As ZEE Biskope completed almost a year and a half in 2021, we interacted with the channel to understand its hyperlocalized content strategy and marketing tactics with a focus on digital.
With an upswing of hyper-localized content across OTT platforms, regional content played a key role in driving growth and viewership across Television channels, too. While the viewership for such channels doubled in the last four years as per BARC data 2020, various conglomerates also strengthened their regional arms with the launch of newer channels and quality content across the platforms for the target audience. In line with this thought, ZEE Biskope from the house of ZEEL was launched in December 2019 as the free-to-air Bhojpuri movie channel in India.
As the channel attempts to continue with seemingly differentiated content and engaging marketing initiatives that followed, the platform even launched a week-long campaign as ‘Birthday Lahariya,’ followed by DJ night and movie festivals. We speak with the duo – Jit Sengupta, Lead, Brand Management, ZEE Biskope, and Amarpreet Saini – Business Head, ZEE BISKOPE & BIG Ganga, ZEEL to understand the channel’s audience engagement strategy and initiatives for the times to come.
The Role of Regional Content
ZEE Biskope first screened a Bhojpuri movie in Bihar with a significant taste of success. According to the channel, Bhojpuri viewers are now seeking curated content and smart presentation like any other entertainment category. Though the market seems to have seen its ups and downs owing to the pandemic and the return of FTA Hindi channels on Free Dish, the channel continues to make efforts into engagement and innovations.
With the rise in demand for regional content, Saini shares that the desire to seek culturally affirmative content is even higher today given pandemic has limited cultural immersions in realtime.
“At ZEE Biskope we have ensured that we keep topicality at its peak by curating film festivals, premieres, engagement initiatives that resonate with the festive, cultural, topical mindset at any period of time so viewers can also get virtual gratification even when real-world possibilities are limited”, he adds.
Consumption Trends & Content Strategy
With a younger set of audiences from 15-30-year-old (Males and Females) as their core TG, the channel puts content differentiation/innovation at the center of their content strategy. One of the major consumption trends for Television, according to the channel was the surge in NPT viewership, exponentially, given people were and are still mostly homebound.
As a part of their content strategy, the channel focussed on family-inclusive content through various film festivals curated to cater to this audience. Festivals like Family Day, Father’s Day, ChumuniyaSawan, etc. garnered more than 30% viewership growth on an average given its customized offering, shared the channel. Further, the channel aims to re-engineer and re-purpose the content to serve every consumer’s need.
Saini highlights, “We have also explored shoot-from-home formats with good success. We are exploring extending our content offering beyond movies to drive movie affinity-driven original shows as movie gratification will also have to find new grounds now.”
Marketing Strategy & Role of Social Media
ZEE Biskope marketing strategy revolves around a robust presence across social media channels, accelerated in 2020 and 2021, and leveraging topicals.
From film festivals to the extended weekends to moments such as Emoji Day, Dance Day, Camera Day, the channel was high on leveraging occasions in the year that went by, across TV and social platforms.
Emoji Lahariya was launched on Emoji Day in July with a new Instagram filter. Sengupta shared, “Although this campaign had many layers in call-to-action, the response was huge, elevating our Instagram reach and follower base.”
Further, Camera day, emoji day, Dance day are western concepts, as per the channel and are not celebrated in the region. But they celebrated it to provide novelty to the target audience.
The marketing mix is a three-pronged combination for the channel, comprising TV, Digital, and Radio. “While TV happens to be the primary driver, we have been consistently using radio in our marketing mix as it caters to the mass audience. Print also had its share, however, it had limitations during the pandemic”, highlights Sengupta.
The channel also leverages the trend of content-brand integration for its movies. For instance, Comedy scenes were integrated with emojis and packaged as Nestle Munch Emoji Moment of the Day. While for Adani’s Fortune Kachi Ghani Mustard Oil, the brand delivered content integration campaigns such as Pause & Play and other digital integrations like memes & recipe videos where Fortune Mustard Oil & Atta were used as an ingredient.
Further leveraging the moments and topicals, Zee Biskope brought Labhlitis Messiah –a digital talking teddy who enabled viewers to express their feelings to the loved ones, leveraging the occasion of Valentine’s day in 2021. The initiative extended from 10 February till 20 February, this year.
Explaining the valentine’s day campaign, Ghosh, shares, “ZEE Biskope is a movie+ brand and the first channel in the category which extends movie experience beyond mere viewership to up close and facilitates personal involvement of viewers with the brand. Through novel engagements like Labhlitis Messiah, ZEE Biskope lives up to its promise of remaining fresh, consumer-focused and a differentiator.”
Saini adds, “Valentine’s Day, though a western concept, is as much a popular occasion in the Bhojpuri region as it is in the rest of the country, especially among the youth. Labhlitis Messiah is a tech-innovation curated in an authentic, consumer led space with novelty at its core. It caters primarily to the young audience and projects the brand as one that facilitates and celebrates their emotions just as a friend would do.”
Moving forward, the channel observes FMCG as one of the biggest sectors for Ad spends. For example, Nestle came on board for multiple initiatives including Emoji Lahariya, LittiChokhaDiwas, and the World Television Premieres. This is followed by Edutech, Health, and Sanitation categories owing to the changing consumer dynamics.
For brands across categories, Saini quips that Zee Biskope is built on the premise of curation, which extends to its esteemed partners as well.
In a category that is largely commoditized, ZEE Biskope will continue to be selective towards procuring content and marketing initiatives to tap into the right audience. Repeat telecasts for the viewers will perpetuate on the channel.
“The consumer today is seeking much deeper connect and excitement from his/her entertainment as the environment is more stressed than before. Thus, to satiate this need we would be bringing more offerings than its year of inception which will be new and exciting for eg. Movie affinity-driven shows, events, and new genres in Bhojpuri movie space, and more”, concludes Sengupta.