Television

Ormax Media changes gear; talks expansion

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Five years is not a long time to learn the ropes of a business. But media insights firm, Ormax Media seems to have not just learnt the tricks of the trade but is also branching out well. Just a little over five years, the company already boasts of a clientele including big names in the film and television industry. The agency has witnessed continuous growth of 30 to 40 per cent year-on-year with annual turnover having grown three-fold in the last three years.

Now, the company is busy reaching out to more markets with its different tools. It is also doing a lot of research work for the Marathi and Bengali film industry and soon wants to expand its operations to the South, Gujarati and other regional markets.

Also, while till now the company has mostly been catering to the big film studios, it now plans to work with smaller producers who aren’t a part of the studios. Also on the anvil are many new products - one of its ambitious products is a “Promo Testing Tool” that will help test the promos of films and TV shows within a short span of two-three days.

With Cinematix, one of the most popular tools for the film industry in its basket, it plans to expand to more markets by this weekend. It started by tapping six different markets, moved to 19 and now plans to spread to 29.

Apart from general entertainment channels (GECs), kids and infotainment channels too are now coming on board. Recently, Ormax started working with National Geographic Channel, AXN, and has also entered the regional market.

Colors' carries out extensive research along with Ormax to study the market. A still from 'Balika Vadhu'

The best part is that almost the entire industry is admiring the organisation for its work. Recently, with its research, Ormax helped NGC understand the equity of the brand NGC and dive deeper into analysing interesting insights about the channel’s loyalists and what kind of variety seekers is it reaching out to. “With this research findings, we are well-armed while aligning the strategy and focusing on the target markets for the channel,” says National Geographic Channel VP, marketing Debarpita Banerjee, who thinks the company is target-oriented as far as achieving the objectives of the research study is concerned.

Ormax Media has seen a meteoric rise under the leadership of CEO Shailesh Kapoor, an alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Kolkata.

Always a TV and film fanatic, Kapoor’s heart beats for anything that is related to entertainment. However, that isn’t the reason he started Ormax Media. Growing up in the 90s, Kapoor instinctively knew that the entertainment industry was going to witness a boom with lot of scope for experimentation and thus after nearly 10 years of occupying key positions across functions like content, marketing, sales and strategy in channels such as Filmy, Zoom, Zee Cinema, indya.com and Sony Entertainment Television, Kapoor realised that just like in any other industry, even in media, “Consumers needed to be at the heart of a lot of decisions that a company takes.”

That’s when he joined hands with Vispy Doctor, already into consumer research since a quarter of a century, to start Ormax Media in July 2008. “Doctor’s experience in the consumer sector helped us hugely in growing. He is still one of the driving forces,” says Kapoor, who also thinks that understanding the client’s perspective has worked in favour of the company.

Arnab Das from Colors says that the research for TV is very different

Over the years, Ormax has developed many different products to study the audience’s mindset. One of its most popular products is Ormax Brand Matrix (OBM), a viewership maximisation tool (VMT) that is used by broadcasters to increase their consumer base by up to 50 per cent. OBM can be used by channels across genres, such as GECs, news, movies, youth, music, infotainment, lifestyle, etc. The project design, such as markets and target audience demographics, is customised to the channel’s requirement.

Colors head strategy and research Arnab Das informs that the channel has very strategically used the “Ormax Brand Matrix” to get a detailed understanding of its brand health. The channel has also used tools like “Showtracks” that is used to make content and communication changes to a running program for improved viewership, “Showbuzz” and “Character India Loves”.

“We have worked with them across most of our major shows, including fiction and non-fiction, including Balika VadhuBigg BossSasural Simar Ka, MadhubalaUttaranKhatron Ke KhiladiAamna Saamna, etc.,” says Das, who is of the view that research in TV space is very different from other categories, purely due to the dynamic nature of the day-to-day business. “It is extremely important for any research agency to understand and work around these limitations - something that Ormax definitely has an edge on over others,” he says.

NGC's Debaprita Banerjee thinks Ormax Media is target-oriented

Even other channels have used its products well. Sony Max senior VP Neeraj Vyas says that they often work with Ormax Media with many different tools. “It’s quite a frequent affair to conduct a research along with them to study the consumer behaviour. The best part is that we get a fairly deep insight in to the consumers’ mind. Once the research on a certain programme is conducted, we model our campaign accordingly. It just doesn’t give us an organised way to go about it, but at times also gives us a reality check,” he says.

After starting out as a TV research firm, Ormax spread it wings in 2010 and expanded to the film industry as well. However, it proved to be trickier terrain considering there was no concept of consumer research for films at all. “But once we started, we realised working on films is easier. Now, 30-35 per cent of our revenue comes from films,” says Kapoor, whose tryst with films started with Yash Raj’s Lafangey ParindeyRa.OneDum Maaro Dum and Khichdi: The Movie, among others.

Interestingly, the Ormax Cinematix tool worked really well for the company with nine studios having subscribed to it. Cinematix tracks a film’s weekly report and measures awareness and interest of audiences to watch it.

Yash Raj Films VP Marketing and Communications Rafiq Gangjee says that Ormax Media is their agency of first choice. “This largely stems from the fact that they are willing to listen and understand the brief. Often this becomes difficult in such a passionate industry,” he says and adds, “The film industry has always believed in ‘gut feels’ and it is nice to see someone factor in that aspect when chatting with us and come back with a grounded approach to the research required.”

Lafangey-Parindey was one of the first films for which Ormax Media conducted a study

Yash Raj recently commissioned an exclusive and extremely pertinent study with Ormax for its film Shuddh Desi Romance aptly titled - Shuddh Desi India ki Romantic Soch. “This was done essentially to figure out the changing face of perceptions, tolerance and acceptance of social and romantic norms we have so far held sacrosanct. We had done this to understand if we needed to approach our marketing somewhat differently since we were going out exclusively to the youth,” says Gangjee.

After being so inclusively involved with its client, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Ormax has close to 40 clients in the film industry and they have tested 275 films in the last three years.

“In the last one month, we have tested the marketing strategy, concept, TG, etc. for nine films. Unlike TV where channels don't talk to each other, the movie industry is very close-knit where word of mouth spreads very fast. We have grwon in the industry through such word of mouth,” says Kapoor.

Besides working with its permanent products, Ormax also conducts research from time to time to test certain aspects of viewers. For instance, a particular research was: ‘And the remote goes to…’ where it studied ‘who controls the remote control in the Indian household’.

Ormax Media recently conducted a research for Yash Raj Films for Shudh Desi Romance

“These tools or products are developed to help the industry in whichever way we can. When we were taking up the study on who controls the remote, we didn’t really get a good response from the industry as most of them thought they knew the answer. But the revelations were surprising as unlike the general perception that youngsters handle the remote, it was women up to 35 years of age who controlled it,” says Kapoor.

Since the company has tested waters in almost all areas in some way or the other, it is hoping that all its expansion plans will work well. “Now, at any stage, we don’t feel handicapped. In the five years of working, we have developed our resources well to take up multiple projects, big projects and go into the areas that were thought to be unreachable till sometime back,” he says.  

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