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Quick five with Akash Chawla on Zee’s digital push

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Quick five with Akash Chawla on Zee’s digital push

To make the brand relevant to a larger audience, Zee TV’s marketing campaign for the show ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2012’ will focus largely on the digital platform. Channels today are increasingly focussing on the digital medium owing to its high reach and engagement quotient.

In conversation with exchange4media, Akash Chawla, Marketing Head, National Channels, ZEEL shares his perspective on the effectiveness of the digital medium for consumer connect, the focus area of Zee TV this year and how the television industry should look at the digital platform.

How is digital changing the way channels engage with their target audience?
The digital media is a marketing platform which enables effective engagement with the consumers and the target audience. I do not believe that digital is a network-driven phenomenon since today internet is consumed everywhere – starting from the metros to small towns – and hence has a high reach factor. This provides us with excellent opportunities to engage with our viewers in the internet space as well as through other medium such as computers, iPad, mobile, etc. All these prove how the digital media is instrumental in helping us communicate and engage a much broader audience base.

What percentage of your marketing budget is earmarked for digital? Recently Zee TV launched an extensive digital campaign for ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2012’? Please share details.
With time, there has been a significant evolution of activities on the digital space and how we operate. Our current spends on the digital platform ranges from 11 per cent to 15 per cent, which is a significant number. Earlier there used to be a microsite but today we have full blown campaigns aimed to drive conversations through all digital platforms. The ‘DID’ campaign was an extensive campaign which required a huge amount of work and saw half a million downloads. For ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2012’, we have developed interesting applications such as ‘Call & Sing App’, ‘Hot or Not’ app, etc. Our objective is to start from the number of half a million downloads and build on it in case of ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2012’.

Today music is everywhere – on the internet, smartphones, etc. It makes a lot of sense to use these platforms and connect with the listeners there and hence the launch of such an extensive digital campaign for ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2012’.

Could you highlight on some of the digital campaigns undertaken by the channel? What are Zee TV’s focus areas?

We had launched an extensive campaign for ‘DID’. Apart from that, we had undertaken an elaborate digital campaign for ‘Fear Files’ as well. The channel had earmarked 18 per cent on the digital spends for the same, since we needed to reach a category of audience who are not a part of the viewership of the channel because of the genre. For the promotion of the television premiere of ‘Agneepath’, a special Agneepath game had been designed for Facebook in addition to other activities on YouTube and Google. Zee TV had also created the virtual ‘Ram Mandir’ on its Facebook page for the promotion of ‘Ramayan’. The focus of the channel is on the online media and mobile platform since the last eight months. Our digital agency is Interactive Avenues and creative agency is Mobilox.

How important is the digital platform for a Hindi GE channel?
If a Hindi general entertainment channel claims that it does not consider the digital platform important, then it is living in the past. The world today has moved to computers, laptops, iPads and smartphones. There is a huge consumption of content on such platforms today and this is not limited to a certain segment anymore. Today everyone is on social media as well. Digital media today is one of the most effective medium to converse and connect with the target audience and is hence, is very important for channels today.

What is, in your view, the biggest problem with the way the television industry is looking at digital today?
It is very important to consider the fact that the activities planned for the off-air medium is not directly replicable on the digital medium and therefore, wouldn’t be the best approach to move forward. A static media is very different from an engagement media and hence, the ideas and the thoughts behind the same should also reflect a sense of individuality.

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