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Kyunki... celebrates the end of its second season on air

The main characters of UNICEF's successful education-entertainment Kyunki... Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai
The main characters of UNICEF's successful education-entertainment Kyunki... Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai

The screening of the 260th episode of UNICEF’s innovative entertainment-education drama serial, Kyunki…Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai, on 15th of February 2010, brought down the curtain on the series' second season on air.

The finale of the second season was celebrated in an upbeat event on the 4th of February in New Delhi. Representatives from various organizations, participated in the event hosted by UNICEF with its partner Doordashan, The event has been an occasion not only to celebrate the accomplishment achieved, but also to discuss the challenges and lessons learnt.

Produced for  UNICEF by Miditech, Kyunki… has been a one-of-a-kind serial for many reasons, including the fact that it is the first primetime soap opera of this scale on Indian television that uses the entertainment-education format to tackle very pertinent health and social issues faced by rural India. With a strong message design component and a finger firmly on the pulse of its primary audience through research and concurrent monitoring, Kyunki… has succeeded in spreading knowledge about topics that are integral to the health, safety and wellbeing of women and children in an engaging, relevant and practical way.

“UNICEF started this initiative more than two years ago not only to disseminate messages for women and children but also to demonstrate that entertainment can be effectively combined with education. After 260 episodes, we are very proud to say that we have achieved what we set out to do”, says UNICEF’s Deputy Representative (Programmes), Chris Kunihiko Hirabayashi.

As a crucial partner in the success of this venture, Doordarshan, the public broadcaster that telecasts Kyunki… is the only channel to reach every TV household in India.

“This is a beautiful opportunity for us to enhance development communication together and to take forward the social causes that we believe in”, says Usha Bhasin, Deputy Director General, Doordarshan.

An overview of the two seasons of Kyunki… shows that not only have audiences accepted and enjoyed the content, characters and messaging in this serial, but they have also started to apply the knowledge that they have gained here to their own lives.

A key tool in measuring the success of the show has been the robust structure of monitoring the success of the serial. The monitoring structure was designed in collaboration with the John Hopkins University’s Center for Communication Program and conducted by the Centre for Media Studies, New Delhi. To date, more than 145 million viewers have already watched the show across India and 61 per cent of women viewers belong to the seven least developed states, where UNICEF focuses its work. Overall, 53 per cent of Kyunki…’s all India viewership is female and 77 per cent belong to lower income groups. However, that does not mean that the show is not striking a chord with other groups as well.

The show has consistently been on top of rating charts and was the number one serial in its timeslot of 20:30 hrs to 21:00 hrs in the year 2009.  Kyunki’s… lead as a daily soap on Doordarshan confirms that it is possible for a television program, combining high quality entertainment with social messages, to successfully compete for viewership with more commercially oriented programmes.



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