&TV undergoes brand refresh, fortifies line-up with slew of new shows

&TV, the flagship Hindi GEC amongst the ‘&’ bouquet of channels from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), has unveiled its new channel refresh campaign – ‘Hai Khaas Har Andaaz’. Multiple personas and passions have always existed, but the difference is, today people are willing to embrace every facet of themselves and not sacrifice one for the other. It is this aspect of the new ‘&dian’ that &TV is tapping into through its refreshed show line-up and the channel campaign. 

Created by Lowe Lintas, the new channel refresh campaign premieres this weekend, breaking first on its new live signing reality show for kids, ‘Love Me India’, at 9.00 pm on &TV. 

Since its launch in 2015, &TV has built a strong connect with the audience through its unique and unconventional stories, characters and values, reflected in shows like ‘Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain’, ‘Meri Hanikarak Biwi’, ‘Badho Bahu’ and ‘Laal Ishq’, among others. &TV’s varied narratives resonated with the new age audience and now, the channel is geared up to push the boundaries further with the brand refresh and an all new show line-up. 

Punit Misra, CEO, ZEEL - India Broadcast Business, commented, “As India’s No.1 entertainment network, it is our endeavour to fulfill the entertainment needs of every viewer segment. We believe &TV, the youngest GEC in the ZEEL portfolio, is best suited to cater to &dians – the multifaceted, progressive, young urban viewers who want to be more. With our unique brand point-of-view led content creation approach, the &TV team has crafted stories and characters that &dians will fall in love with.” 

Prathyusha Agarwal, CMO, ZEEL, added here, “The ‘&’ brand in our portfolio aims to disrupt the entertainment space with content that caters to the nonconformist &dian mindset. Our new brand campaign, ‘Hai Khaas Har Andaaz’, is pegged on a simple premise – today’s Indian is multi-dimensional in their thoughts, actions and aspirations and seamlessly traverse between their many roles in life and excel in each. It’s truly an ‘&’ and not an ‘or’ world for them as they add meaning to and fulfil every relationship, value themselves and their work, go beyond what society expects them to and actualise all their &s along the way. Through this campaign, we celebrate this ability of an &dian to expand the canvas to accomplish their desires and the multiplicity idea captures their diverse hues in full glory.” 

Bringing alive the essence of the new channel thought of ‘Hai Khaas Har Andaaz’, &TV has lined up a slew of new shows in the coming months, starting off with the recently launched ‘Perfect Pati’, two upcoming big-ticket properties and more in the offering. ‘Perfect Pati’ introduces actress Jaya Prada for the first time on television as Rajyashree Rathod – a multifaceted, progressive woman and influencer in her society, and new age saas. 

In non-fiction, &TV will launch ‘Love Me India’, a live kids’ singing reality show. For the first time ever in the history of reality television in India, advanced technology will be used to empower the audience to have the highest voting power and viewers choose their favourite singer from the audition phase itself right until selecting the winner of show. Guru Randhawa, Himesh Reshammiya and Neha Bhasin are the three judges on the show, along with four zonal captains – Abhijeet Sawant, Anusha Mani, Bhoomi Trivedi and Navraj Hans. 

Widening its bouquet of fiction offerings, the channel will present an epic fantasy – ‘Vikram Betaal Ki Rahasya Gaatha’, which promises to be a visual extravaganza. 

Vishnu Shankar, Head, &TV, remarked, “As society develops and people’s ethos progress, we capture the change and reflect this sentiment in the entertainment we provide to our audience. Ever since its inception, we at &TV believe in psychographics, not demographics – targeting a contemporary, blooming mindset. Our new brand campaign pays tribute to today’s &dian. As we move forward, we will present Khaas stories and engage our viewers in our unique Andaaz, in line with the brand motto.” 

As &TV grows onwards and upwards, the channel identity will reflect in its content design and show line-up in the months to come.

Adgully spoke to Prathyusha Agarwal, CMO, ZEEL, and Vishnu Shankar, Head, &TV, to know more about &TV’s brand refresh, content and marketing plans, the channel’s journey in its three-year existence and more. Excerpts: 

What is the thought behind the ‘Hai Khaas Har Andaaz’ campaign? Why launch the campaign now?
Prathyusha Agarwal: We always start any campaign with the viewer in sight. That is the internal approach that we champion. We want to understand the channel point of view and that comes from understanding where is the audience need gap. Then we get to communications. &TV has launched very well and has seen an upward trend. So, what we wanted to find out was – what’s working for &TV? 

I as an ‘&dian’ identify more with the characters that are here. The viewers defined themselves a little more than the traditional roles given to them by society. There is a completely self-assured way of doing it. In fact, the viewer research that we did around this campaign revealed that 17-year old girls no longer prescribe to the life of sacrifice and hand work depicted by traditional roles played by women. There is a whole new bunch of &dians on this journey of self-discovery and we thought how to celebrate those aspects. That’s how this campaign came about and a whole bunch of new content like ‘Perfect Pati’ was developed with that thinking in mind. 

