In conversation with Media Samosa, Samrat Ghosh from ZEE Bangla highlights the latest content consumption trends on television, the relevance of the medium, and the changing paradigms of the television-viewer dynamic with the pandemic.
Like every other sector, the Media and Entertainment industry too transcended into a VUCA situation when the production of fresh content was halted indefinitely. However, as channels began to rely on the existing content library and viewers too evolved in their way of content consumption, the core fabric of the industry changed. Decoding the changes from a regional perspective, we speak with Samrat Ghosh, Cluster Head – East, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, deep-diving into the programming strategy and marketing initiatives for ZEE Bangla.
How has the year 2020 been for the channel? What are the key trends observed in the Bangla GEC viewership?
The year 2020 was an exceptional year and in a true sense turned out to be a VUCA environment. Amidst much learning, the lockdown was definitely an event to remember forever. Imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in the channel tweaking its regular schedules.
While the original programming was put on hold due to the lockdown, we heard the consumer voice to bring back some of our milestones shows from 20 years in terms of both fiction and non-fiction. Zee Bangla realigned its programming with the relaunch of a series of the iconic shows of yesteryear’s which presented the families with an opportunity to relive memories, subsequently striking a happy conversation among them. The same was envisaged as an extension of the ’20 Ke Kurnish’ campaign, which was launched by Zee Bangla last year to celebrate its journey of 20 years. While the year 2020 threw a lot of challenges, but it indeed was the one with learnings.
What would be ZEE Bangla’s programming strategy for 2021? How will you cater to and satisfy the Bengali audience through content on the Television channel? How do you plan to bring newer shows to people amidst the second wave?
The past year has witnessed a shift in the viewers’ content consumption patterns. It has taught the entertainment industry to reinvent itself to cater to this new need. At Zee Bangla, re-purposing and re-engineering content has been the mainstay of serving this new consumer appetite.
With all the safety measures in place and following the norms, in the year 2021, we have launched a couple of shows. Recently we launched the 11th season of the popular dance reality show Dance Bangla Dance.
Who is your key target audience at this moment? What has been the impact of the ongoing pandemic on the viewership and ratings for shows on ZEE Bangla?
Our primary target audience is middle-class Bengali women. However, we strongly believe in creating ‘all-inclusive content’ that will cater to the wide Bengali diaspora and resonate with the Bengali culture.
This lockdown has re-established that TV is the most dependable source of entertainment for Indian families. We are constantly talking to our consumers to understand what their new normal is. We ask them how they are spending their 24 hours, the new lifecycle. We are getting a lot of interesting insights, which is helping us decide which programme to schedule at what time slot
ZEE Bangla recently came up with ‘Celebrate Motherhood in all of us’. Please take us through the ‘Change your Middle name to Mom’s campaign journey – right from the insights to execution – how did it pan out?
Zee Bangla, in line with its brand promise to stay closer to the spirit of Bengali culture and language, has always celebrated the peoples’ desire to overcome their inner shackles to chart a path towards a better tomorrow.
Adding back to the brand’s belief this campaign further attempts to build a new way of looking at the spirit of motherhood to imbibe a sense of compassion and care amongst all, especially from a parenting lens. We believe this campaign will help manifest our brand belief ‘Notun Chande Likhbo Jibon’ and strengthen it further.
The Bengali language doesn’t discriminate between men and women. Its pronunciations are gender-neutral. Hence, on Mother’s Day, the channel came up with this film that builds on equality to bring out equality in parenting too. We received more than 1 Mn views within a day of launch, as part of the campaign response. More so, the quality of conversations that the viewers were engaged in were extremely encouraging for us.
Also read: Livestreams created a level playing field in the experiential industry: Swaroop Banerjee, ZEE LIVE
What is the role of digital media in marketing for the channel in 2021? How do you leverage digital media to connecting with your audience and staying relevant?
Given the growing use of digital media in the country, it becomes an effective CRM platform to engage with viewers. It is the digital platform and social media that has taken over and this includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. Hence, with the help of new media platforms, Zee Bangla is engaging with and creating a bond with its audiences.
While getting feedback about the content on the channel, it also provides them with information related to content playing on the channel.
The audience’s presence on this platform makes a direct connection with them in a more effective and tactical way. With connectivity and smartphones becoming more affordable, our TG is always connected and that is where all the conversations are taking place. Our aim is to be a part of these conversations in a relevant and interactive manner. Zee Bangla has grown exponentially on digital platforms across all assets.
In terms of ad spends, what does your marketing plan for this quarter look like? Please take us through your media mix. How much percent of your total spends will be reserved for digital?
In the post-pandemic environment, advertisers are looking at deeper engagement and purposeful association for their brands. Zee Bangla has been successful in providing the same through its topical, thematic, and consumer-centric initiatives both on-air and off-air. We will continue the same approach. And digital will remain a key focus medium for us to engage with our viewers.
What are your thoughts on OTT vs Television debate? Do you think that OTT will surpass Television in terms of viewership and ad spends?
Despite the rise in OTT viewership, I believe that TV viewership continues to be the dominant trend.
With people being homebound again, overall viewership has witnessed a surge. The consumption of TV content has increased manifold and will secure further growth in the eastern region. However, we believe both OTT and TV will co-exist and grow together.
Both are having a complementing role in the viewers’ conversion funnel. Not to forget still 35-40% of people are to come in TV viewership.
What are the factors that will contribute the most to this genre’s growth? Way forward for the channel
For us, consumers remain in the centre of everything that we do. In the process, of course, we aim to offer all-inclusive content which will be deeply rooted with Bengali culture and resonate with our viewers.