Head Digital and Business Operations | 07 Sep 2012
Mobile TV is very interesting. Once connectivity concerns are sorted, the time-spent watching television content on mobile will sure go up. Question is whether mobile/ tablets will become the primary screen. Our belief is it won’t. While for certain genres such as news and sports this consumption could be high, for linear entertainment content mobile/ tablets will remain second screens.
Vivek Srivastav has been with Viacom18 Group for the last four and half years. He has led various verticals such as business planning, content strategy and international business. In his current role, Srivastav is mandated to spearhead the digital initiative for brand Colors. Prior to joining Viacom18 in 2008, he was with TAM Media Research, looking after its broadcast consulting arm ‘S’ Group.
In conversation with exchange4media’s Synjini Nandi, Srivastav speaks about the initiatives of the channel in the digital space, mobile TV as a platform and the way the television industry looks at digital today.
Q. With the advancement of technology and the advent of digital media in a big way, what is the approach that Colors is taking to further extend the digital experience to viewers?
We know that people are using smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc. while watching television, so it’s only logical for broadcasters like us to give them something that allows them to engage with content beyond their television screens. This could be in the online world or video sites, social networks, apps, games, etc. People are talking, blogging, tweeting about content on television. Consumers today are willing, rather eager to engage with their favourite shows and characters. The challenge lies in aggregation of these audiences. And there is no ‘Holy Grail’ solution for this problem. The idea is to catch and engage with them across platforms and devices, and more importantly make the engagement useful for the consumers.
Q. Please elaborate on the initiatives taken on the digital platform by Colors. Apart from social media, what are the other digital platforms that the channel is exploring?
Colors has a two-pronged approach to digital – engagement and value creation. While for most of our shows, specific interactions are engagement-led, we are working with a long-term objective of creating our own destination across web, mobile, apps and OEMs.
For our marquee shows such as ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa’, apart from us buying advertising space on various platforms, we have tried to innovate and connect with our viewers through social networking, apps and games. The ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa’ application, for example, was launched about two months ago and has become an instant hit with audiences. The app allows the viewers to play real-time along with the original telecast of ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa’. Apart from this, one can participate in quizzes about the show, vote for their contestants, watch videos, express views, etc. all through one app. We have also launched a ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa’ game for social gamers and fans. This game is a perfect place to relieve the Jhalak experience in the virtual world.
Q. What percentage of the overall marketing budget is earmarked for digital? What are the focus areas for Colors for this year?
The share of digital spends differ from campaign to campaign based on target audiences and show communication. On the focus areas, currently a lot of consumption of our content has been catch-up to television, so if you have missed a show you can catch it on various digital platforms. The objective is to create a community around the brand Colors and its shows, which ensures that fan engagement is more relevant and meaningful.
Q. Do you think mobile TV as a platform will become popular and important as time progresses?
Mobile TV is very interesting. Once connectivity concerns are sorted, the time-spent watching television content on mobile will sure go up. Question is whether mobile/ tablets will become the primary screen. Our belief is it won’t. While for certain genres like news and sports this consumption could be high, for linear entertainment content mobile/ tablets will remain second screens.
Q. What is, in your view, the biggest problem with the way the television industry is looking at digital today?
Most of broadcasters’ effort on digital today is limited to creating marketing buzz, especially during show launches. Television communicates to our viewers every day; digital platforms have to do the same, only deeper since there is a two-way connection to this relationship. There is a need to invest in aggregating audiences on digital platforms and communities, the numbers are small today but growing very rapidly.