Every year, the Hindustan Times runs a popular “No TV Day” in it Mumbai market, Rajan Bhalla, chief marketing officer at HT Media Ltd, explained at INMA’s South Asia News Media Conference in New Delhi.

“We were always very strong in Delhi, but in Mumbai this was our first foray,” Bhalla explained. “What was very important for us was to have a mass-connect with the consumer — especially the lives people live in that city.”

With a population of more than 20 million, Bhalla said that most people live in small homes, and in the evening they gather in one room and mostly just watch television. “We realised that these people were not spending time as a family together, going out of their homes and really enjoying the city.”

That’s when HT came up with the concept of the “No TV Day.”

“There should be one day, one evening, when you’re not glued to the television set,” Bhalla said. The idea was to create multiple opportunities for people to actually go out on the no TV day, and spend time doing things they love together. This could be fitness, enjoying music, or having a picnic as a family.

HT created multiple platforms across the city of Mumbai — which required a major effort, but one that paid off. The news media company has now done eight years of “No TV Day” and it’s been a huge success.

“We saw almost 100,000 people coming in and participating,”  Bhalla said. The concept became a trending topic worldwide, reaching No. 2 on Twitter, and generated a lot of positive media.

The idea was really very simple, born out of the lives of consumers, Bhalla said. It’s how you execute it, giving it a face and a name, and how you scale it, that makes all the difference for success.