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Can Television host interactive content?

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Vikram Mehra, Chief Commercial Officer, Tata Sky

Vikram Mehra, Chief Commercial Officer, Tata Sky

Content Marketing is believed by experts to be the mainstay of marketing in 2014, interactive video content being one of them. Can Television host interactive content to a target audience and help brands in the process?

One of the key factors differentiating marketing on mobile and marketing via television has been ‘interactivity’ and ‘engagement platforms’. However, it is not going to remain valid for long. Television can interact and brands have sensed this with Tata Sky’s latest interactive platform in the form of Active Services. One of the Active Services offered is Active Cooking which showcases over 200 recipes of famous chefs like Tarla Dalal, Jiggs Kalra in a month. The subscription model of these services ensures that only the interested audience gets access to it. Vikram Mehra, Chief Commercial Officer at Tata Sky explained to Ankur Gaurav of Pitch, the interactive format of video on television and how it can help brands.

What is the differentiating element of this video format compared to the conventional Television video formats?
Active Services on Tata Sky are different from not only the conventional television format content but also the mobile based content. Television has a much deeper penetration level in India and interactivity on television is more likely to spread compared to mobiles. This is how Active services are different from mobile based interactions.

Whereas, the differentiating element between conventional television content and Active services is that it is focused and subscription based content, which is interactive and keeps the user engaged. As a brand you are aware of the fact that cookery shows will only be subscribed to by house wives or those passionate about cooking. In regular television shows the message is being thrown at a much larger but not so relevant audience.

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What are the interactive platforms provided under Active Services?
Active cooking I have already mentioned, Active English is another popular choice in over 85% of all households, more so in tier II and smaller towns of India. As a part of the on-going Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of Google, they have chosen to air their infomercial on an hourly basis on Active Cooking and Active English, which has the largest viewership among women. Active music allows the users to surf through their own favorite songs and we have many more services coming up in 2014.

What is the minimum reach of these services?
The reach of these services has already amounted to 3 million as these many subscriptions are sold till now. We open the platform for advertisements only when we have a minimum mass reach for any of the content.

How is it helpful for brands in identifying their target audience and connecting with them?
Leading brands such as McCain Foods, Google, Yakult, Maggi and Britannia have tied up with Tata Sky to showcase their infomercials on Active Cooking. Each of these services are meant to engage the audience of a specific genre and brands can very easily identify these customers based on the subscribed audience and can interact with the audience in various ways. Google has collaborated to generate content like the importance and basics of starting and shutting the computer, changing desktop background, searching information online, for women who are not exposed to the use of computers or the internet. Similarly other brands know for sure where they can find their audience.

What are the advertisement rates on these services compared to the advertisement rates on national television channels?
Since this is the evolution of interactivity on television, we do not open any platform for advertisements and the rates are significantly lesser compared to national channels. The rates are discounted as well as rated based on the subscription numbers.

What is the future of these interactive services on Tata Sky?
This avenue of selective communication can now be scaled to children, men, women, house-wives and senior citizens. Tata Sky’s Active services has seen a growth in acceptance and penetration across the country. Being a paid platform, there is a high level of interaction with repeat viewers every day consuming content that they desire and expect. The infomercials which have been integrated aptly with the Active channels will result in having a positive impact on our subscribers.

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