Perspective | Broadcasters adopt digital space as a way forward!

The growing internet and mobile penetration is seeing more and more marketers, advertisers and even broadcasters jumping on to the newest platform. May it be creating an app or promoting the channel’s activities aggressively on the digital media platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc., all are betting big on the digital platform. We see the trend shaping up among the Hindi broadcasters quite literally. Apart from using traditional media, channels are promoting their fiction and non-fiction shows quite hard on the digital, social and mobile space. Every channel has its own special Facebook page and is quite keen to launch something more like an app on mobile in order to keep their audience engaged 24 x 7.

The veteran in this space has been Zee TV. The channel has been playing with some really innovative steps in the digital, social and mobile space for almost all its reality shows. In fact the channel has actually pioneered many digital and mobile initiatives with the intention of interacting with the consumers at every touch point. This time around too some innovative features have been added in the ‘DID Super Moms’ Mobile App. To amplify viewer engagement, the channel added a new feature called ‘Tap On’ wherein a user can hold the phone to capture the songs played during ‘DID Super Moms’.

Another feature is a chat room called ‘Check In’ wherein everybody watching the show can check in and share their viewpoint with each other. With the pattern of content consumption becoming more dynamic, the features introduced in the mobile app will keep the viewer engaged throughout the show via his/her mobile phone. This is a more personal way of interaction, engagement and entertainment.

Speaking to Adgully, Akash Chawla, Executive Vice President, Marketing, National Channels, Zee says, “We have been quite active on the digital space. We change the formats with every show and believe in engaging with consumers in every possible manner, which is innovative. Today we are the leaders with one million downloads as far as apps are concerned.”

Chawla believes that online media has moved from being niche media to mass media. He says, “It’s not about other media reaching a saturation point but it’s all about new media and technology getting advanced. We surely think this is an innovative space and we will be adopting all the new technologies that come in.”

Adding further he said, “with our fiction show, ‘Apki Antra’ we launched a call center where people can get their queries answered. Actually it all depends on the content with which you approach your audiences online. The strategies are different for fiction and non-fiction shows. If the approach and initiative is correct you can woe the audiences. For example for movies we have launched games.” So he believes that the more differentiated you are, better is the response you will get and the trick is ‘how’ and what medium.

Sony Entertainment is also in the same league with its premium property ‘Indian Idol.’ Its as an official digital destination for ‘Indian Idol’ has now added the touch of ‘Indian Idol Junior’ too. offers the users a chance to connect with India’s favourite music reality show, with its engaging features, exclusive content and applications.

Speaking about how Sony has been actively using the digital and mobile space, Gaurav Seth, Senior Vice President, Head Marketing, Sony Entertainment, says, “The Indian Idol Junior Application, which is available for download on ITunes and the Google Play Store enabled the users to register for the show using the Web Auditions feature. This was again an innovative step. We really think online, digital and mobile space is robust and to be ahead of the curve one needs to be really active and innovative.”

Apart from Sony Television its sister property SAB TV has also been banking on digital platform. For example their initiatives like: SAB Ke Comics has enabled the channel to engage with fans beyond TV and bring them back to watching their favorite shows & characters. SAB TV has been cross sampling various shows in a comic book format.

There is ‘SAB Khelo SAB Jeeto’, a unique game show that can be played with the entire family. It enables the fans and consumers to participate and win gifts & merchandise. As a first of its kind initiative, SAB TV announced online auditions for its fiction shows beginning with ‘FIR’. This unique initiative offers a lifetime opportunity to the viewers to showcase their acting prowess and feature along with their favorite stars!

Viacom 18 too has beefed up its entire digital set up. With the idea to encourage people to converse and increase in the number of fans, Colors revamped its website last year. It also launched a ‘Jhalak Dhikhla Ja’ application and a ‘Bigg Boss’ application. They have increased their FB and Twitter base. Apart from this they are also launching a micro site for ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa’. Raj Nayak, Chief Executive Officer, Viacom 18 says, “I am personally quite active on social media that's FB & Twitter. I feel that today people have started consuming content on various platforms - phone, laptop, tablets etc. We want our product to be consumed from every platform and so we would be doing lot of things in social media and digital space to engage our viewers. With shows like JDJ we have got opportunity to do it more effectively.”

So why do broadcasters think that digital and mobile is the way forward?

According to Chawla, the reason behind betting big on the mobile space is the fact that mobile phones have a better and larger reach compared to TV hence it becomes an opportunity for us.

Supporting him is Gaurav Seth who says, “I feel more than any other medium the audiences lie on the online media. It is a means for staying in touch with our audiences even when they are not viewing the show. Such steps keep them engaged on the second screen too. No doubt about the fact that we are content providers but the real game is in how we engage our characters with the audiences.”

In a press statement Vivek Srivastava, Digital Head of Colors said, “Engagement is the key for us. Engagement comes across all social media platforms, across all digital platforms and it could
be driven by one or more ideas as in the case of our entire association with”

“Interaction is of utmost importance whether it is through sharing pictures, talking to them on different platforms, giving them star interactions, getting them to come on web chat, taking part in contests. The key factor is how many more conversations can you generate,” said Srivastava.

The trend has been quite popular among the Hollywood studios and English GECs. We have seen top English GEC channels like Zee Cafe (organized Mentalist; the two hour tweet hour a year back), Comedy Central tweets during live shows, Star World (for love2hateu used Twitter quite aggressively) and many more such initiatives in terms of launching apps etc. are seen quite literally. With the on growing penetration we see broadcasters taking the same league. Looking at their ideas it indicates that the market would become more competitive going further down the line.


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