Our aim is to keep users engaged on Disney+ Hotstar even after IPL: Sidharth Shakdher

Disney+ Hotstar EVP and Chief Marketing Officer Sidharth Shakdher discusses 'Entertainment Ka All-Rounder' campaign and the platform's plans to drive content sampling through IPL

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Updated: Apr 9, 2021 4:05 PM
Sidharth Shakdher

Disney+ Hotstar has launched a new campaign titled ‘Entertainment Ka All-Rounder’. Conceptualised by DDBMudra Group, the objective of the campaign is to highlight Disney+ Hotstar's upcoming entertainment slate, which will launch during IPL, rather than focus just on IPL. The idea is to entice customers to spend more time on the platform and sample a diverse set of content. The platform has launched brand films featuring actors Ajay Devgn and Tamannaah Bhatia.

Disney+ Hotstar EVP and Chief Marketing Officer Sidharth Shakdher spoke to exchange4media about the objective of the campaign and how the platform intends to drive content sampling through IPL.

Excerpts:

What is the objective of the campaign 'Entertainment Ka All-Rounder'?

IPL stands not just for great cricketing action but also for entertainment. Disney+ Hotstar is also a single destination for IPL/live sports plus other forms of entertainment like shows and movies. The hypothesis is that consumers would love to have sports and entertainment content at one place. To back up that claim we are launching a host of new shows and movies along with IPL this year. Some of the titles include Abhishek Bachchan-starrer The Big Bull, Out of Love 2, Ok Computer, Aarya 2, Special Ops 1.5, November Story (Tamil) in addition to Disney+ Originals like The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and Loki among others.

One of our objectives is to retain users who come for IPL to keep consuming content on the platform even after the tournament is over. We want to move users from a transactional relationship to a more emotional relationship. We want to have a deeper connect with consumers where it is not just about one odd property. While that one property is core to everything it is also about the feeling that your needs are being met in their entirety and you form a deeper connect with the platform where you feel that even if you give five minutes of time outside IPL it's going to be worth it.

The larger objective is that the consumers should establish a deeper connect with the platform. We create a funnel of people who transact on the back of IPL then we establish deeper connect with a lot of them.

What kind of consumption growth do you see post IPL on the platform?

In every IPL we have been able to increase the baseline consumption after the tournament has concluded. We have always been able to establish a deeper connect and a little more loyal viewership. However, this year we are targeting for an even higher number. In 2018 and 2019, the larger focus was on the freemium audience. This year there is as much focus on the subscription audience as on the freemium audience. The entertainment line-up that we are going ahead with is bigger and better than ever.

Is this campaign targeted towards specific markets?

Our marketing campaign will focus on Top 50 cities of India which covers most of the urban population but in addition to that, we are also looking at rurban audiences. Consumers in rurban pockets live in rural settings but their behaviour is very urban. We are targeting that audience through a digital marketing plan that relies a lot on geographic targeting. We are looking to get incremental rurban audiences on top of the top 50 cities that we are targeting. That's our audience targeting plan.

In terms of media that we use for this campaign. It's a 360-degree campaign and we will use TV and digital in equal measure. While TV gives us national reach the digital platform allows us to strategically target audiences in the Top 50 cities that then go to the rurban part of the population.

In addition to these two, we have a very active social link. We have seen a very strong response to our 'India Ka Vibe Alag Hai' video anthem. So it's eight different artists from eight different cities with each of the city's artists contributing to a soundtrack set by Nucleya. It also gives each city celebratory dance steps specific to their teams and their cities. That social leg is built on giving fans an avenue to express themselves and banter with other fans. Each of these cities has its own vibes but in the end, together they form one Indian vibe and that's what IPL is all about.

What is the duration of the IPL campaign?

The campaign will run throughout IPL. The major part of the campaign will happen in the first 2-3 weeks and the week prior to the IPL. Then the campaign goes heavy 2-3 weeks into the IPL. It then settles in the sustenance phase during the rest of the IPL. Apart from Star channels, we also advertise heavily on channels outside the network. Star gives us relevant reach through platforms like Star Gold. So 50% of our TV advertising plays on Star and the other 50% is outside on other channels like news and movie.

What are your fan engagement initiatives?

The main goal is to allow fans to express themselves on Disney+ Hotstar and off it. It's a difficult time for the country and anything that gives them a little happiness and distraction is welcome. Fans can share emojis and there will be more team-specific emojis. They can chat and comment about the game. This is on the platform. Outside the platform, our major attraction is 'India Ka Vibe Alag Hai'. Behind that, we will announce cutdowns for every city and every team and we want fans to unite behind each of those cutdowns. The idea is to create virtual waves since people are not there in the stadium. There are lots of fan clubs and this gives fan clubs material to play with. Even after the match, there has to be a way to express yourself to each other. It is a very inclusive and interactive social campaign this year as opposed to last year when it was one way. This year, we intend to make it two-way and next year even so.

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