21st Century Fox businesses not only provide high quality content and entertainment but also work hard to better the world around them. With the March 2 launch of Satyamev Jayate's new season, STAR India is demonstrating its dedication to engaging its audiences on some of the most pressing social issues of our time.
Satyamev Jayate, or "Truth Alone Prevails," is a talk show that features Bollywood star Aamir Khan exploring some of the most important and sensitive issues facing India today. In each episode, Khan speaks with victims, activists, and experts, never shying away from any controversial subject, and encourages the audience to speak out and demand change. The public responded enthusiastically during the first season, which debuted in May 2012. STAR received messages from nearly 15 million people after just one episode on child sex abuse, and viewers continued to post on the website months after the first season concluded. Eventually, local and federal governments began to acknowledge the groundswell. They introduced new laws on issues like female feticide and revised old ones on child abuse and generic drug access. SMJ became more than a television series; it became a movement.
SMJ's success--STAR estimates that more than 500 million people saw the show in its first year--and the change it brought about indicate how deeply the show resonated with viewers. In fact, 50,000 people showed up at a launch event in Gaya, India, this week just to catch a glimpse of Aamir and STAR Chief Executive Uday Shankar. Such a massive turnout is not just a testament to the popularity of the show but also a symbol of television's power to drive positive social change.
With the new season, STAR hopes to build on the momentum that began in Season 1. STAR's ad campaign for the new season centers around the tagline, "Jinhe Desh Ki Fikr Hai," framing the show as being "For those who care about the country." The campaign targets viewers' apathy and asks them to consider whether they are part of the problem or part of the solution. SMJ intends to be part of the solution, and it pledges to "educate, engage, and empower" audiences to create meaningful, widespread change on the ground.
SMJ will be simulcast across six of STAR's channels plus the government's free-to-air channel, to ensure access for as many Indians as possible, along with a deferred telecast on ETV and a global broadcast to more than 100 countries. The new season will also be available with English subtitles on the series' website, and the entire first season is available on YouTube. Check out a promo for the new season below.
When FOX 7 Chief Meteorologist Scott Fisher and Good Day Austin anchor Dave Froehlich stepped on the field at the University of Texas-Austin's football stadium last fall, it wasn't to give a news report. Instead, they represented FOX 7 as a leading sponsor of UT's Longhorn Recycling Roundup.
In addition to being the most-watched TV event in US history, Sunday's Super Bowl XLVIII, which aired on FOX, broke another important record. It is being called the greenest Super Bowl ever.
In keeping with their long tradition of making the Super Bowl more environmentally sustainable, the NFL led the push to make this year's game, played at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium, the greenest yet. They coordinated with the NY/NJ Super Bowl XLVIII Host Committee, as well as local, state, and national organizations, to implement an extensive set of environmental projects, including the use of renewable energy to power generators and the diversion of waste from local landfills through reuse and recycling. The NFL also purchased carbon offsets and planted 27,000 trees across New York and New Jersey.
A new initiative at this year's game was the composting of all food scraps on site, a policy that MetLife Stadium already had in place. The EPA calls MetLife "the most energy-efficient football stadium in the US," and their numerous other eco-friendly policies, such as waterless urinals, automated lighting controls, and donating leftover food to the local community, all contributed to making this the greenest Super Bowl ever.
"Every year we are trying to push harder to make this a greener event," said Jack Groh, Director of the NFL's environmental program. He also noted that in addition to being the greenest Super Bowl, the game is also "the greenest sports event that New York and New Jersey have ever hosted."
Read the NFL's full list of environmental initiatives for Super Bowl XLVIII at NFL.com.
In May 2012, STAR TV premiered Satyamev Jayate ("Truth Alone Prevails"), a documentary talk show that explores some of India's most pressing social issues. The series has sparked national discussion on a range of issues, including water scarcity. When Adishree Parasnis, a teacher at a primary school in Pune, saw the water episode, she decided to work with her students to help their local community save water.
Parasnis, a Teach For India Fellow, had been reading about Pune's drought problems in the newspapers, and after teaching a science lesson on rainwater harvesting and watching the Satyamev Jayate episode, she got the idea for a water conservation project, which she calls Project Pitter Patter.
She and her young students--all around the ages of eight and nine--made posters advocating rainwater harvesting that they posted all around the local community, in shops, rickshaws, and homes. The students also went house-to-house around their neighborhood providing buckets to collect rainwater, which gave the locals extra water with which to bathe, cook, and drink (after boiling).
"The kids are teaching the adults," said Rekha Bansode, the mother of one of the students. "It was very exciting for us."
