In January 2020, Zee Entertainment Enterprises launched a dedicated Bhojpuri movie channel- Zee Biskope, aimed at offering curated content designed for the markets of Bihar, Jharkhand, and eastern Uttar Pradesh. The channel’s curated content, IPs, and quirky engagement activities have made it a significant player in the Bhojpuri market.
Speaking about the channel’s two-year journey, Amarpreet Singh Saini, Chief Channel Officer, Bhojpuri Cluster, ZEEL, said they have given the audience a platform that offers more than movie and entertainment. He says they have had landmark successes in aspects like viewership, brand affinity, and engagement.
“We were right in our approach and we only need to solidify it and grow from here. In 2021, we retained our leadership position. We have ventured more and more into creating novelty both in terms of content and in terms of outreach of the brand. In all our efforts we saw that the affinity of the brand is so much that any extension of it is taken up by the people. In 2022 we want to expand it even more because we have seen that the appetite is huge,” Saini said.
In an earlier conversation with us, Saini had said that the Bhojpuri category is underserved and Zee Biskope and Zee Ganga- another channel that the network has recently launched want to change that. According to viewership records, the channel has been leading the category. Channels like Dabangg, B4U Bhojpuri that have been present for long in the market are not a competition to Biskope, as per Saini.
“What we have created is far and beyond what the competition has. The table has turned the other way and they have a lot of catching up to do. If you look at the brand equity that we have created, we have bought in so much for the consumer that it will take a long time for any brand to catch up. We are the only possible brands in the movie category that are doing engagement initiatives, year on year. The kind of participation that we have is something unheard of. I think we would appreciate it if the competition also joins the bandwagon because the more there is for the viewers, the more the category will expand,” he added.
In 2022, the channel is looking to explore its offerings beyond movies. They plan to introduce original series and non-fiction series for the movie fandom on the channel. They will also be introducing an awards IP as well as bringing in-house churned original movies catering to the TV audience.
“Our engagement initiatives, which is one of the strongest outreach arms will continue with a mix of marquee activities. We have seen that the advertising fraternity also looks forward to something new and curated from Zee Biskope. Instantly, we get a very positive response from the market. All of this is pointing towards better viewership and growth,” explained Saini.
According to him their outreach and communication efforts have also woken up the category and pushed other channels in the category to look at their communication. He said he has noticed increased activity on the social media pages of the channels.
The lockdown and pandemic had risen the overall viewership of TV channels and the viewership of regional and movie channels also rose considerably. Regional channels will further continue to grow said, Saini. “The entire unstable environment has made people realize the value of roots, family, and togetherness. We have seen that the regional content consumption has picked up, but of course you need to offer some innovation. You cannot offer run-off-the-mill content. We are seeing the younger audience is also coming into the regional fold in high volumes now. The regional consumption is only going to grow and more accurately than ever before,” he added.
Speaking about the advertising response to the channel, he stated that they are closer to reaching the pre-pandemic levels. Marketers want to make up for the lost time during the lockdown and engage with consumers. “The markets have been very buoyant and the advertising responses are almost back to the pre-pandemic level, and we only see it growing more.”
“Because Zee Biskope has very curated offerings tying it to the ethos of the region, instantly we have seen a very positive and overwhelming response from the advertisers. We have done some quirky film festivals and brands like Nestle Munch that are looking to connect with the local audience have associated with us on these quirky initiatives. The regional, customized, and personalized offerings are preferred by some of the established brands, and that sentiment is only growing,” he further said.