Power of Serial Dramas

Imagine paying four US cents to reach a person with important health and social messages. Imagine 67 percent of new health clinic clients saying that they came to seek services because of an entertaining radio drama. These are the real implications of PMC serial dramas.

There are many ways to assess the impact of PMC’s serial dramas: community impact, individual impact, and cost per behavior change are just a few measures PMC monitors closely.

Community Impact
Applied globally in more than 50 countries, PMC programming shows amazing results at the community level. Two examples:

In two years of broadcasting Ruwan Dare  (“Midnight Rain”) in Nigeria:

  • Listeners were 4.5 times more likely to have talked with their spouse or partner
  • about family planning in the past three months at endline compared to baseline
  • 67% of new health clinic clients reported seeking services because of Ruwan Dare

 In one season of broadcasting East Los High in the United States:

  • 30,000 people used Planned Parenthood widgets on eastloshigh.com in the first month
  •  76% of viewers who accessed transmedia resources shared resources with friends


Individual Impact

PMC also conducts focus groups, invites calls from the audience, and receives numerous texts, emails, letters, and visitors to the country offices of individuals who share their likes and dislikes with the programs, as well as information about how the program has impacted them.

Husseini Shehu Mumini, 28-year-old man, brought a photograph to a PMC focus group to share the impact Gugar Goge (“Tell It To Me Straight”) had in his life. He narrated his photo, saying: Here is the dead body of a 15-year-old girl in a makara (coffin) made out of bamboo. She died yesterday in a hospital. This girl was married to a 45-year-old man when she was 11 years old. She developed fistula during her first delivery. Her baby did not survive. She became pregnant again. She died giving birth to her second child. The radio program is all about this topic. People need to be enlightened on these topics.


Cost Per Behavior Change
Cost per listener is valuable to know how much it costs per exposure to health and social messages, but cost per behavior change helps gauge the real impact of the program. Getting someone to understand that condom prevents HIV is valuable, but getting that someone to actually use a condom when engaging in risky behavior is much more valuable. PMC’s serialized dramas are highly cost-effective because of the huge audiences they can attract and the strong impact they have on the public. In Ethiopia, PMC’s first long-running program cost just four US cents to reach each listener. In PMC’s recent Saliwansai (“Puppet On A String”) in Sierra Leone, the cost per listener was 53 US cents. Cost per behavior change varied depending on the behavior. It was $2.54 US per listener who began discussing family planning with family, friends, or neighbors and it was $1.62 US per listener who began using bednets to prevent malaria.


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