H2 brings heavy ad spends and exciting content line-up for Marathi GECs

Lockdown or no lockdown, viewers have also been craving for the original content to be seen on big screens or in today’s case OTT platforms. The typical language of the category has been rational arguments presented to the customer. The entire communication is about the perspective of the people on the other side of the screen. With growing demand for content in one’s mother tongue, there is a huge growth potential for regional content since the pandemic struck. Besides, dubbing international as well Hindi content in regional languages has expanded the scope of this market. While the regional markets are still at the nascent stage, the pace of growth is fast and it can be a game changer in the next phase of growth for the OTT business.

Regional content in Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali languages, among others, have seen growing numbers of subscribers, during these unprecedented times. It has become important to nurture the entire ecosystem, customising one’s offerings for the consumer and being relevant for the regional audience. Maharashtra is one such state where Marathi language channels have seen diversified growth in terms of advertising and brand interest, as well as growing traction with viewers.

According to a recent Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) report, the spillover viewership in Maharashtra has reduced, with regional channels seeing an uptick in numbers.

Commenting on the role of regional television, Vanita Keswani, CEO, Madison Media Stigma, said, “Maharashtra is a priority market for many of our brands. And the viewership and role of regional television has been on an increase. Marathi TV content quality is also evolving and growing.”

The festive season and double bonanza of IPL 2021 second leg and T20 World Cup are seeing brands focusing more on Marathi channels, specifically Marathi GECs, which have spruced up their content line-up with a slew of fiction and non-fictional shows. “Ad spends within the Marathi genre during the last year contributed to 5% of all the genres put together. This year, the contribution is all set to increase from 5% to 6%, thanks to Zee Marathi and Star Pravah leading the duopoly in terms of fresh content and celebrities. Earlier, only Zee Marathi was leading the viewership chart and now both Zee Marathi and Star Pravah have joined the chart,” pointed out Rupali Chavan, VP – Client Engagement, OMD Mudramax.

The pandemic brought about an opportunity for all the regional channels to showcase their original content, especially for the newer channels. Though the second wave of COVID-19 affected near-term ad spends, Edelweiss’ recent research estimates 20-25% revival in ad revenues for broadcasters as things normalise. While most networks have kept fresh content flowing by moving shoots out of Maharashtra even during the lockdown, most fast moving consumer goods companies – the largest contributors to TV advertisements at 60% – have learnt to adapt to the pandemic and will continue with their plans to innovate and expand sales. The research also revealed that the lockdown gave a significant boost to television viewership as people spent more time indoors.

Speaking about the kind of content that is consumed more in the Marathi genre, Nilesh Mayekar

, Business Head, Zee Marathi, said, “Maharashtra is a key market having a good balance of both fiction and non-fiction content that is equally enjoyed by the viewers. We have seen a healthy appetite amongst audiences to consume both the show formats, but our insights also tell us that consumers prefer Family Drama/ Romance the most. Additionally, non-fiction formats like comedy and singing, reality shows also find huge audiences. We have consistently witnessed this trend amongst our popular shows like ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ as well. In urban markets, the audience is more skewed towards the late prime time suspense thriller genre.”

‘Bigg Boss Marathi Season 3, with Mahesh Manjrekar as the show’s host, is enthralling viewers. This season features 15 celebrities. Viraj Raje, Head of Programming, Colors Marathi, commented, “Since the pandemic, the world as one community is facing a very challenging time. Experiencing lockdowns and unlocks, the audience today can relate to the determination and strength displayed by contestants to stay ‘locked-in’ inside the ‘Bigg Boss Marathi’ house for 100 days. Unlocking the entertainment quotient, this season of ‘Bigg Boss Marathi’ is all about showcasing the contestants’ determination in the face of challenges and living with a positive frame of mind.”

Further talking about this season’s theme, he added, “Our overall approach for ‘Bigg Boss Marathi Season 3’ is to celebrate the ‘Marathipan’ by displaying the various cultural nuances of Maharashtra. Be it the design elements inside the house, the tasks, and even naming ‘Weekend ka Daav’ as ‘Chavadi’, we have tried to bring in the true essence to Maharashtra’s rich culture into the show.”

Commenting on the plans regarding new show launches in H2, Zee Marathi’s Mayakar said, “Zee Marathi recently unveiled its new tagline as part of its 22nd anniversary, wherein we also announced the launch of 7 new shows to up the entertainment quotient of our audiences. Each of these shows has an engaging and progressive story-line that reflects the stories and lives of our consumers in the region. We have launched 5 new fiction shows in August, and we have received good response from the audience for these shows. In the upcoming quarter, Zee Marathi has an exciting festival line up comprising new non-fiction properties.”


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