With Marathi content up and running, aawaz.com is a step closer to achieving their programming plans, here’s more on the process.
Stepping into their long-term plan to expand the content portfolio in multiple Indian languages, aawaz has recently launched several Marathi offerings. These include podcasts on spiritual and motivational topics, the diverse history of Maharashtra, and entertainment chat shows. The needs and varied interests of their listeners were kept in mind during the selection and strategizing process.
The fact that aawaz is a Mumbai-based organisation that takes pride in their Maharashtrian roots was a factor in the decision for Marathi to be one of the first languages they have launched content in, after Hindi and English. The platform hopes to add content in more Indian languages in the future.
Aawaz Content & Marketing
Most of the planning team’s inspiration comes from people and culture, voice, noises, and sounds being the most important part of the creative process.
So, if they are creating a Hindi show in the dialect that’s associated with Mewar, it would be very different from a show created for Uttar Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh.
Earlier whenever the brand would launch a new offering, they could couple their digital initiatives with on-ground events for visibility. However, this time around they had to depend on digital marketing to drive the efforts. According to the Sreeraman Thiagarajan, CEO, aawaz, digital marketing has always been a part of their marketing mix to drive performance-oriented outcomes, especially when it comes to app installs.
Since digital forms a big part of their media strategy, influencer marketing is a significant part of the efforts. Quite a few people on-boarded for content creation by aawaz are well-known celebrities. “Our recent Marathi show, ‘Man Mokale with Manisha Kelkar‘ features some of the top celebrities having a candid chat or promoting their shows,” he tells us.
The spokesperson explains that these celebrities actively share podcast trailers on their social media handles, helping expand reach, organically.
Dissecting content offerings in various languages, aawaz spokesperson explains how their English content is designed to appeal to the curious lot who likes to stay in the know about new things and prefer to upskill themselves. “They are essentially decision-makers and aspiring individuals who appreciate our audio shows like Being CEO and Conversational Masterclass,” Thiagarajan tells us.
However, audiences tuning in to consume their Hindi and Marathi audiences are those who appreciate fiction and GEC flavoured audio content. Popular categories include stories, humour, spiritual and horror.
Other than specific audience categories, aawaz also caters to peripheral audiences, who are usually fence-sitters with a good chance to stick to the platform once they experience the offerings.
It is tough to demarcate a geographical boundary to ascertain audiences, even though the platform roughly categorises them based on linguistics. This includes a good chunk of diaspora listeners. “Indians reside across the globe and for them to connect with their roots is a good way by listening to podcasts in their language,” Thiagarajan explains.
Dwelling further on major audience pockets, Thiagarajan tells us, “We have had listeners tune in to our podcast from all over the world including US, Australia, etc; but a special mention to people from Nepal who have been a loyal and strong consumer base. We have had good listenership from across the country as well from cities like Indore, Lucknow, Kanpur, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, and Pune.”
Impact of Pandemic
Explaining the way they planned programming in the pre-pandemic era, he tells us, “It is about the moments in a day where audio fits into our lives more than any other mediums, say early morning meditation or walking, daily commute, evening unwinding, or needing something therapeutic for a good night’s sleep. We have content matching these moments.”
However, the pandemic has impacted the way aawaz approaches programming. This is primarily due to the change in activity and consumption patterns of their listeners. Prior to the lockdown, the peak time for when people consumed audio content was in the morning and evening, essentially the travel time when they wanted hands and eyes-free entertainment.
Under lockdown, people are consuming podcasts while getting through mundane tasks such as household chores and during the night when they need to unwind. Listening to soothing music or stories helps them lighten their mood.
An increase in screen time due to work from home setups and an increase in OTT consumption have been key to the need for people to turn to audio-only consumption. On the content end, aawaz has witnessed an uptake in mental wellness podcast listenership.
These changes are bound to shape the way aawaz deals with their content in the future, something the team is hopeful to do well at. It would be interesting to see how they make the most of it in the coming months.