Punit Misra, CEO, Domestic Broadcast Business, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) talks about Zee Cafe’s partnership with BBC which will see Zee Cafe air award-winning British drama in India
Zee Café has partnered with BBC Worldwide to bring award winning premium British dramas. Zee Café will host the BBC First content block with 11 brand new shows set to air every weeknight at 10 PM. Edited excerpts from a conversation with Punit Misra, CEO, Domestic Broadcast Business, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL)
BY SIMRAN SABHERWAL
Q] Can you tell us about your partnership with BBC?
Well, it starts from what your brand is and what it wants to be. Last October, Zee Café unveiled a new brand positioning, ‘All Eyes On New’. Our quest is to bring our viewers new experiences and content and the team went around looking for fresh content. It’s in that quest that Aparna Bhosle (Business Cluster Head for ZEE’s Premium and FTA GEC Channels) discovered BBC First. Aparna and her team went through the entire library and realized the content had great dramas with stories that connect with people and great production quality. That was the main proposition that led to this partnership.
Q] In India, BBC is mainly associated with news. In addition, English content has come to mean American content. How are you looking to spread the word about the content?
The BBC brand means the quality and output will be great. We are now using the power of our brand, Zee Café and our viewer base to curate content for our consumers. The fact is the reach of television will remain significantly high because the challenges on digital – such as cost of bandwidth - will continue to exist. There are many consumers who have not seen these shows and perhaps there is not enough knowledge of the BBC shows, which is an interesting fact. However, even if it is an American show, it starts from scratch and you build the brand once it is on air. Is it a marketing challenge? It always will be, there is no doubt.
We have shows like ‘The Big Bang Theory’, and ‘Two And A Half Men’, on the channel which has made us the number one channel in this genre. However, you must keep supplementing and adding on to experiences. Our belief is that you stay ahead of the curve by bringing in newer experiences and then balancing it with the familiar shows which already air on the channel. You have to keep pace with today’s consumer as this is a genre where the viewer is digitally savvy and we want to make sure that our content stays relevant.
Q] What is the TG you are targeting?
We are looking at urban audiences, large town and metro audiences as a large chunk of English consumption happens here. The TG is SEC A and B, aged between 20 and 40 years. This age group will associate a lot with this content. For example, Rowan Atkinson is a familiar name so different things will bring in different people, but we are hopeful that with the range of shows, there is a lot for a varied set of audience.
Q] You are starting with five shows and have picked up 11. How long is the partnership for?
The shows are for the 10pm time band and if the audience loves the content, BBC has a lot more content and we will certainly keep evaluating to extend the partnership.
Q] Tell us about the sponsors.
Maruti Suzuki Nexa is on board as the lead sponsors for the block.
Q] What is the size of the English genre?
The English genre in terms of viewership is actually about a percentage of the total viewership. However, in terms of revenue it is around 3-4% of the total advertising spends. It is relatively smaller in viewership compared to Hindi but significantly higher on the monetization of the revenue. It’s also a market which has seen a lot of competition with the advent of Digital. However, if consumption of content on Digital increases, our belief is that the overall market for consumption of English content will only grow.
Q] How are you looking to drive appointment viewing?
Through the week, the curated shows will air Monday to Friday at 10 pm and over the weekends there will be an opportunity for back-to-back binge watching. With a new show every weekday, you get to see more diverse content, but we also know that viewers binge watch content they love, so we will make it available to them in that format as well.
Q] What is the marketing mix?
We will try and reach out to our urban metro viewers through various media, including Print. Digital is of course a large part for any English content. The quirky theme of #TheBritishAreComing is what we are using to reach out to viewers. Also, Indians have an affinity for the UK, a large number of people travel to London and there is a comfort factor. #TheBritishAreComing is an interesting way to bring these shows to people. We will also reach out to the consumer base in the small towns through Digital.
Q] What are your expectations from the new content?
There are two aspects that we will look at. First as a brand when we say, ‘All Eyes On New’, that’s what we want to stand for. Is it helping us build that proposition that we want to bring to our viewers, because we believe that’s a differentiator. The second is to retain our leadership. We have been leaders and have the largest viewership share and we want to build that further. If I gain a larger viewership share on the back of this, that would be a big objective.
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