It has been a while since Hindi general entertainment channels (GECs) hopped on to the social media bandwagon, and as the experience in the domain is increasing, the marketing activities are becoming more interesting. While many shows by now have fan groups on social media platforms such as Orkut and Facebook, the next step that these marketers have taken is to build Facebook applications to engage the audiences further.
Some of the earlier initiatives seen were from channels like Star Plus. Its show ‘Sach ka Saamna’ found its way to make a fan base on Facebook with a viral called ‘Virtual Lie Detector’ that was put up as a game. The user had to go to the game and choose one of his friends. The user then needed to fill in five personal questions on the friend and the answers were emailed to the friend telling him about an amazing virtual lie detector. The friend was then asked to place his palm on the one section of the screen and asked the same questions, which were selected and answered. At the end of the session he got to know that this was an online prank and that his answers would be sent to his friend.
Anupam Vausdev, EVP, Marketing, STAR India, explained that media was a high consumption item, and was always a constant topic of discussion. Facebook is a good platform to engage the users. He noted, “Marketers do not have to spend a lot to engage their users on Facebook, and hence, it is a good support medium to advertise on if the show targets the youth.”
Similarly, NDTV Imagine had also ventured into this space by creating an application for their reality show ‘Pati, Patni aur Woh’, where users are supposed to adopt a baby and take care of the baby, feed the baby on time and so on. There is a happiness quotient on the bottom of the screen, which in turn helps the user to get points. The user with the highest points would then get a gift.
Nikhil Madhok, Vice President, Marketing, Communication and Brand Management, NDTV Imagine, shared some details about the consumers of this media. He said, “After we moved to the international markets, we have a large chunk of the user base from those markets and that segment of users has witnessed growth in the past couple of years, as Facebook provided an opportunity to have a one-on-one engagement.”
One of the most recent initiatives seen in that direction is Zee Television’s ‘Lux Dance India Dance’. After revamping the programming schedule of the show, the show has launched two new Facebook applications. The first application is the ‘Lux Dance India Dance Quiz’, where the user is asked a host of questions that would help Grandmaster Mithun da get a glimpse of one’s dancing style and compare it to a celebrity. The second application is a tag-your-friends photo application, where a user can tag his or her friends based on their style of dance.
Akash Chawla, Head - Marketing, Zee TV, said that while the channel’s various shows already had a presence on various social networking websites, this was the first attempt to do something different using social media. The channel also plans to use Twitter to promote the show. ‘Lux Dance India Dance’ already has a dedicated YouTube channel where videos are added regularly.
Similarly, Sony Entertainment Television had released a Facebook application for its reality dance show, ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa - Season 3’ and lately for ‘Dance Premier League (DPL)’. The central thought behind the application called ‘Aaj Kya New Kiya’, launched for ‘Jhalak Dikhla Jaa’, was that everyone wanted to try something new in life just like the celebrities, and through the application, users could upload details about new things that they have tried in the past.
For DPL, the central theme of the applications was regional pride. The application called ‘DPL Scoreboard’ let the user chose their team and do various things on Facebook such as take quizzes. The user accumulated points by doing such activities and every week the most active members of each team got rewarded with the respective team’s jerseys.
Danish Khan, Head - Marketing, Sony Entertainment Television, elaborated further on the changes that the medium has seen in the past two years. He said, “In the past two years, the relevance of Facebook has increased and so has the user base. Users now spend more time online than they used to earlier. Also, the applications are now more interactive so that there is more engagement.”
Another reason for the growth is that the international markets have a high percentage of Internet penetration as opposed to a place like India. While the traditional mass media is still the preferred choice of marketers to reach out to the older audience, the choice of the younger audience is constantly changing and all marketers are trying to grab their share of this pie.