For the fifth year in a row, FOX has partnered with Cinemills, a lighting technology manufacturer, to light the Red Carpet at FOX's Golden Globe Awards party with LED light fixtures.
Cinemills chose its LEDz Superspot, a fixture that produces high quality beams but with a much lower amperage draw than traditional incandescent bulbs.
FOX partnered with Cinemills specifically for their commitment to sustainable event production.
The National Geographic Channel (NGC) recently partnered with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to distribute 20,000 fruit-bearing trees to farmers in the Isabela province of the Philippines. The reforestation project should work to curb the effects of climate change.
WWF and its supporters have been helping farmers in Isabela since 2009, planting more than 25,000 trees and revitalizing 210 hectares of land to date. NGC has just distributed an additional 20,000 saplings to Isabela farmers. "We have taken National Geographic Channel's goal of inspiring people to care about the planet to heart in our efforts to promote agroforestry with WWF," said Fox International Channels Vice President and Territory Head Jude Turcuato.
Agroforestry is a unique approach to reforestation, allowing the balanced intercropping of trees, shrubs, and crops to create more sustainable plots of land. "Agroforestry allows crops and trees to coexist, maximizing benefits. This increases land productivity, improves water recharge, and minimizes erosion," said WWF's Edgardo Tongson.
Illegal logging, swidden farming, and land clearing have threatened Isabela's farms in recent years. However, the reforestation efforts of NGC and WWF will help retain the nutrient-rich sediments that are otherwise washed out to rivers and shield the landscape from the intense storms caused by climate change, ultimately restoring the livelihoods of Isabela's farmers.
For more information, read Ellalyn De Vera's report at the Manila Bulletin.
In the fall of 2010, Twentieth Century Fox's X-Men: First Class began filming on Jekyll Island, Georgia. The scenes called for a massive crashed air-craft, a beached submarine, hundreds of non-native palm trees, and fires burning in the background--no small demand on the delicate eco-system of Jekyll Island's quiet beaches. Yet, in spite of these challenges, the X-Men: First Class team was able to completely restore the beach and preserve native habitats and wildlife.
When filming began, the local community voiced their concern that such a high-impact production would leave their beaches damaged and run-down. "Considering that an individual could be issued a citation and fined for driving a small car on the beach or pulling a handful of sea oats from the dunes, it's astounding that... [local authorities] would allow this activity to proceed," wrote David Kyler, the Executive Director of the Center for a Sustainable Coast, in an Op-Ed piece for the Atlanta Constitution.
The production team was highly sensitive to these issues. X-Men: First Class location manager Maida Morgan led the efforts to restore the beach after filming concluded, giving presentations to local authorities and seeking counsel from sustainability experts. "I give a lot of credit to Fox," Morgan told Producers' Guild magazine Produced By. "Their head of sustainability, Lisa Day, was involved in the restoration plan from a very early stage. She and the head of production, Mike Hendrickson, said they really wanted to 'get this right.'"
Morgan worked with Mike Demell and his team from Environmental Services in Savannah to bring the appropriate sand to re-sculpt the beach, diaper all hydraulic and fuel lines to prevent oil spills, re-plant more than 30,000 plants, install a sprinkler system to ensure their growth, and clean up the Styrofoam and plastic debris that remained after the set was torn down.
Local authorities say that the team left the beach in even better condition than when they found it. "It was a challenging project," Demell said. "But Fox really met that challenge... This was unusual for a studio to make that commitment on the front end, knowing what it would cost on the back end. It was very classy!""
For more information on X-Men: First Class and its filming on Jekyll Island, check out the September/October issue of Produced By.
On Saturday, October 19th, the Environmental Media Association announced the winners of the 23rd annual Environmental Media Association Awards at a ceremony in Burbank, California. Last Man Standing, the Twentieth Century Fox Television production starring Tim Allen, won in the Television Episodic Comedy category for its episode on fracking.
Last Man Standing beat out fellow TCFTV production Modern Family and IFC's Portlandia for the Television Comedy Prize. Fox Searchlight's eco-terrorism thriller The East was also nominated in the Feature Film category.
"This is quite an honor," said Ed Yeager, who accepted the award for Last Man Standing. "We have a lot of fun on our show, and... [we're grateful] we can get political and show both sides of an issue."
Several Fox feature films also received the EMA's Green Seal for environmentally sustainable productions: Animal Rescue, Baggage Claim, Black Nativity, The Book Thief, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Enough Said, The Internship, Maze Runner, and The Wolverine.
For the full list of EMA winners, photos from the event, and a complete video of the ceremony, check out the Environmental Media Association's official website.