The new normals 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.
The nation-wide lockdown is slowly being lifted across orange and green zones and life is slowly crawling back to a new-normalcy. 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.
In the this story of Medianews4u’s new brand series, Back to Business, we spoke to Rohit Jain, Managing Director, Lionsgate South Asia.
How is Lionsgate India coping up with the impact of Covid-19 ? How effectively have you used the lockdown period?
There are multiple challenges/opportunities this human crisis has thrown at us. We are doing everything in our capacity to stay true to our core of entertaining users. After all people have found some solace in content and entertainment in these testing times. We infact released back to back Digital Premiers of knives Out, John Wick 3 & Bombshell on Lionsgate Play which saw record viewership. Overall consumption has seen quantum surge in viewership & streams.
We are optimizing technology each day to make sure systems and servers are able to cope with the load and at the same time massively increasing our offering, including our investments in localization. Given the scale of this pandemic and the impact it will have on mankind, content consumption, new behavioural norms of social distancing etc., we are innovating our model at rate we couldn’t have imagined earlier. There is a huge scale up on our investment plans in India. Overall let me say, our productivity, team spirit, feeling of togetherness is right up there.
The quest for a solution to a particular crisis helps invent new business opportunities and sometimes leads to a revision of existing business models. What sort of innovation has or will the Covid-19 pandemic bring to Lionsgate India?
Well, for us there couldn’t be a stronger proof of concept. Our business is robust and ready to take on any challenge and there hasn’t been a better time than today to be in the entertainment business. While it’s been a testing time for the film industry in India and abroad we have started to see innovation there -films going direct to digital in many cases could be a new normal for mid-size films in the long term.
As far as we are concerned, there are several layers of change this has brought for us with the surge in demand in small/mid cities also, we have upped our investments on localization of premium Hollywood content. We will be presenting content in Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telegu& Bhojpuri for our select titles. In addition to our premium Hollywood offering, we are looking to invest in several new categories this year.
While some parts of the country have become Covid-19 free, cities like Mumbai and Delhi are still in a lockdown situation. How are you planning to resume business across cities that are not in the Red?
For us our production and Head Office is based out of Mumbai which is deep red for now. We will wait for the Govt directives before we start any kind of operations from office. But luckily except for shooting everything else is business as usual & is being managed well remotely. Till such time we are working efficiently from home, trying to make sure our employees and partners are safe and healthy with their loved ones.
What will be your communication strategy post the opening of the lockdown? What will be the objective of the communication/marketing strategy?
I think once this is behind us and we have conquered the virus, humanity will see the biggest celebration ever. The mood will be festive and people will be outdoors doing things (with gratitude) that they have missed doing this far. As a brand we would love to be a part of that celebration. We would have launched our app by then, Lionsgate Play- the latest destination for all things Hollywood- so our communication objective will always be to tell people about the latest additions in terms of content on our platform. We have some big surprises in store for our app launch that will shake up the market place. Keep watching this space for more.
How did you as the leader of your company keep the morale of the employees during this lockdown period? On a personal note, what kept you positive?
We are a lean and a very closely knit team here in India. When the lockdown started and people were trying to adjust to this new normal, I was communicating with most teams on a daily basis. Everyone really stepped up and I would say I am so proud of what we have achieved in the last 2 months. Apart from all work we have a tradition of Lionsgate Friday Fundays. Earlier these Fridays were about hanging out together, getting together for a meal etc. With changing times they have swiftly transformed to fun games on WebEx. From Pictionary to Dumb Charades we are revisiting childhood all over again.
With all the talk around productivity I am also cognizant of how working from home is not as seamless as we believe it can be. You can lose sense of office time and home time and it puts added responsibility on family to work around your office hours as far as occupying physical space within home is concerned. I want to make sure our team is planning their day smartly and ensuring they structure their day allowing them adequate time for work, family and self. It’s important to plan for breaks, follow some personal passion. Overcoming this pandemic may not be a sprint but is likely to be a marathon. Important we approach it like that.
Personally I am really grateful that all of us are safe & have the privilege of being home because we know of so many people who don’t I am also loving this time with my family & to stay positive I try to follow a routine & take out time daily for things that personally drive me: my workout and Kishore Kumar.
What are some of the post-lockdown business strategies that you will be using to gain more business?
We have a super exciting year ahead. We are gearing up for our app launch. So our focus will be that from now till the end of the financial year. We are also connecting with all our telecom/ distribution partners to understand consumer trends and the kind of content that is being accepted so we can over index on that. Apart from that we will be investing on dubbing our content to cut out the language barrier and improve our content penetration. In terms of creating demand for our brand I feel a solid product is the first step which we are building on.