One Big Idea by Avinash Kaul: Young consumers – making television social

06 Feb,2013

By Avinash Kaul, Chief Executive Officer, ET Now, Times Now and zoOm


The youth segment always adapts much faster and continuously demands more. Nothing can satiate their appetite for long and we as content creators need to continuously re-invent ourselves to keep their interest alive.


“You can buy attention (advertising). You can beg for attention from the media (PR). You can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales). Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free.”


Let’s get the most obvious question out of the way: Has television viewing undergone a paradigm shift? Yes, and it is more true for the youth segment than any other age group. TV trends change with every generation and more often than not, the youth segment is the initiator of this change, lapped up by everyone else in due course.


The youth segment always adapts much faster and continuously demands more. Nothing can satiate their appetite for long and we as content creators need to continuously re-invent ourselves to keep their interest alive. This has been true for the entire history of television. Game shows, reality television, fiction, all have had their time in the sun with the Indian youth and while we strive to find the next content genre our audience will be hooked to, there is an altogether different change, revolution if you may, driven largely by the youth which is taking the industry by storm. Every channel worth its salt is trying to decode this new creature called ‘Youth on Social Media’.


You must have already read about it on the net, heard colleagues furiously debate over it, speakers at seminars glorifying it and have a patchy picture in your mind on this new phenomenon of “Television + Social Media”.


The basic fact still remains that your content needs to be interesting enough for your audience to keep coming back to you. So what exactly has changed?


The way youngsters consume content and the platforms they use for it have changed. We put up a teaser on our Facebook page about an exclusive news piece on our show Planet Bollywood News. One of our fans tunes into the show on-air, likes what he sees and immediately tweets about it. His friend reads the tweet, gets intrigued and checks zoOm’s YouTube channel for the show video. He shares the video on Facebook for his friends to see and before you know it, the video has been viewed thousands of times. In the process, you have reminded your existing viewers about the show and also acquired new viewers who will tune-in into the next episode.


This is just one of the examples of how you can use social media to drive viewers to your channel.


Another good example of on-air and online synergy is our new song request application on Facebook. Fans can dedicate a song for their loved ones with a Facebook message to be played on the show Your Likes every day at 11 am. The dedicatee gets a message about the dedication and the tune-in time of the show.


Social media also has brought about another major change: it is providing direct access to your favorite stars, anchors, celebs with a tool as simple as your smartphone. For example, fans can have a one-on-one chat with Omar Qureshi (anchor of The zoOm Review Show and a renowned journalist) on Twitter (@zoOmOQ) and discuss the movie he has reviewed immediately after the episode has been aired. All our anchors are on social media and we actively encourage a two-way dialogue between them and fans. We don’t just use platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for brand communication, but have established a strong feedback mechanism through these. We don’t just talk to our consumers, but we listen to them too. We make it a point to reply to all our fan messages within 24 hours. It’s essential that fans know that we care about their opinions.


Today, any channel which can successfully keep its fans engaged across all its platforms, and not just on TV, will be successful. zoOm has always kept its approach flexible and has been identifying trends early and adapting successfully. zoOm’s success on-air and on social media is testimony to this.


While we are the largest player in the youth music genre, both in terms of reach and GRPs, we are also the no. 1 brand on social media in Asia with over 660 million video views on YouTube, 2 million+ fans on Facebook, 4 lakh+ on Google+ and taking giant strides on Twitter, Pinterest, SocialCam, Tumblr, Hulu, Dailymotion and the likes.
I would like to leave you guys with just one piece of advice: Focus on how to be social, not how to do social.


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