Rewind 2020: Innovating with impact, with nostalgia at the core - Ajit Kumar

As we are set to bid adieu to 2020 – a year of major disruptions, global shutdowns, economic rollercoaster due to COVID-19 – there are several lessons and takeaways from this momentous year. Adgully brings its annual review of the year gone by, wherein industry experts analyse the most significant developments and trends of the year and their implications on the coming year as well.

Ajit Kumar, Senior Vice President - Sales and Marketing, Saregama India, recounts the key developments in the media and entertainment sector in 2020, the exponential growth of OTT platforms, the vital role of digital in the entire mix, and looking forward to 2021 amid an unpredictable market scenario.

Also read: Rewind 2020: Prasad Shejale dissects the year in Digital

Developments & disruptions

As we look back at 2020, the global pandemic left a long-lasting effect on every aspect of our lives. However, at the same time, it was interesting to observe how the world very quickly adapted to the new challenges and new opportunities. It was a completely new experience for both consumers and brands. With the sudden restriction on movement, closure of physical outlets, and consumers prioritising safety, digital consumption picked up tremendously during the lockdown and the months following that with people spending a lot of time on social media and other online platforms.

Also, with changing consumer outlook, the nature of marketing witnessed a significant change. Navigating through the new normal forced brands to focus on messaging on the lines of compassion and craft narratives which are reassuring and relatable to consumers. As brands, we need to follow the behavioural shift amongst consumers and communicate in the way they want to consume information, through the right platform and with messaging that is relatable.

Thankfully, we have products which became more like companions during these challenging times. Carvaan became a daily routine for so many, especially the elderly, who were home restricted and continue to be so. Recently, we launched Carvaan Karaoke, which also allows one to have fun singing old melodies with friends and family at home. It comes at the right time, where people would be craving for parties, but can’t go out. This year reaffirmed my belief in this old saying, “Change is the only constant”. 

The year in M&E

The Media and Entertainment sector underwent many challenges, such as rapid changes in consumer behaviour and consumption, stoppages in content production, cancellation of live events and sports, and cuts in advertising spend, which impacted the industries across the eco-system. However, this sector did find a positive territory as demand for entertainment witnessed upward surge. With consumers in lockdown, Digital played a vital role, as consumers were heavily dependent on digital streaming platforms for entertainment, education and work among other activities. This accelerated the exponential growth of OTT platforms; India is currently the world’s fastest growing OTT market. Video games, e-sports, music, radio and podcasts saw a lot of traction and engagement. Brands will surely give more emphasis to digital platform in their marketing plans to strengthen their brand equity.

Looking ahead at 2021

While the market is still unpredictable, we are optimistic that 2021 will bring about a new growth story. We already see early signs of revival as the year ends.

Digital/ e-commerce is here to stay and in this coming year, brands will need to think beyond and explore different strategies to reach out to their audiences. Innovation and data-based marketing would help in the future and people will have to continue upskilling themselves with changing times.

We, as a brand, will focus on understanding consumer behaviour basis data and insights. It would be the key as the way consumers interact/ behave would be different in the post-COVID-19 world as compared to the pre-COVID-19 era. Moving forward, our strategy would be more digitally-driven. Innovating with impact has been our key goal, and we wish to pursue it further – with nostalgia at the core.


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