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Ferzad Palia, Head – Youth, Music and English Entertainment, Viacom18, Biva Rajbhandari, Programme Officer, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation; Sarthak Ranade, Managing Director of Janssen India (Johnson & Johnson); Georgia Arnold, Executive Director of The MTV Staying Alive Foundation and Executive Producer of MTV Nishedh; Cause Ambassador Bhumi Pednekar; Purnima Mehrotra, Associate Director, Evidence and Learning, Centre for Social and Behaviour Change; Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO and MD, Viacom18; and Anand Sinha, Country Director, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation at an event to mark the launch of the MTV Nishedh series in Mumbai

The MTV Staying Alive Foundation has partnered with Viacom18 to create a finite series, MTV Nishedh, focused on driving awareness and de-stigmatising issues surrounding sexual and reproductive health and wellness. Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO and MD, Viacom18 and Georgia Arnold, Executive Director, MTV Staying Alive Foundation and the show’s executive producer tell us more…

The new series will work especially towards educating young people, while using storylines and characters that are relatable. Vats explains that the project has been funded by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and The Centre for Social and Behaviour Change, Ashoka University, along with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “The show will be telecast on MTV and Colors Rishtey, and will also be available on Voot,” Vats says. Explaining why it’s not on the network’s leading GEC, Colors, he adds, “It is difficult to air a 13-episode finite series during prime time in India and that has nothing to do with the show’s content. The content is fantastic, but marketing a finite series like this on Colors is challenging.”

Vats is also clear that the campaign is not part of the network’s CSR activity. “It is business for us,” insists Vats. “We believe if the show is not entertaining, the core message will not be conveyed. Viacom18 always has a strong bias towards social causes.” Georgia Arnold explains that the show has been adapted from the award-winning MTV Shuga, created by the MTV Staying Alive Foundation for Africa. “Bringing the highly successful MTV Shuga model to India facilitates young Indians to take up more space on issues affecting their everyday lives. The power of MTV Nishedh is in its reflection of real life - we engage young people in all stages of development to ensure the stories are relatable, entertaining, and highly engaging. All our content drives the audience to health services where they can receive valuable help,” points out Arnold.
MTV Nishedh will premiere on MTV India on January 25, 2020, and on Colors Rishtey starting February 1, 2020.

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