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Zee's reality shows travel across markets, attract diverse audiences: Ashish Sehgal

In an exclusive interaction with BestMediaInfo.com, Sehgal, Chief Growth Officer, Advertisement Revenue at Zee Entertainment Enterprises spoke about their regional reality shows, key offerings by ZeeTV for brands, and much more

Ashish Sehgal

One major thing that sets apart Zee Network's reality shows is their unique ability to travel across markets and captivate a diverse audience from different regions, Ashish Sehgal, Chief Growth Officer, Advertisement Revenue at Zee Entertainment Enterprises, said.

He believes that the channel’s reality shows hold a widespread appeal which makes them an iconic asset.

Sehgal emphasised that the network’s strategic approach, encompassing reality shows and movie premieres, is poised to significantly boost their top-line performance. It embodies a comprehensive 360 degree strategy aimed at securing a prominent position in the industry.

In an exclusive conversation with BestMediaInfo.com, Sehgal shed light on various aspects of regional reality TV shows and their reach, brands benefiting from such format shows, key offerings by Zee TV, content line-up for festive period, and much more.

Here are the excerpts from the interview:

What is the level of interest in regional reality TV shows in comparison to other types of shows?

The demand for regional reality shows is exceptionally high and so is their viewership. In the South market, we are seeing substantial success. ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’, a well-established show, has consistently delivered outstanding results, whether it's in Punjab or Kerala. It has truly become an iconic brand, setting it apart from other reality programs. Remarkably, even after nearly two decades, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa remains one of the most successful and enduring reality shows. What further distinguishes this show is our commitment to adding depth and personality, like allowing contestants to launch their original songs and adding an extra layer of uniqueness and creativity. We also have another very unique format named ‘Dadagiri’.

From a brand's standpoint, we are closely tracking the success stories and our regional markets have become increasingly diverse. It's not just national or corporate entities looking to penetrate this market. There's a substantial interest from the retail sector as well. As a result, these brands aspire to participate in format shows of this nature, which further fuels the demand for such programs. Consequently, there exists a valuable opportunity for advertisers to align themselves with these brands across various markets. This also presents an excellent opportunity for local advertisers,” he added.

Zee TV shows have a strong viewer connection as we believes in a hyper-local approach when it comes to scouting talent for its shows. We believe in celebrating local talent and therefore our viewers have a special connection with our contestants. These inspiring human stories become the base of our content integration opportunities for our partners. We also highlight the sub-cultural nuances in our content giving our partners a unique opportunity to connect with the viewers.

How do brands benefit from sponsoring reality TV shows?

Sehgal highlighted that branding plays a huge role in building brand equity in the long term. Various brands like Idea and Hero have benefitted in their growth stage with this approach.

The brands get a chance to associate with content that resonates with their philosophy and it showcases it to the end user in a simplified manner. In shows, integrations get higher reach than a regular TV spot and give them an exclusive one-on-one window to pitch their product. There is also the benefit of the celebrity association through the host, judges and contestants. Additionally, there is scope to create viewer based engagement opportunities through on-ground, contests and gratifications. Our content is very popular on social media with a 30% engagement rate in the broadcast segment. This is another extension where brands can create meaningful conversations," he added.

This year for Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, we have total 14 sponsors onboard, including Maruti and Taj Mahal: Co-Title, Dabur: Co-Presenting, Mondelez: Co-Powered By, Capital Foods: Co-Powered By, HUL: Special Partner, Rajdhani Flour Mills:  Special Partner, P&G: Special Partner, WhatsApp: Special Partner, Loreal: Special Partner, Berger Paints: Special Partner, AMFI: Associate, Coca Cola: Associate and Dabur: Associate.

What are the key offerings that Zee TV has for brands that want to advertise on their reality shows?

There are multiple brand engagement opportunities in every phase of the shows. A brand can come onboard from the press conference, pre-audition call to entry phase, audition phase, main episodes and finale. There is also a lot of ancillary content (BTS footage) that the brand can ride on through our social media pages.

Apart from graphic integrations there are also contextual integrations in the content which is led by the anchor, judges and the contestants. There are viewer led contests and on-ground connections that we can create during auditions and promotions. Sponsors also get phenomenal presence across multimedia during the promotion phase.

We also ensure that the brand integrations are seamless and they do not disrupt the audience’s content experience. We hand hold the brands through the content creation process and share various situations within the content where a brand fitment exists. For example: Contestant back stories or BTS footage in a show are good opportunities for F&B based brands where we can showcase consumption as well. It’s a great brand launch platform wherein even brand creatives are seamlessly integrated within our content. It’s a platform to showcase brands as well,” Sehgal said.

Will ad rates for reality shows rise during the festive season?

Given the positive market sentiment and consumer demand rise, there is a good reason to increase ad rates. The channel’s (Zee TV) performance has also improved in the past few weeks (116 GRPs, 34 million viewers/week) and the slot in which Sa Re Ga Ma Pa has been launched (Saturday-Sunday 21:00-22:30) has been on an increasing trend as well.

We are creating high points in the preceding shows (Radha Mohan 20:00 hours and Bhagya Laxmi 20:30 hours) to drive viewers to the show. There are also format changes which will keep our viewers engaged throughout the season. The promos response on the social media platforms has been encouraging and we are expecting at least 15-20% increase in ad rates this festive season.

Could you provide a glimpse of the shows and movie premieres lined up for the festive season?

We launched Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2023 on August 26. An engaging judging panel with Himesh Reshammiya, Anu Malik and Neeti Mohan will ensure only the best contestants are chosen. Aditya Narayan has made a comeback as the host after a hiatus, adding to the entertainment quotient of the show.  More than 12,000 entries were received this season.

Over a period of 14 weeks, viewers will experience a rollercoaster of emotions as the fast-paced format will keep them guessing as to who the finalists of the season are till the very end.

Also, as an organisation, our focus is films as well. We have a host of high ticket movies which will be aired on our network. Blockbuster movie Gadar2 will be leading the way. It is a philosophy which Zee network imbibes. Hence, the broadcast telecast of this movie will not be a single telecast but will be a week long festival under the movies umbrella theme “Hindustan Zindabad” with patriotic movies followed by Gadar and Gadar 2 coupled with special content, including the making of the movie, to be aired across bouquet of Zee Cinema channels, the leader in the genre.

Promotion of movies will not only be a 360 degree exposure but will be a co-branded promotion with our advertisers, an innovative engagement integrating brand core proposition with the movies, thereby creating an impeccable experience for our partners. This will be a month-long high-decibel promotion inclusive of ground activation which will be a journey across key Hindi speaking markets (HSM). We imbibe the true spirit of collaboration at Zee with Gadar 2, an opportunity to create history and achieve a new benchmark in the galaxy of world television premiere.


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