Campaign India spoke to Avinash Kaul, chief executive officer of Zoom, about what’s new at the channel, their quintessential viewer, and what lies in store for advertisers.
CI: What’s the change about?
AK: There is no dramatic change; it hasn’t really been something which has come about suddenly one day. We started off as a lifestyle glamour channel and that automatically and logically veered towards the Bollywood space. We have been focusing on Bollywood for a long while now and our tagline was ‘100% Bollywood’. Now what we have done is that we have transformed it to a statement which is ‘India’s No.1 Bollywood Channel’, which is exactly what it is. So it isn’t really anything revolutionary, it is purely evolutionary in that scheme of things. Has our focus dramatically altered? The answer to that is “No”, it hasn’t dramatically altered, it’s just a little bit of fine tuning and sharper focus on what we are hoping to be. So technically today the pillars of our programming essentially run through music, movies, news (which is very important for us), and features and countdowns. Typically, the mix would probably have 40-45% of music, and the rest of the pillars making up for the rest.
CI: Who would you say is the Zoom viewer?
AK: We’ve done a lot of research to get insights into a day in the life of a Bollywood fan. The research was done not only in big centres like Mumbai and Delhi, but included smaller cities like Lucknow. The numbers for the genre are typically highest in Mumbai and Delhi and the northern markets like Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere. The affiliation with Bollywood is extremely deep, extremely strong and people have very strong likes and dislikes of the stars, because they are an escape from reality for them; it’s like Punjabis looking upto Dharmendra and people from Allahbad looking upto Amitabh Bachchan. For them, the lifestyle of the rich and famous is akin to the life of Bollywood stars. They see and glamourise and idealize their star. So they literally wear them on their sleeves. So you have very deep undercurrents (like Salman Khan versus Shah Rukh Khan), and these fights are something that we see every day happening on our Facebook page. We launched a show called ‘Gangs of Bollywood’, about the tribe culture that you see in these kind of things. And interestingly, what we see is a huge amount of traction from countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh on Facebook. Because it’s open and gets a massive following. Technically, what we see our role to be right now is to disseminate Bollywood information to anybody who is a Bollywood lover, which includes all NRIs (they will still go to the local grocery store and buy that pirated DVD for a dollar or so). That is what actually led us to expand our broadcast footprint to 17 countries now. Wherever we are not available, we also syndicate our content to that particular country.
CI: How will you make the channel more attractive to advertisers?
AK: There are lots of properties that we are building towards; that’s one of the biggest focus areas for us - the blending of celebrities. That we are a Bollywood channel is a great way to get across many of your categories. We do a lot of stuff which is branded content for advertisers, which brings them closer in the Bolllywood space than what they normally would be. There are shows like ‘Let’s Design’ which is a reality show, about getting the fashion designer only to work with cotton as an ingredient and we work on the show with Cotton Council International. So we do these kinds of differentiated things which are again appealing to the youth.