With TV & OTT together, overall content viewership has increased: Anurag Kumar, Tata Sky

Anurag Kumar, Chief Communications Officer, Tata Sky shares insights on the brand's latest campaign, competition with OTT, communication strategies and more

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Updated: Oct 16, 2020 3:35 PM
anurag kumar

Amidst COVID-related upheavals, the planned marketing initiatives of brands have been suddenly becoming redundant. Marketers are forced to re-evaluate plans and gather fresh customer & market insights to come up with a dynamic marketing plan to keep the brand relevant in the ‘new normal’. In keeping with this sentiment, Tata Sky has undertaken several initiatives, which benefit consumers and highlight the relevance of their product & services.

Keeping customer interests at the forefront, Tata Sky has come up with a new ATL campaign of their Smart set-top Box – Tata Sky Binge+. The campaign talks about the reduced price of the set-top box and access to premium OTT content on television.

exchange4media caught up with Anurag Kumar, Chief Communications Officer, Tata Sky for more insights on their latest campaign, competition with OTT, communication strategies during these uncertain times, growth in the sector and more.

Kick-starting the conversation, Kumar spoke about the past six months the brand spent coping with uncertain times. He said, “The past few months were full of ups and downs, and uncertainties. Unlike other sectors, the impact on the DTH sector was less as people consumed content on television while being at home. We had reasonable stability as compared to other sectors, giving credit to the lockdown and Work from Home scenario.”

Talking about the latest ATL campaign, he informed, “Keeping customer interests at the forefront, Tata Sky has further fine-tuned the pricing of its Android TV-powered Smart Set-top-box – Tata Sky Binge+. Converging the strengths of DTH and the world of OTT content on the television screens, this new age device will now be available at a competitive price of Rs 2,999 for new subscribers and Rs 2,499 for existing subscribers opting for an upgrade or a secondary Multi TV connection”.

“Tata Sky Binge+ set-top box comes with 6-month access at no extra cost to premium content from eight OTT apps as part of the Tata Sky Binge subscription, including Disney+ Hotstar Premium, ZEE5, VOOT Select, VOOT Kids, SunNxt, Hungama Play, Eros Now and ShemarooMe. Additionally, 3-months of Amazon Prime subscription is also provided at no extra cost.”

When asked about the TG and inspiration behind the campaign, Kumar remarked, “Anyone who is content curious would like to have their hands on the product.”

“Content consumption is witnessing trends where people want to consume linear TV as well as OTT content on one integrated platform. Tata Sky Binge+ is powered by Android TV, supports Google Assistant-based voice search, offers Google Play Store access, and offers 6-months subscription to some of the most-viewed premium OTT apps at no extra cost, making it an ideal destination for content viewing."

The brand believes to have seen a positive uptake in subscriptions in the past few months. “With the festive season around the corner, we have decided to further delight the customer by offering the Tata Sky Binge+ Smart set-top box connection and apps bundle at a really exciting price point, “commented Kumar.

With no fresh content on television during the initial days of lockdown, broadcasters resorted to telecasting popular old shows to maintain the stickiness of its consumer base. Tata Sky too walked on the same path, which helped it witness a 40% growth in the viewership base in the months of April-May. But, it suffered a subsequent decline in viewership in the June-July period. The viewership was back to levels higher than pre-Covid times from Mid- July.

Putting the spotlight on the competition between Television and OTT, Kumar said, “With no fresh content available on television, people did move to OTT for content but did not completely forget about television. With the telecast of popular old daily soaps, television provided with an opportunity for good family time together, which also helped in the spike witnessed in the viewership base. Both the formats,i.e., OTT and TV will co-exist together. People have optimized themselves with the changing pattern of subscriptions.”

“With the IPL back in action this year, sports viewership went an all-time high with 20% increase in the Tata Sky subscriptions”, added Kumar.

Talking about communication strategies undertaken by the brand in these tough times to stay relevant to the customers, Kumar said, “With an objective to ensure that all subscribers have access to uninterrupted entertainment round the clock while staying at home during the nation-wide lockdown period, Tata Sky had announced emergency credit facility for subscribers who have been unable to recharge their account due to various reasons, inability to find a dealer to do it for them is one of them. The step has been taken largely to ease out the lives of the non-tech savvy viewers who constitute a considerable size of the subscriber base.”

“In addition to this, 10 of Tata Sky’s interactive content services were made free to encourage the consumers to remain fruitfully engaged, learn and do something new in the safety of their homes during this period of public health scare.”

Adding about another initiative, he said, “To commemorate the 14th-anniversary milestone, Tata Sky in collaboration with Chimp&z Inc, created a nostalgic #14YearsOfJingalaladigital campaign honouring the allegiance of 14 of its patrons who have been the earliest customers of Tata Sky. The outreach involved touching base with some of the loyal customers spread across the country and requesting them to share their thoughts on being associated with the brand for more than a decade. Their unscripted anecdotes and memories thus advocated the evolution of the brand over the last 14 years and were woven into a nostalgic video that enunciated trust and quality. The campaign was further amplified with celebrity influencers congratulating Tata Sky for a successful and formidable journey.”

Talking about outlook on the festive advertising and marketing communications, Kumar responded, “With Television still remaining the biggest channel of advertising and marketing content, this year will also observe a digital acceleration in advertising and marketing campaigns. We will continue to advertise big on television and digital.”

On expectations from the festive season, he said, “IPL has taken all the viewership in the current scenario. The levels are surprisingly higher than the pre-Covid levels. We expect more viewership in the festive season as people are still at home and primetime shows like Bigg Boss and IPL have taken the onus already”.

However, with GEC active again, Tata Sky aims at getting more subscriptions. Along with digital channel presence, the brand expects strong market visibility which can be provided in the festive season by the sale of electronic products.

Concluding the conversation, Kumar informed about new collaborations and future plans of Tata Sky. He said, “ Tata Sky Binge+ has tied up with India Film Project (IFP) to support the content creators of the country”.

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