Radio City & Mid-Day culminated the second edition of the Hitlist OTT Awards on 26th February 2021. The grand finale night virtually felicitated some of the most proficient entertainers from the OTT universe. The month-long activity that was launched mid-January this year, saw India’s favourite OTT content compete with one another to claim the winners’ crown. With an overwhelming response of over 3.20 lakh votes, the first-ever OTT awards by a media conglomerate was surely a hit. The winners were selected basis jury and public voting.
Rising as one of the fastest-growing industry, OTT platforms have been a source of entertainment to the Indian masses, especially during the pandemic-induced lockdown. To celebrate this platform and to honour content creators and artists in this space, Radio City and Mid-Day launched the second season of the Hitlist OTT Awards, post receiving an astounding response in Season 1. The activity commenced on 16th January with the voting lines opened for the public to vote for their favourite artists, web series and movies across 14 categories.
Ashit Kukian, CEO, Radio City talks about the initiative, Virtual events in the new normal and the Focus for 2021 and much more…
The strategy to launchHitlist OTT Awards?
The entertainment industry is witnessing a revolution of sorts especially with the introduction of the OTT platforms. With easy access to the internet and cellular networks, the OTT space has grown rapidly in just a matter of just a few years. At Radio City, we have always been at the forefront in identifying upcoming trends and adopting them to provide relevant content to our audience. Hence, last year we launched Hitlist OTT Awards. The OTT industry has provided a separate avenue for artists and technicians to showcase their work. And in order to recognize their hard work we came up with this property along with Mid-day. We recently culminated the second season with an overwhelming response of over 3.20 lakh votes, an 82 % increase from season 1 which proves that people are appreciating this initiative.
As there has been a surge in covid cases will we see more virtual events at least for the next 6 months?
On-ground activations are an integral part of any radio channel’s offering. By moving everything remote, the pandemic has completely changed the way we organized events. It taught us a new way of planning and executing events which we would not have thought would be possible. Unfortunately, while we are still reeling from the impact of the first wave of Covid-19 infection, we are faced with the second wave. And thus, we do not see virtual events going away anytime soon. We anticipate this trend to go on for beyond 6 months. With the vaccination drive going on in full swing, we expect markets to open up and brands to start with on-ground events keeping in mind the precautions to keep everybody safe. However, it is too soon to give any timeline.
Share some details about the Hitlist OTT Awards and how has the property benefited the channel?
We started the Hitlist OTT Awards property last year to celebrate the phenomenal work curated on the OTT platforms. Radio City has always been at the forefront of creating opportunities and rewarding the hard work of individuals across industries. OTT platforms have been a source of entertainment to the Indian masses, especially during the pandemic-induced lockdown. To celebrate this platform and to honour content creators and artists in this space, we decided to launch the Hitlist OTT Awards along with Mid-Day. This is the first-ever OTT award organized by a media conglomerate. In its pilot season, the property garnered 1.76 lakhs votes across 14 award categories and was promoted extensively on-air and digitally. The second leg of the property was bigger as we amplified our promotion on all social media platforms. We received around 3.20 lakh votes, an 82 % increase from season 1 which clearly acts as a testament to our hard work and showcases the success of the property which has not only been appreciated by the industry but the public at large.
What other initiatives has the channel undertaken recently?
Over the course of 2020, we launched a lot of initiatives, both on-air and digitally. We launched some innovative digital campaigns across all our social media platforms to spread positivity and entertain denizens during the lockdown. Most of our campaigns digitally are in tandem with our on-air communication on radio, which has helped us generate a stupendous 280% growth of our social media reach numbers. Some of our most successful properties include Radio City Bazaar, a campaign inspired by the infamous vocal for local initiative curated by the current government of India. Launched in June last year, the campaign gave small enterprises a platform to promote their business. Through this initiative, Radio City has helped more than 600 brands to talk about their offerings on-air and reach out to a diverse and wider set audience. Another campaign that is close to my heart is City Ki Tech-shaala. Through this campaign, we distributed laptops/tablets to the less privileged students since virtual classes became the new normal owing to the pandemic. With the success of the previous season of City Ki Tech Shaala, we have launched yet another season with renowned journalist Faye D’souza. We also culminated one of our marquee properties, season 4 of Radio City Cine Awards Marathi on March 24th that garnered over 2.8 crore votes. This is another platform where we felicitate the stellar work done by the Marathi film fraternity.
How has your channel recovered from the pandemic?
I am happy to share that we have reached the pre-covid level of volume consumption and have recovered close to 60% of the pre-covid level in terms of revenue. Brands from sectors like retail, auto, real estate, pharmaetc. have been associating with us for their advertising needs. We are satisfied with the speed at which we are recovering and are confident we will fill in the remaining gap soon. We are in conversation with many brands to help them leverage the strength and reach of our medium. Being an easily accessible medium and staying true to its relevance, has made it possible for us to get back to normal. In tier-2 and tier-3 cities, we are already ahead of the recovery process with around 80-85% operating at pre-COVID-19 volumes. Owing to the pandemic, forecasting in these situations is a difficult task as nobody knows what might happen tomorrow.
What will be the focus for 2021?
Our focus for 2021 is to further broaden our reach by amplifying our on-air and digital offerings. We look forward to doing more in the digital space. My team is working relentlessly to come up with innovative campaigns and offerings, both on-air and digitally to provide our advertisers with 360-degree marketing solutions that would help them reach out to a wider set of audience. This year we are also working towards building a strong network of RJ influencers. RJs are the face of the radio channel and it is essential for platforms like us to leverage their online presence to maximize our reach. From an advertising standpoint, leveraging the RJs online presence can help brands in reaching out to more people with their message. Hence, to provide brands with the customized solution we will be strengthening our RJs digital presence.
What has been the advertiser’s response to these events?
We have been lucky to get great sponsors for all our virtual events. Radio City has always been recognized as a brand that has stayed true to its values and relevant to the changing time. Brands associate with us for the creative ideas that we bring to the table. Even though this was a tough year, we are overwhelmed by the response we have received from our advertisers. Be it Radio City Super Singer, Radio City Cine Awards or Radio City and Mid-day Hitlist OTT Awards, brands have reached out to us in abundant to associate with us. This is possible only because of the trust that our listeners and investors have bestowed upon us.