Pandemic brings a new trend of cross-consumption of regional contents

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on February 05, 2021

Broadcasters adapt newer methods to engage with their viewers

The pandemic has not just pushed TV consumption by leaps and bounds, it has also brought newer trends for broadcasters to engage with their viewers. With work from home and online classes becoming a new normal, broadcasters are not just witnessing a spike in TV viewership and demand for quality contents but also a growing trend of cross-consumption of regional contents.

“Today, there is a lot of cross pollination of quality content happening from one market to another. For instance, several Tamil movies are travelling to Kerala and Telugu markets through dubbing, and we are seeing the same happen in other South markets as well,” Siju Prabhakaran, Cluster Head – South of ZEE Entertainment told BusinessLine.

He also added that, even as a sense of normalcy gradually returns, certain habits like WFH and online classes will continue in the near to long term, thereby pushing TV consumption even higher than the pre-Covid levels.

Zee Entertainment is India’s second largest TV entertainment network with a market share of 18.2 per cent in all-India viewership and 47 channels across languages. As of Q2FY21, its share in the southern market stood at 21.2 per cent.

Banking on dubbed content

“In the next 2-3 years, we want to capitalise on this trend (of cross pollination) and take it a notch higher. We are looking at how Tamil movies can be made available to Malayalam audiences and Telugu movies to Tamil audiences and so on,” said Prabhakaran.

Zee is witnessing a tremendous growth in viewership in southern regions over the last few years. For instance, Zee Thirai, a full-time Tamil movie channel launched in January 2020, has reached number three position in the Tamil movie space within one year of its launch. Similarly, its Kannada movie channel ‘Zee Picchar’ launched in January 2020, is at number two position in the Kannada movie entertainment space. Zee Keralam, launched two years back, is consistently hitting the number 3 position in the Kerala GEC space.

“Our plan is to expand our movie library both in the Tamil and Kannada markets, along with Telugu where we are already following an aggressive strategy,” Prabhakaran said, adding, “Driving strong synergies within the company, we aim to strengthen our foothold in the movie segment across the value chain, from the production to airing. That is our ambition for the South market.”

BARC data

According to data released by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) on Thursday, television advertising volumes have increased by nearly a fourth in January 2021 to 133 million seconds as compared to 108 million seconds in the year-ago period.

General Entertainment Channels (GEC), the biggest consumption category, saw a 23 per cent increase in ad volumes in January 2021, while channels under the movie genre saw a 28 per cent increase in ad volumes during this period.

“We have reached the pre-Covid levels of inventory, and we are hopeful 2021 will be a year where we witness a resurgence in advertising, and sustaining the viewership growth witnessed in 2020,” Prabhakaran added.

Published on February 05, 2021

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