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Guest Column: 5 stamps of approval viewers gave to quality content in 2017

28-December-2017
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Guest Column: 5 stamps of approval viewers gave to quality content in 2017

The year 2017 for the television industry was an illustrious one as it witnessed tremendous changes in content consumption patterns through the choices its audiences consciously made. It saw our viewers push the industry further into creating content that was relevant, path-breaking and differentiated to cater to their viewing needs while rejecting the formulaic. With this demand shift, Television rose to the occasion, evolving itself and making way for new stories, new talent as well as innovative technology. For us at ZEE, 2017 was a year of innovation – a year of celebrating milestones and an opportunity to see how we could really change the game for the next generation of our viewers.

Here are some of the few viewer trends that I think, set the pace for change and innovation in 2017
1. Tangible Technology Impact – The HD Experience fuelling Quality Content Consumption
Television in India has constantly been growing over the years with 2017 witnessing an increase of around 8%. Despite an increase of just 41% in the number of HD channels, content consumption in HD mode increased by almost 169% from last year. The supply of differentiated and premium content has matched the demand to view quality content on the HD platform which is evident in the way viewers lapped it up. The quick rise to leadership of & Prive has been a proof of this trend for us at ZEE and driving further strategy to service this segment.

2. Connected in our differences – Dubbed Content changing the rules of the game
2017 was the year of Bahubali. A south Indian film, dubbed in multiple languages that took the world by storm. While Bahubali raked in the moolah, there has been an impressive surge for popular South Indian films dubbed in Hindi getting a lot of preference. In the Hindi movie category, apart from Bollywood, movies from other regions of the country when dubbed in Hindi have performed very well among the viewers, indicating that the craving for good content surpasses the language barriers. This trend is also evident in GEC content that travels across regions in the ZEE bouquet and has topped charts in each market.

3. My Language, My Rules – Content in Regional Languages changing the viewership game
While at one end the dubbed content consumption is on the rise, on the other hand regional languages content is ruling the roost in the markets. As compared to the Hindi GEC segment, content in regional languages is far more rooted and relatable for viewers. Differentiated and mass based content worked well as 2017 witnessed an increase in the PUTs (persons-using-television) of the genre encouraging fresh talent to enter the market. In the Southern market, viewers have been very receptive to large scale non-fiction shows launched in their own languages. This created awareness for content creators like us to explore and experiment with new ideas, new stories and genres of entertainment - give our viewers a completely new experience.

4. Opening Horizons – Quest for Diverse Content
Indian millennials are taking the world by storm – in every aspect possible. They are hyper aware of the world beyond their front yard, culturally curious and have a thirst for content that not only allows them to escape into an aspirational world but helps them become more conversant about a world that is inching towards them. With approximately 220 million viewers (metros and non-metros) consuming English content in India, ZEE has forayed into the space of exploring new territories and has gone beyond the traditional bastions of English content for viewers on television. Launch of properties like BBC First on Zee Café which go beyond the staple fare, witnessed a remarkable increase in slot viewership while the channel’s overall reach grew by manifolds demonstrating the insatiate demand for diverse content.

5. Democratized Data Demands Customized Content Delivery
Easy Availability and accessibility of the data hose pipe this year has rapidly escalated transition to content on the smaller screen. Not only is idle and wait time now filled with viewers catching shows and movies on the go but also actively seeking and discovering their favourite content on the second screen. It has also increased the voice of the audience and ability to share or comment on what is working or not working for them. This helps channels to be more vigil than ever before to foresee an emerging trend and tailor make their content offerings accordingly and build a conversation and relationship with an increasingly vocal audience

To summarise, 2017 ushered in a new era of creativity driven by strong viewer choice and voice through multiple platforms and unique story telling that connected across regions. We’ve achieved a lot as an industry and there is still a long way to go, but it’s a challenge that I’m sure many of our peers, industry colleagues will take on with full zest and deliver a visually spectacular 2018.

(Source: BARC, Average Weekly Coverage in ’000s, TG: Universe India, Period: Wk 1’16- 47’17)
(Source: BARC Report on – Understanding the HD viewership landscape, Newsletter 2017, Issue 5)

1. Content marketing as an evolution of engagement-driven ad strategies: As marketers, we have been talking about engaging consumers, rather than interrupting them, for a long time. Channel fragmentation, and increased competition for attention, has made this more important than ever, particularly when targeting young consumers.
2. The Jio effect: Democratisation of data has rapidly escalated transition to content on the smaller screen. People have become used to viewing shows, movies and general content on the move. It has also increased the voice of the audience and ability to share or comment on what is working or not working for them – M&E’s will need to become more agile and responsive to cater to a more vocal society.
3. Purpose led advertising: More brands are looking to not just advocate product efficiency but support their users through progressive commentary. This is pushing new dialogue amongst the masses and creating new equations of brand loyalty.
4. Search for diverse content: The youth and millennials of today are hyper aware of the world beyond their front yard. They are looking for diverse content that not only allows them to escape into an aspirational world but helps them become more conversant about a world that is inching towards them. They don’t just want to dream they want to debate, understand and create their own version of what others are experiencing.
5. In 2018, we will hear a lot more on voice strategy. It’s the new kid on the block - Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri. The combination of voice interfaces and artificial intelligence will be a powerful new frontier for brands.
(Prathyusha Agarwal, is the CMO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com.

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