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Zee Biskope puts focus on increasing consumer time spent lost due to return of Hindi GECs

Amarpreet Singh Saini, Business Head, Zee Biskope and Big Ganga, ZEEL and Jit Sengupta, Lead Brand Management - ZEE Biskope speak about the channel's growth and how its consumer engaging activities have made it a differentiator

Zee Biskope from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (ZEEL) has managed to be a category leader within a year of its launch. Being a new player in the Bhojpuri movies space that is already crowded, the channel has managed to carve a niche for itself.

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Amarpreet Singh Saini

According to Amarpreet Singh Saini, Business Head, Zee Biskope and Big Ganga, Zeel, the channel grew 20-22% in terms of reach in the launch phase. “During the lockdown, because the overall television viewership was moving towards news and movie channels, once again we saw a 12-13% growth over the reach that was there already.”

“Currently, the category is a bit of a challenge because of the comeback of Hindi GEC channels. So overall, the category has seen de-growth. Efforts are on to just bring back viewers not in terms of reach but more towards the time spent,” he said.

Speaking about the advertising sentiments, Saini said the revenues have been contra-sized. “It has been positive; of late we have seen the revival of advertising revenue across TV because even the brands want to come back. Currently, Zee Biskope has a lion's share of that because we are in a leadership position and have a good range over competitors. However, given that it's a new brand, it does take time for advertisers. They want to see the brand consolidate and give a very stable delivery, which we have also been able to do. During the lockdown, there was a bit of downfall overall in the TV space but now things are revising,” he added.

Asked how Zee Biskope differs as most top-performing names in the Bhojpuri space are movie channels, Saini said Zee Biskope was launched to offer a curated channel in a commoditised market. He said their strength lies in deep diving into the consumer’s centricity and customizing every offering for the viewers.

Speaking about future business plans, Saini said the category is seeing a challenge due to the comeback of Hindi channels. The idea is to gain back audience attention during the festive period by a lot of customised content and newer bands, purely with the intention of entertaining the consumer and increasing time spent, which is a category challenge right now and not just a challenge for the channel.  Big-ticket premieres are scheduled from Navratri to Diwali to Chhath.

He said that in the long term, as it is at a nascent stage, the idea will be to concretise and consolidate what it started with. “Our vision is that we will remain very consumer-focused and a differentiator. It has been a market where the consumer has not been thought about in a professional way. We believe that every consumer deserves the best of entertainment, whether it is regional or national. Our idea is that in the Bhojpuri market, there is still a huge gap as to what you can show them. We will remain differentiated, we will remain consumer-focused, and when I say differentiated, it means offering curated movies, bands, and engagement activities. We will keep bringing new offerings in the movie space.”

Jit Sengupta

The channel is not only offering viewers entertainment, but the consumer engagement activities have also been very unique to attract them. According to Jit Sengupta, Lead Brand Management - ZEE Biskope, special focus has been given to these activities since the launch of the channel.

Sengupta said they choose days such as dance day, camera day, emoji day, etc., to engage with the viewers through social media and increase drive to the channel. “Television is the channel’s platform. However we would like to treat digital as a platform where we get incremental reach. While all our activities call for action on digital, it gets complemented by the television telecast,” he added.

Giving the example of one of its successful activities, Sengupta said, “In September on the occasion of dance day, we released the rap version of our brand song and the call-to-action was to give missed call on a number to download the song and perform on it and send it to us. It was extremely well-taken. The responses crossed over 42,000 and were very encouraging. We did a special half-hour show to declare the winners and had one of the top celebrities from the Bhojiwood film industry, Chintu Pandey to host it.”

Sengupta explained that the vision is to establish the channel as one where the viewers feel the ‘apnapan’ and hence they will continue to curate such activities where viewers not only fulfil their entertainment quotient but also their aspirations.

Expressing similar sentiments, Saini said, “The brand and the core premise is celebrating Bhojpuriyat. As an extension of that, the days are chosen carefully and to do such large-scale activities and accentuate that particular day, which I don’t think any TV channel has done before.”

Sengupta said they have an interesting activity named ‘Litthi-Chokha Day’ centred round Chhath. They also plan celebrations in December when the channel will complete a year.

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