#SiwaySRK: Shah Rukh Khan's FOMO says a lot about changing content consumption habits

The marketing world gives a big thumbs up to Shah Rukh's teaser campaign for Disney+ Hotstar, which possibly hints at him joining his contemporaries to make a big release on the OTT platform

e4m by Mansi Sharma
Updated: Sep 15, 2021 11:06 AM
shah rukh khan

Disney+ Hotstar hosts a robust national and international content library and the biggest of the stars to back these movies and shows. But there is just one thing missing -- Shah Rukh Khan, one of the most popular and successful Indian actors and producers. And this has got even the ‘King of Bollywood’ feeling some major FOMO as shown in the platform’s #SiwaySRK campaign, which went viral over the weekend. People are endlessly praising the actor for taking a joke on himself and also the creators -- The Early Man Films and All Things Small -- for the engaging narrative. 

However, apart from being an interesting creative effort the ad also tells a lot about the changing media consumption patterns in India.

The FOMO Is Real 

While market penetration and getting subscribers was initially a struggle for the OTT platforms in India, when they started off in early 2010s, the past few years have seen a great acceleration in their popularity. Internet penetration, the creativity which these platforms offered, etc all lured the audience, especially the younger lot to them. Then the pandemic pushed forward this growth to unparalleled levels. As per reports, Indians spent 8.43 hours consuming videos on these platforms in 2020, and the market size of the industry reached an estimated $1.7 billion. The streaming market is expected to reach 15 billion dollars by 2030 (RBSA Advisor’s report). And this has obviously enchanted the biggest of the producers, directors, and actors too. That’s the reality which the #SiwaySRK campaign highlights. 

DigiChefs Co-founder Deep Mehta quips, “Let's face it, there are several households in our country today, who are shifting to OTT's and may not even have a subscription for the traditional cable network or DTH. I have a strong feeling that Social Channels, which continues to be the major source of finding new content on OTTs, might themselves have lower daily active hours from their users, thanks to the wonderful content now OTTs are streaming. It is inevitable that big stars will need to participate in content meant for OTTs.”

Grapes Digital National Business Head Rajeesh Rajagopalan further notes that stars will have to be present where the audience is to stay relevant. “OTT platforms have witnessed exponential growth during the lockdown, as multiplexes were closed for consecutive months. This created an opportunity for the OTT players. In the initial months, many big stars waited for movie halls to open, but looking at covid restrictions the audience hasn’t witnessed a lot of films in multiplexes. Media consumption has changed not by design but by circumstance. So eventually all your Bollywood stars would turn to content that is being showcased on OTT platforms. The audience makes the star, the stars will go where the audience will watch them.” 

The Shutter Cast founder Amol Roy adds, “We can see most of the actors have already joined platforms such as Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc. only listed A actors such as Shahrukh Khan are away from it. In my perspective they have to join the OTT platforms to be relevant for the digital world because it provides international recognition. I also believe that our millennial and Gen Z are more comfortable watching movies on the couch with their comfy suits."

Brand SRK Is Realigning Too 

Shah Rukh is one of the most successful and popular names from the Indian film industry, also touted as the “King of Bollywood.” And that reflects well in his brand value to this day. He was the fourth-biggest star when it came to brand value in 2020, which stood at USD 5.1 million. His popularity has stood the test of time and that’s why he is also the face of this campaign for Disney+Hotstar as well. 

Rajagopalan notes, “Bollywood stars like SRK and Aamir Khan are massive brands in themselves, they don’t need to wait for their films to release for relevance. SRK hasn’t had a film released for a couple of years now but still has a lot of brand deals, Byjus, Hyundai, etc.  Aamir Khan hasn’t done a film in at least 4- 5 years but still has massive endorsement deals, look at the recent Phonepe campaign. The brand value of SRK is not just tied to the release of his films, considering he is also active in IPL and other sports entities.” 

Logicserve Digital Sr. VP - Creative, Social, PR, Marcom Manesh Swamy says, “We all know how good of a marketer SRK is. The spot says, 'to be continued', so I’m sure the KING will make a grand entry. Also, I feel SRK is a different kind of talent; he constantly evolves and makes him relevant for the audience. So, I will not be surprised to see films or series backed by SRK on Disney plus.” 

However, it is yet to be seen if SRK’s popularity will stand on digital platforms as well, where the audience is dominantly GenZ and their idea of Shah Rukh might not be as big as the generations preceding. 

Dinesh Swamy, Chief Creative Officer, BC Web Wise also makes a similar point, “It can be argued that his competitors have done some work like Sadak, Laxxmi, The Big Bull & Bhuj that delivered limited success and it remains to be seen whether SRK’s popularity can stand the rigorous test of quality that the digital audience demands. Knowing SRK’s brand value - despite age and other elements, this move by Disney+Hotstar is a clear indication that he remains to be an ace up their sleeves.” 

The Campaign Resonates 

All said about the context of the campaign and how mainstream content is comfortably going digital now, the industry is quite positive about the #SiwaySRK campaign, lauding it for its creativity. 

Manesh Swamy calls the idea fresh and appealing, “Very few actors can pull a joke on themselves, and SRK aces this kind of humour. The script nicely explains the future offerings by the platform DisneyPlus. SRK trying to hide his FOMO feels kind of worked for me.” 

Tiger Advertising Partner Pantul Kothari says, “The idea is smart, as it promotes more than a TV show, it promotes the platform as a whole. Subtly incorporating the celebrity. Building curiosity with a simple, straight and smart message is sure to work for the brand. In one word, this is how to communicate - straightforward, clear, and simple, yet smart and tactical, and creating intrigue and traction in a strategic manner.” 

Dinesh Swamy is also all praises for the campaign as he says, “#SiwaySRK is a great teaser campaign, in the sense, it leaves audiences curious to know what’s cooking between SRK and Disney+ Hotstar. The message is very clear in his inimitable Badshah Style, smartly leveraging SRK’s well-known sense of humour, quirk and his embracing of FOMO. The fact that it ends without revealing or even narrowing down ‘what’s in store for audiences’ works very well for the campaign.” 

Deep Mehta adds, “A popular superstar feeling what the aam aadmi feels so often (FOMO), that's quite fun! I really enjoyed the campaign, a very crisp video, on point, and does the job of creating curiosity amongst viewers. While it's not clear if there's an upcoming SRK film on Hotstar or was it just a brand campaign for Hotstar, raising these questions is exactly what Hotstar & Team ATD would have wanted. Kudos to them; it worked!”

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