aired on all 58 stations of BIG FM and will be available in five languages, including Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and English. The primary language of the show will be Hindi in Neelesh Misra’s voice, with content being translated for other markets as well.

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Tags : BIG FM Zindagi Mobile radio show Omidyar Network India Rohan Vyavaharkar Neelesh Misra Eularie Saldanha