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We want high-quality OTT content available, accessible, and affordable to consumers: Tata Play chief communications officer Anurag Kumar

Kumar believes consumers are in dire need of quality content at a cheaper price.

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Mumbai: Tata Play's (formerly known as Tata Sky) over-the-top (OTT) platform, Tata Play Binge, has enabled 17 streaming apps in addition to gaming under one roof. "It is not an easy task to create effective communication with consumers, especially when the brand is as big as Tata," shares Tata Play chief communications officer Anurag Kumar in an exclusive conversation with Indiantelevision.com, while making sure that the newly launched OTT aggregator reaches more people and that they have access to quality content at a cheaper price.

With its campaign "Bachcha Bachcha Janta Hai," Tata Play hopes to bring the expansion to all of its smartphone users without the need for a DTH subscription.

Currently having 17 OTT platforms, including Disney+Hotstar, Eros Now, MX Player, Voot Select, and Zee5, in its app, Tata Play Binge targets to increase the number to 25 by the end of the current fiscal year.

Kumar also discussed the campaign, strategy, rebranding, Tata's legacy, and technological disruption for Tata Play Binge.

Edited Excerpts

On the campaign

When we first launched the campaign, I believe one of the most important insights we had was that while consumers often knew the names of the shows they wanted to watch, they didn't always remember the platform on which they could watch them.

We gained the advantage of seeing that any show you could think of should be available on Binge by aggregating content from all of our partner apps in one place.

With its tagline, "Baccha Baccha Jaanta Hai," Tata Play Binge wanted to convey the ease of accessing any type of content. This marks the beginning of the campaign.

So far, we've received a positive response, with over 1.5 million views and over one lakh likes on Instagram.

On the strategy

Every time a campaign is created, the initial step is to determine what unique problem remains to solve. This will provide an exact focal point to follow throughout the campaign.

Creating communication is an art, and to overcome the difficulties, creative people are needed to do it well.

To sketch the perfect strategy, it is important to be clear about the target audience. How do I reach them? Where are they available? Are they available on television? What role does digital play as it grows in importance? What kind of incremental reach does each medium add to reach more people? And how much engagement can be generated through social media platforms?

On customer response for Tata Play Binge

I believe we have reached nearly a million Tata Binge customers already, primarily through DTH but also through non-DTH sources.

We are very excited about the opportunity that we are providing to consumers. The first step is to discover the content. Second, it should also be accessible for download on smartphones and can be watched on another screen. As a result, accessibility was a critical factor, and finally, it should be affordable, which is why the Rs 59 pack is the cheapest for the consumer.

The overall concept is to have paid OTT with high-quality content that is available, accessible, and affordable. We have a very strong proposition to offer, and the campaign is gaining acceptance and popularity.

On the rebranding

One of the things that helped us when we rebranded from Tata Sky to Tata Play was the brand name, given how well-known and reputable Tata is in India.

Consequently, that stayed as one significant contributing aspect due to its enormous brand. However, the primary roles are still present, and Sky to Play is altering. Before completely switching to a new game, the brand name made our task a little easier.

Having said that, I believe that was the startup guide. We concentrated on raising as much awareness as possible because we wanted to send the message that we had rebranded and did not want any confusion.

We went through the entire process of creating something extremely dense. We had not one, but three to fourteen commercials saying the same thing: Tata Sky has become Tata Play.

On the Tata brand

By far the most valuable brand in the country is Tata. Because quality represents trust, when you mention the Tata name, there is something we must live up to—something that cannot be denied, something you cannot fall short of.

It puts pressure on other companies as people have expectations and we have to fulfil that, there is a positive side too as the brand has a legacy.

On technological disruption

Binge is a product of tomorrow. Today, a higher percentage of web consumption occurs on smartphones. Problems people face while watching, like content buffering, will vanish as soon as they switch from 4G to 5G networks on their phones. Tomorrow, they'll have much faster speeds.

It's actually a boon to the product. It will increase online video consumption in the country; we already have nearly 415 million viewers who watch online videos, which includes all free content such as YouTube and everything else, social media and whatnot. However, the number of people who pay for OTT, or paid subscribers, is a very small percentage, estimated to be around 60 million.

We believe Tata Binge will actually help to accelerate paid online consumption by people who are currently watching free content but want quality content at a low cost because of our accessibility, availability, and affordability. They will pay for OTT because paid OTT will grow and really help people access the quality content that is typically only available in paid form.

On new trends

We anticipate that more players will attempt to launch OTT aggregation services. Customers will realise that this is a very convenient way for them to access OTT. We also believe that more content partners will create apps that will become part of the OTT aggregator. We have a few apps lined up for collaboration in the coming days. Both of these trends will accelerate, and I believe they will be very beneficial to consumers. I am pleased that people now have access to a wider range of content in more convenient formats.

On the copyright

The content policy must be adhered to. Tata Play follows the same policies regardless of who owns the content. We strictly follow the rules and don't process anything that is not allowed.

The primary goal of making a product like Tata Binge easy to access and use, as well as affordable, is that when more companies/aggregators like us enter the picture, it will reduce issues like copyright violations and plagiarism. People who watch illegal videos will be able to afford high-quality content at a low cost, lowering the overall cost.

On the opportunities

Our primary focus will remain on transitioning consumers from cable and free-to-air to Tata Play because the experience we provide is far superior.

For Tata Binge, our primary focus will be on consumers who watch free online videos and will assist them in transitioning to paid content consumption due to the high-quality content available through a unified interface.

On the gaming

Today, we have not only 17 apps but also games. We collaborate with players in the gaming industry, giving our database customers another reason to visit Binge and engage with it. We believe that gaming is a fascinating opportunity.

On coexistence of TV and OTT

Both will coexist, in my opinion, according to industry partners. I strongly believe that, and I believe that many of these are valid reasons. The nature and type of content available on television are the most important considerations. Then there's the fact that the types of content available on OTT aren't the same. They are, in fact, complementary.

The majority of television viewing is done on a large television screen. Whereas in India, approximately 95 per cent of OTT viewing occurs on mobile devices. So, rather than competing, they are, I believe, complementing each other in many ways.

Over time, there will be some changes. However, I believe that, in the long run, despite what you may have heard about TV dying talk in developed markets such as the United States, nothing of the sort has occurred. Consequently, it is also improbable that it will occur in India any time soon.

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