Zee TV rejigs show strategy; adds comedy

The channel is focusing on creating a larger bank of episodes.

MUMBAI: After a hiatus of nearly three months, television shows finally went on the floors in Mumbai and new episodes started airing from 13 July. GECs are leaving no stones unturned to create the buzz in the market and gain back their viewer interest.

Zee Entertainment has announced its content comeback via a partnership with its brand partners. Zee collaborated with leading brands - Nestle Maggi, Amul Lassi, PepsiCo, Red Label, Cadbury Dairy Milk, ITC Dark Fantasy to gear up the nation for 13 July, the date of its daily content comeback on Zee TV. ZEEL chief consumer officer Prathyusha Agarwal says that the idea of the teaser was not to mention Zee. According to her the campaign wouldn’t have gone viral if a brand would have mentioned the name of the channel. The idea was to get multiplier reach and audience through a teaser-cum-reveal campaign.

Agarwal notes that TV consumption has increased by 35 per cent and the channel did a predictive analysis with Nielsen to identify where it is going to settle across genres. The biggest variable that is dictating currently is people sitting at home and people going out for work. It gave the channel a fair idea about the available audience. From being a 'woman as a unit' it changed to 'family as a unit' and brought more people together and this, for her, was the big behavioural change that got established with Covid2019. 

“We had a Zoom call with our viewers as it was important for us to know how our viewers are feeling. It was not just about what they are viewing but also about what kind of content they are missing. Attitudes and behaviours have changed. Earlier, the day consumption chart looked like one big hump during primetime. But with Covid2019, people are spending more time at home. So there is a non-primetime hump and then there is a primetime one. So, there are more audiences to cater," she shares.

Given these changes, ZEEL has reworked on its Fixed Point Chart (FPC) strategy to understand how it will handle primetime and non-primetime viewers. "Shifts between genres have happened and supply dictated the demand. With fresh content coming in, the channel is looking at all the genres especially comedy. The channel is trying to introduce the element of comedy in shows through characters and changes in script,” she adds.

Apart from that, she highlights that there will be no change in programming order. The channel is focusing on creating a larger bank of episodes if there are any stop starts. There is also no change in the inventory choices, it is tailor-made as per the brand.

While talking about advertisers' response to the new normal, she says, “In the month of April, everyone was wondering what to do next; we didn’t have advertisers. They were also not able to meet the demand on ground. But July is looking very promising. Fill rates are completely back to normal. As the demand has increased significantly in July, I believe advertisers are also keen to meet the demand.”

The Media Ant co-founder Samir Chaudhary thinks that there will be more advertisements in the non-primetime slot now. Because of the non-travelled behaviour, viewership patterns will remain the same, but the timing will be scattered.

He adds that inventories will remain the same but more slots will be filled. He says, “Many FMCG brands are eager to advertise as IPL and other events did not happen. But they will be looking more at news channels than GECs because in the past few months the reach has predominantly come from news. However, they will be looking at other segments to advertise.”

Agarwal further explains that there are different kinds of market. One is where people are not able to use a certain product or they are careful about its usage and for those customers it is critical for brands to create demand. In this situation they are finding ways to trigger demand. The  biggest and active advertisers are FMCG and CPG because people are consuming it a lot more than any other category.

She adds, “There are decades where nothing happens and then there are weeks where decades happens. In these categories you have brand loyalty that will never change. But during Covid2019 for e.g., you have ten consumption occasions. Consumers were forced to sample other brands and other product options. Hence, it became critical for brands to get back the share. If there is great product and good pricing, consumers are likely to go back. In our business consumers belong to the overdrive consumption category. It is important to get an early mover advantage to gain share.”

Chaudhary shares that advertising rates will come down by 30-40 per cent and channels will have to incentivise the rates for advertisers to come on board. He adds that as user sentiment has changed, people are buying fewer products so advertisers will get less profit.

He also notes that most of the brands will go with their core messaging but they might twist their ideas to incorporate pandemic in it. Brands are choosing digital mediums for long ad formats but 30-second or short-form advertisements will continue on television. 

For Zee TV, out-of-home medium acted as an announcer media, after which campaigns were released on other digital mediums. Agarwal believes that social media has a good number of audiences and platforms like WhatsApp or Telegram can make things viral quicker than word of mouth. The channel adopts a twin strategy for most of its content.

Zee TV’s singing reality show Sa re ga ma also started production last week. The channel is adopting a hybrid production model to ensure safety and security. According to Agarwal, most of the post-production work is happening remotely. This move has helped it to bring content robustly.

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