As we head towards 2021, it is critical for us to focus on a more nuanced approach to engage with our stakeholders
Ravish Kumar, Business Head- Regional Entertainment (Kannada and Marathi Clusters), Viacom18
The year 2020 has been a rollercoaster ride. The COVID-19 pandemic led to structural challenges and aided in developing new trends in the M&E sector. The unprecedented situation bestowed a rare opportunity for leaders to rebuild the industry and create a new future in which we all can thrive and grow. The lockdown enabled broadcasters to revisit and use differentiated approaches to keep the audience’s entertained and engaged at all times.
As we head towards 2021, it is critical for us to focus on a more nuanced approach to engage with our stakeholders. Some of the critical focus points for the coming year are as follows.
Family is the new TG
Amidst the pandemic, television cemented its role of bringing families together. The industry witnessed a surge in co-viewing that isn’t just pandemic-driven, but is expected to stay even after the pandemic passes. The lockdown enabled families to watch content together more than they did earlier, leading to richer engaging experiences which led the channels to gradually move from ‘Women-centric’ to ‘Family-centric’ entertainment. Our focus has now changed from ‘me’ to ‘we’. In addition to this, the lockdown phase highlighted senior citizens as a significant target group and led us to focus on them while curating family-oriented content.
Focus on relevance
Communicating the right type of content to the right group of people at the right time has been one of the most crucial learnings that the pandemic has taught us. There has been a significant increase in awareness in regional audiences and therefore presenting content that is relevant and relatable is a focal point for us.
Empowering regional brands
Rural electrification and smartphone penetration have added tremendously to the growing popularity of content in regional languages. The rising availability has led regional content to emerge as a key growth driver for TV viewership, which has further enabled the advertiser to connect consumers with the brand in localized languages. From an advertising perspective, the pandemic has brought regional brands at par with the national ones. With shift in content consumption patterns, media buyers will focus on regional markets thereby empowering regional brands.
Fusion of experience and entertainment
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the consumers’ willingness to experiment with entertainment options. It’s time, we as broadcasters, think about moving beyond just offering entertainment but also embrace experiential content, which is easier to access. The coevolution of entertainment and technology will further help fuel new offerings and entertainment options for consumers.
Often when we think we are at the end of something, we are at the beginning of something else. As quoted by Denis Waitley, “Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next”, if one needs to learn something from 2020, it is that we must be ready to embrace change. As we march towards the New Year, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to shape business strategies throughout the industry making it fundamentally stronger and more relevant in today’s fast changing times.