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The Third Eye Project is a collaborative endeavour between the Asian Center for Entertainment Education, India, and Hollywood, Health and Society (HH&S) at the Norman Lear Center, University of Southern California.
It is one of the two Global Centres, the other being in Nigeria, which is funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, primarily to harness the power of media and entertainment and to spread awareness and information about key health, sustainable development and climate change issues.
The Third Eye connects creative communities (producers, writers, authors, directors and journalists) to experts across various fields (doctors, lawyers, public health specialists, environmentalists, etc.) and is the bridge between creative communities and the priorities of our times.
The Core Functions of The Third Eye are:
1. The Message Design Engine involves development of new content based on research, creative assistance to ongoing Programs and shows, seamless integration of social issues with storylines and plot and storyline development in media.
2. The Research Engine conducts Landscape Analysis, provides customized research strategies, carries out Target Audience Mapping, gives social insights, and conducts Media Impact Evaluations that enhance the programs.
3. The Content Strategy Engine devises Audience Engagement Strategies with a transmedia approach, facilitates Objective led Content Placement, creates Data Driven Content and Programming Solutions and partners with governmental and non-governmental organizations to maximize outreach and create social impact.
4. The Creative Engine focuses primarily on home-grown content creation in the forms of documentary films, fiction (television and film) and web content. Another aspect revolves around forging brand identities and innovative solutions to navigate the marketplace.
These diverse perspectives, approaches and activities facilitate dextrous navigation of the marketplace and the creation of unique and sustainable properties such as:
- Screenings: The Third Eye screens films in media dark areas with the purpose of raising awareness on issues on Health, Gender, Legal, Health, Sustainable Development, Environment, Social etc. As a follow up, qualitative and quantitative data is collected before and after the screenings to ascertain the changes in attitudes and practices. This data is mapped in order the engineer a holistic understanding of the dynamics related to these issues across various rural and semirural areas all around India. The research is evaluative and is able to tangibly quantify the impact of the various interventions.
- Story-bus Tours: The Third Eye arranges excursions for creative leaderships such as networks and studios, as well as writers and content creators; to remote rural regions in order to acquaint them with grass-root realities in order to enrich their work with accuracy and realism in their portrayal of various ethnicities.
- Web engagement: The Third Eye runs and maintains two websites to engage with its clients and audience- a corporate website outlining the various activities, goals and functions of the project, and a publishing website updated daily with engaging content in the entertainment and development fields as well as home-grown print and new media content. The Third Eye also is in active engagement with social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus etc.
- Partnerships with Content Creators/ Studios and Networks: The Third Eye collaborates with Content Creators/ Studios and Networks to place relevant messaging on Health, Gender, Law, Health, Sustainable Development, Environment, Society etc. in their media and content. This is followed up by research that looks into the impact the messaging has had upon the attitudes and behaviours of those surveyed through proprietary tools.In 2014, The Third Eye consulted on the medical Drama ‘Hamari Sister Didi’ on the channel Sony Pal and placed messages and measured impact of issues like Maternal and Child Health, Contraception, Infant Nutrition, Breast Feeding, Immunization and Birth Spacing.
The Third Eye is currently consulting with the medical drama ‘Roshni: Ek Nayi Umeed’ currently on air on the channel Life OK on various aspects of healthcare including interventions and systems.
- Taking content beyond the screen to direct engagement with audiences: Part of The Third Eye’s mission is the empower local communities, not just through media exposure, but through focus groups as well as the training of local youth leaders to conduct screenings and workshops. The model facilitates empowerment through awareness and independence, nurturing a sense of participation and community with the local population. Research and impact assessment is also carried out. The focus of this approach is to create replicable models accounting for the cultural nuances and dynamics in various regions, in a continually evolving process.
- Turning engagement to action towards sustainable models of development at the grass roots: Through its various interventions and engagement, The Third Eye works towards fostering and nurturing a momentum in communities propelling towards best practices, sustainability and community empowerment through awareness, community building and technology.
Turning engagement to action towards sustainable models of development at the grass roots
- Forging partnerships with Corporate Clients for CSR Consultancy: Corporate Social Responsibility has come to define the ethos of the marketplace in the twenty first century. The Third Eye works and develops strategies involving corporations and CSR consultancies to find a common purpose and design and execute strategies, interventions and content creation.
- Creating and Updating: Research, Content Creation and Audience Engagement Strategies: As an evolving story, there is a constant expansion of learning and context that enriches the various strategies the Third Eye employs. The Third Eye is committed to be on the cutting edge in a field relatively unexplored, thus offering novel approaches constantly adapting to different contexts; collecting a cumulative wealth of data that further guides and improves existing strategies and is subject to the creation of new ones.