21 Sep 2017
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Viacom18 to launch local version of drama series ‘MTV Shuga’ in India

MUMBAI: Viacom18 is bringing the internationally acclaimed drama series ‘MTV Shuga’ to India with a localised version dubbed ‘MTV Nishedh’.

Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), which jointly owns Viacom18 along with TV18, announced the decision to expand ‘MTV Shuga’ with two new localised versions in India and Egypt by 2020 at the Family Planning 2020 summit in London.

The media company has said that ‘MTV Nishedh’ will be the centrepiece of a ‘MTV Shuga’-styled mass media behaviour change campaign in India, aimed at increasing knowledge and generating positive attitude towards contraceptive use, gender violence, HIV prevention and child abuse.

With a drama series at its core, ‘MTV Nishedh’ will take a 360-degree edutainment approach incorporating multiple touchpoints for promoting sexual and reproductive health beyond the TV screen—including content on digital and social media platforms—to reach an estimated audience of more than 281 million young people.

MTV Staying Alive Foundation had pioneered ‘MTV Shuga’, its most successful behaviour change campaign to date, in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2009 with a long-running drama TV series and multimedia campaign that follows the lives of young people on the African continent.

“Education and awareness must form the backbone of liberation—be it economic or sexual. With just 15% of the total youth population having been exposed to any form of sex education, as a society we have allowed social stigma to overpower our responsibility to educate and empower our future,” Viacom18 Group CEO Sudhanshu Vats said.

He further noted, “‘Entertainment’ is our business, ‘engaging’ consumers, our strength and ‘enriching’ their lives, a responsibility. These 3 E’s together form our legacy, that of a network with a humane purpose. With MTV being the country’s most resonant youth brand, we are optimally poised to dial up the reach of sex education in our country, through MTV Nishedh.”

“We know that storytelling has the power to catalyse positive social change, and have seen that first-hand in Africa with series like ‘MTV Shuga’. By bringing this format to new countries and new continents, we are committed to challenging misconceptions and inspiring our audiences to talk openly and honestly about their sexual health, encouraging more young people to protect themselves,” said MTV Staying Alive Foundation executive director and MTV International SVP of social responsibility Georgia Arnold.