Soap Operas for Social Change: Toward a Methodology for Entertainment-Education Television

Soap Operas for Social Change: Toward a Methodology for Entertainment-Education Television

by Heidi Nariman


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In 1975, the Mexican network Televisa broadcast the first entertainment-education soap opera, which was written and produced by Miguel Sabido according to his own theory-based research formula. The soap opera, called Ven Conmigo (Come with Me), promoted a government-sponsored adult literacy program, and its commercial and social success prompted Televisa to produce, broadcast, and research the audience effects of five other Sabido-designed soaps. Development themes treated in these shows included family planning, women's rights, responsible parenthood, and adolescent sexual education. Each of the six entertainment-education soap operas was exported for broadcast in other Latin American nations and achieved high ratings consistent with the ratings of conventional soaps. Subsequent evaluation research indicated that these educational soaps did successfully increase viewers' awareness and acceptance of their respective messages.

Nariman examines Sabido's model with particular attention given to communication and behavioral theories that constitute parts of the formula: the hierarchy of effects model by William McGuire, the social learning theory developed by Albert Bandura, the dramatic theory proposed by Eric Bentley, the two-step-flow theory of Paul F. Lazarsfeld, and opinion leadership as articulated by Lazarsfeld, Berelson, and Gaudet. Nariman details the historical, social, and political context within which Sabido's formula emerged in Mexico, and discusses the research and application of the research data in actual soap opera design and production. Nariman discusses results of these evaluations conducted in Latin America, then provides an overview of the diffusion of the Sabido formula to other countries and media in India, Kenya, Zaire, Pakistan, and other developing countries. Each chapter includes lively examples from Sabido's soap operas that are highlighted by sample dialogue, plots, and character profiles. The volume takes an important step towards breaking down the traditional concept of informational or educational campaigns as mutually exclusive from commercial mass media entertainment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780275943899
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 05/18/1993
Series: Media and Society Series
Pages: 184
Product dimensions: 6.42(w) x 9.61(h) x (d)

About the Author

HEIDI NOEL NARIMAN is the International Information Manager at Televisa, S.A. de C.V. in Mexico City, where she has worked with Miguel Sabido since 1989. At present, Nariman edits Televisa's semimonthly Spanish-language newsletter about worldwide entertainment-education trends in television and cinema business, programming, and technology.

Table of Contents




Formulation of the Entertainment-Education Strategy for Development Communiation in Mexico

Theoretical Components of Entertainment-Education Soap Operas

Assembling an Entertainment-Education Soap Opera Based on Formative Evaluation Research

Summative Evaluation Research: Testing Hypotheses and Measuring the Effects of Entertainment-Education Soap Operas in Mexico

Building upon Mexico's Experience with Entertainment-Education Soap Operas, Summary and Conclusions



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