Following in the footsteps of the hugely successful MTV Shuga series in Africa, the MTV Staying Alive Foundation has set its sights on India as its next location for mass media that weave life-saving messages into an entertaining, youth-relevant format. This new initiative, MTV Nishedh, launched in early 2020 with a TV drama airing on MTV India, Colors Rishtey and Viacom18’s SVOD platform VOOT. Infused with themes of love, ambition, family, and health, this 13-episode fictional series aims to educate young Indian audiences about topics like tuberculosis prevention, the benefits of different contraceptive methods, and the safety of medical abortion.

To measure MTV Nishedh’s effectiveness, an ongoing 3-wave study is being conducted to track changes in attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge related to the messaging of the show and campaign. With the campaign still in progress, 2 waves have been fielded so far – and initial results are encouraging. Focus groups have allowed for more in-depth understanding of the campaign’s impact.

Here are key findings from this research:

Contraceptive usage doubled among those who were exposed to the MTV Nishedh campaign. In all, 36% of respondents have heard of the MTV Nishedh campaign. Before its launch, 62% of respondents said they had not used any contraception in the previous 3 months. During the campaign, just 31% of respondents who were aware of the campaign said they had not used contraception. Driving this shift was a sizeable increase in condom use, from 29% before the campaign to 54% among those who had seen it.

Knowledge about proper contraceptive use remained flat. Though respondents who knew of the campaign were more likely to use contraceptives, their answers to specific questions about IUDs, birth control pills, and injectable contraceptives show that there is still room for growth in overall knowledge of the application and effectiveness of the different types of contraceptives.

Abortion safety education rose, while stigma dropped. Wave over wave, there was growth in awareness of safe abortion practices, with a 41% lift among those aware of the campaign. At the same time, there was a decline in agreement that abortion brings shame to the woman’s family, indicating that the campaign was associated with a reduction in stigma surrounding abortion.  

To learn more about MTV Nishedh, visit