Decoding Zee Bioskope’s strategy to up category penetration of original Bhojpuri content

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) has firmed up its regionally strategy with the launch of its new 24-hour Bhojpuri movie channel – Zee Bioskope. The channel will be available on DD Free Dish and major cable and DTH platforms from January 14, 2020 onwards.

The decade-old Bhojpuri GEC and movie category has grown by 85 per cent in the last 3 years. This content is served to the audiences in Bihar, Jharkhand and East UP markets, which have some of the lowest TV penetration in the country – 30 per cent in Bihar & Jharkhand and 45 per cent in Uttar Pradesh. The growth in consumption of Bhojpuri content is directly tied to increase in TV penetration and new offerings provided by GEC players.

According to Samrat Ghosh, Cluster Buiness Head at ZEEL and responsible for growth of West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Eastern UP, movie consumption in theatres depends on three factors – availability of infrastructure, geographical proximity to theatre and price. “Infrastructure in East India in terms of absolute numbers is not that great. In the last decade, single screen theatres have been shutting down that used to drive regional movie consumption in that particular geography. That is where the regional movie channels chip in,” he added.

There are 26 Bhojpuri channels, most of which are news channels and very few entertainment channels that provide original Bhojpuri content. Bhojpuri cinema is a burgeoning industry, pegged at Rs 2,000 crore and churns out 125+ titles every year. In regional movie channels, Bhojpuri content contributes to 4 per cent of the total movie telecast time and 6 per cent of total movie viewership (As per BARC Data: Viewership of Movies in South India Report).

Given the significant migrated base in HSM belt, the channel aims to gain considerable HSM viewership as well with key markets like Mumbai, Delhi, PHCHP, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Kolkata forming the core.

“Every regional market has grown when there has been an influx of new content and we’ve have noticed the same trend in the Bhojpuri audience,” said Amanpreet Singh Saini, Business Head, Big Ganga and the newly launched ZEE Bioskope.

He further said, “In this market, there is a high level of duplication, given that there are fewer offerings. The separation in audiences is seen in markets where there are multiple GEC and movie brands. Our attempt will be to create specific TG affinity as we go along. You can’t achieve that with two brands, it has to be a category driven phenomenon.”

The Bihar, Jharkhand and Eastern UP belt is peppered with devotional activities throughout the year and mature audiences generally prefer socio-mythological shows, devotional shows, while the younger male and female audience prefers romantic dramas, supernatural thrillers and music content.

“While there have been movie channels in the market, they have been very generic in their offering. There has not been a concerted effort made to give the viewer content based on their liking and TG sensibility. That’s the differentiator of Zee Biokope from other channels. Our effort is to give a curated channel to the viewers.”

On the basis of this insight, the team behind Zee Bioskope has created a set of curated programming for different parts of the day. They have a band called ‘Family Chauka’ in the morning at 9.30 am, which caters to a mature audience and serves them with wholesome entertainers, drama and relationship based movies. They created another band called ‘Love Litis’, which caters to a younger male and female audience that serves romantic drama, romantic comedy and romantic thriller films. During the evening primetime, the channel expects higher male density who have returned home from work and have created a band called ‘Fattam Fight’, which serves them action movies.

Single screen theatres dwindle as we go into the interiors of these markets and audience affinity to go out also dwindles. Therefore, Zee Bioskope will air a new blockbuster hit or TV premiere every weekend.

Zee Bioskope has a strong library of 300 movies, including the biggest blockbusters of the last 5 years and biggest hits of the top three stars in Bhojpuri movies – Nirahua, Pawan and Khesari, and newcomers like Chintu Pandeu and Yash Mishra.

Saini explained, “There is a lot of hero worship in these markets, which is often reflected in the movie titles. The sentiment is ‘I don’t want to watch the movie; I want to watch the Hero’ and we have been careful to pick up the movies where the Hero has a high traction.”

The brand philosophy of Zee Bioskope is based on certain pillar, stated Ghosh, “We want to satisfy the appetite for Bhojpuri content by streamlining the distribution channel. We want to serve 100 per cent Bhojpuri content to our viewers and as we go along in the journey, we don’t want to restrict ourselves only to movies. Our relevant content in and around movies will also be showcased on the channels.”

This includes chat shows, music shows, trivia, reviews and behind the scenes content.

Speaking about advertiser interest, Ghosh said, “The category is largely driven by the FMCG clients. They are going to be core to drive AdEx in these particular markets. In a couple of years, newer brands are coming into the market. We foresee that in the next few years advertisers will become a lot more active and regional channels will become an important part of their media plans.”

Marketing strategy

The channel has launched their brand campaign with the tagline ‘Aathon Pahariya Luta Lahariya’ that translates to enjoy Bhojpuri content throughout the day. They have roped in the biggest Bhojpuri stars Nirahua, Pawan Singh and Khesari Lal Yadav as brand ambassadors for the campaign to tap the hero worship sentiment of their audience.

The channel will release three brand films. Each hero is associated with a particular genre in Bhojpuri entertainment and will be leveraged to target a particular audience. Khesari is known for his romantic films, Pawan Singh for action genre and Nirahua is a family entertainer. These three stars will be the face of all their PR and digital activities.

Apart from leveraging their channel strength, the campaign will also be marked by a significant offline engagement. The marketing team is organising one of the largest movie screenings in Patna on January 18, 2020, which will be promoted using painted-on movie posters on the walls of the city.


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