Jaldi 5 with Akash Chawla: Extreme reactions on digital is name of the game

19 Nov,2013

By A Correspondent


After the stupendous success of the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Chennai Express on Zee TV, the film will now share on the Zee group’s recently launched film channel &pictures on November 23 at 8pm. The channel is pulling all stops to make this premiere an even bigger success than Zee TV with a digital innovation to promote the airing.  An interactive voice response (IVR) system has been created where people can get call a toll-free number (18001035515) and get a reminder on the movie on their phones in Shah Rukh Khan’s voice. The channel is promoting the film in a big way in the digital media. The movie is going to be promoted is via the blogging community. Four lucky bloggers will be selected to relive the journey Shah Rukh and Deepika did from Mumbai to Rameshwaram. The bloggers will tweet and post their travel experience with the  &pictures hashtag on Twitter and build a buzz for the upcoming premiere. In addition, an aggressive marketing strategy has been initiated on traditional media like, TV, radio, print, OOH and cable. Akash Chawla, Marketing Head (National Channels) at Zee Entertainment took time to respond to our questions.


01. Given that it’s coming close on the heels of Chennai Express scoring an all-time high on Zee, wouldn’t there be a pressure on achieving similar ratings?

Zee is a 20-year-old GEC and Chennai Express is the biggest blockbuster ever in the history of the box-office. It premiered on Zee TV within three months of its theatrical release. Considering the above, Zee definitely had an advantage over &pictures. Having said that, there are still 70 percent of our viewers in the Hindi-speaking markets who hadn’t seen the movie then and hence would now become a target on &pictures. Plus there’s a lot of repeat value for such movies. Hence we’re definitely expecting high returns as being demonstrated by the push that’s been given.


02. The decision to promote the film’s telecast via the digital and specifically the travel blogger route is interesting. But since the number of those connected digitally who will watch a film like Chennai Express is limited, why such an emphasis on digital?

62 million of the 82 million Facebook users in India are connected via mobile. 40 percent of the Google searches happen via mobiles. We believe in small towns especially after brands like Micromax and Karbonn have reduced the prices of smartphones and have special tariffs by the operators, the mobile phone has become a compulsory medium replacing a bicycle. People who consume the digital media are one of our biggest targets and &pictures is utilizing this base to the fullest.


03. Perhaps reaching out via smartphones as against via bloggers would’ve been more appropriate?

As I said, &pictures is going to make maximum use of this base!


04. In many ways, your move to promote to consumers via the digital route as against just newspapers etc is an indicator that the traditional media is not as indispensable as it used to be (for promotions). True?

When one is talking to the masses at large, especially in a category like a video content like ours, audio visual media is of primary essence. Therefore conversion on TV still plays a pertinent role. Newspapers play the role of creating appointment and building scale if right format is taken. The digital route provides a targeted surround and reaches the right consumers.  When it comes to all TG, the blend of digital and traditional gives maximum impact.


05. It’s tricky dealing with the digital media fraternity given that it’s unorganised and may not always be as ‘influenceable’ as the organised media. For instance, while there were mixed reviews from critics in the newspapers, digitally, we saw extremes. Some lampooned the film while a few gushed. Given this, isn’t too much dependance on digital promotions tricky? Almost like playing with fire?

Extreme reactions on digital media is the name of the game. In fact, we saw extreme reactions when Zee Cinema aired Himmatwala. The film didn’t do that well on the box-office. But it didn’t mean that it did bad on television as well or had negative viewing. (The film fetched 5561 TVTs on Zee Cinema). While we all play with fire, today we can’t escape the fact that digital media has become an integral part such that we can’t ignore it. In our view, innovations on digital front have always been appreciated and have yielded results. Therefore while we’re playing with fire, we’ll kindle the flames in the right direction.


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