The new normal in a world where Covid-19 unfortunately is becoming a part of our life will bring about many changes in the way businesses will be conducted, and more importantly the way we live our life. Businesses and brands are now are making their way back into the business; planning their communication plans for a new world post the covid-19 lockdown, keeping a note of some of the new buzz words such as ‘social distancing’, ‘work from home’ and the latest one; ‘atmanirbhar’’.
The most hit industry due to this pandemic are the Event Companies which organise large live events. Medianews4u spoke to Swaroop Banerjee, COO, Zee Live.
As the live original content and IP division of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, Zee Live aims at creating memorable on-ground experiences for audiences across age groups in India. Zee LIVE aims to become the gateway for Indian live entertainment experiences to the world and bring the best of the world to India
Impact of Covid -19
These are truly unprecedented times, and there is no denying that the Live Entertainment Industry is currently suffering immensely because of the pandemic. But as the world is getting used to the new normal, so are we. Technology and a digital-first mindset is of increasing importance.
We, at ZEE Live, expanded our horizons in the digital world during this lockdown by introducing two of our flagship properties Super moon Live to Home and Arth – A Culture fest, thus increasing our viewer base manifold. We upgraded our skill set to use digital assets effectively, delivered superior quality original content during the lockdown and kept our audiences entertained in the safety and comfort of their homes.
Innovations in the Live Events Industry?
Holographic projections, 3D printing, multi live streams with built-in VR interactivity or even Google glasses have been around for a while now, but most old-world live entrepreneurs referred to it only as luxury tech, or in situations when clients wanted a premium experience. There was other affordable tech that day to day event managers used instead, as it was profitable. What I am trying to say is that we have had the tech for years now. Yes, it does get better by the day, but we have been livestreaming for eons. It would not be wrong to say that the virus has forced us to reinvent our outlook towards understanding of technology.
With the unlock now being implemented in phases, we will begin to see innovations in the live events space as well. Countries like Denmark have already started exploring these options in the form of drive-in movies and concerts.
Communication strategy post lockdown?
At large, our communication strategy will be around establishing ZEE LIVE not just as a business that does live shows and concerts but goes much more and beyond. We want to establish the fact that we are one of the biggest Entertainment Consultants of the country – larger than life shows, branded content, talent management etc. We also want to convey that while we deliver the best of entertainment to our audiences, we also understand that safety is of utmost importance and when we are back with on-ground shows – we will adhere to highest level of safety standards and global norms set by the respective authorities.
Positivity during the crisis?
Constant interaction and the motivation to keep the momentum going is critical. Staying Alive is an initiative we started right in the beginning of the lockdown, where the whole team comes together on a video call to share a drink and let off some steam on Friday nights. It often happens that we end up talking about work all week. So, we took this conscious effort to not lose out on social interactions. Even at a larger organisational level, once every week, ZEE employees from across the country come together to watch specially curated sessions with personalities like Palash Sen, Chef Kunal Kapur and Subhash Ghai amongst many others in a specially designed platform Hello ZEE that connects all employees.
Business on track strategies?
Maintaining all safety and hygiene protocols will continue to be of utmost importance, and this could also be an interesting time for brands and promoters to get innovative, creative and start thinking out of box. Technology and leveraging the digital ecosystem will become the game-changer.
Since the lockdown has had a significant impact on the economy, optimized resource utilization will be the key to drive business and hence collaboration will become increasingly important – be it strategic association with partner brands, artists or working with the Government closely, one needs to figure how to get the best and most from every association.
Is Virtual to be the next way for IP companies for events?
The Short-term strategy for all is going to be virtual events only, yes. However, there will be a mid-term which is a mix of virtual and socially distanced models, especially in the green-zone cities. So, we will see models like House Parties and Drive Ins come around. The long term new normal will be visible in the last quarter; and for that, we should all suit up as there will a new set of rules to be followed. Consumer expectations will be different. Venues available will be limited, and there will come about, a host of other challenges that we all are currently unaware of.
How difficult it is to get sponsors on board for virtual events?
From a brand engagement point of view, I am amazed at how the essential categories have cashed in on this period and used every influencer worth their ‘salt’ to advertise. The most consumed live to home segments have been fitness, mental health, music, food, kids and education, and brands have been around these segments, in order to be on top of the consumers’ mindshare. So, while my peers may disagree, I do believe that amongst the other challenges we have faced in these previous months, sponsorships are not necessarily among the larger ones.