When you are on that journey putting out new shows, it is always good to get a channel invitation. To share some numbers, if the overall GECs get some 140 million viewers last month (top three GECs get that) &TV gets a 113.5 million. We are already large and we felt that now was the time to reinforce our brand identity. It’s been three years, so we believe now is a good time to recharge and take that leap. 

One of your marquee shows, ‘The Voice India’, has moved to another channel. How do you plan to fill that void that is left behind?
Vishnu Shankar: Every channel has its launch and sustenance period. When we first launched, we brought in ‘The Voice’ and we had a good run with it for three years. It really worked well for us. But if you look at ‘Love Me India’, it is a first of its kind kids’ reality singing show, where we – in line with our slogan ‘Hai Khaas Har Andaaz’ – shift the power to the viewers. So, if I take the first 48 contestants that have qualified for the show, they have been selected by the audience. First, we took every contestant’s profile and put it on the digital platform (ZEE5). That was one part of it. 

The voting is done live and the selection of contestants is more in the hands of the viewers than the judges. We have enhanced the engagement with our audiences by encouraging community viewing. We have brought in Guru Randhawa, who is currently a sensation with the young viewers in India, as one of the judges. 

Prathyusha Agarwal: What really excited me when we introduced this concept was – we were doing some research on singing reality shows to find out what is exciting. We found out that the excitement of anticipating the winner was a big emotional high for the viewer. 

In ‘Love Me India’, there is a hydraulic two-level stage. The kids are standing on that stage while the live community voting is happening. As the votes come in, the heart-shaped stage will keep rising and that will feed into the emotional high that the viewer is experiencing. That drama will play out very well for the show. 

A lot of properties have been attached to the folklore of Vikram and Betaal. How will you infuse freshness in your take on this legend in ‘Vikram Betaal Ki Rahasya Gaatha’?
Vishnu Shankar: This folklore has always been viewed in a very conventional way in the past. What we have done in our take on Vikram and Betaal is introduce a new character called ‘Bhadrikaal’. You will see a different version of Betaal on our show, compared to how he has been portrayed in previous shows. Visually he will be presented in a different avatar and that too with Makarand playing the role of Betaal. There are three unique characters in the show – Badrikaal, who represents power; wise Betaal; and then you have the courageous Vikram. 

Even though we are picking out those classic stories, the context has changed in today’s time. We will be telling those stories in today’s context, even though we are telling the same classic stories. The answers that Vikram gives Betaal will be different this time and be more relevant in today’s environment. 

Prathyusha Agarwal: There are three big elements in the show that are a hook for the viewers. First is the eternal tussle between good and evil. Next you have powerful characters like Betaal being played by actors like Makarand, who breathes life into the character. The last element is adapting the stories, the questions and the answers to reflect today’s mindset. They are classic stories, but new age answers. 

Who are the advertisers on board?
Prathyusha Agarwal: We showcased the show to the advertisers a month in advance and we are really excited to have some guys on board already. We have partners at the overall channel level and for each individual show. There is B-Tex, Mili – Wagh Bakri Tea Group, and Suhana Masala. These guys are already on board for the overall channel refresh, which is the brand campaign. We also have partners for ‘Love Me India’, ‘Perfect Pati’ and ‘Vikram Betaal’. Our sales team has captured the festive season quite well. In fact, we are always oversold on inventory. 

Which production houses have you tied up with for these TV shows?
Vishnu Shankar: For ‘Vikram Betaal’, we have Peninsula Pictures. ‘Love Me India’ is produced done by Essel Vision Productions, the production arm of ZEEL. 

This is the first time that you have expanded into the fantasy genre in your show offerings? What is the thinking behind it? Who is your TG?
Vishnu Shankar: A complete family entertainment package is what we are. We want a PAN-India audience. 

Prathyusha Agarwal: The thinking is that as the clock strikes 9, the family gets together in front of the TV. 

Three years have passed since the launch of &TV. Where are you placed now and going forward where do you want to be?
Vishnu Shankar: We had one of the best channel launches in the past decade. We have a 4.5 per cent market share and in three short years we have created many marquee properties like ‘Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain’, ‘Badho Bahu’, ‘Gangaa’, and ‘The Voice India’ in such a short span of time. With our campaign, we want to add that ‘&’ factor to each and every one of our content. 

Prathyusha Agarwal: &TV has always had an over-indexed brand power, and with good content in the pipeline, we have been growing in the last three quarters. We had a fabulous run with ‘Laal Ishq’, which got us new viewers, and with our new content we hope to bring in even more viewers. In product life cycles, you need that bump that will carry you to the next growth phase. 

What is the ‘&’ factor and the perception of &TV?
Prathyusha Agarwal: When you talk about brand perception and brand power – with all the others being 25-year-old brands and &TV is a three-year-old brand that tosses around at No. 4 and No. 5 on brand power. It is much more indexed than its share with its diverse content, characters that are unique and different, and the look and feel of the shows that appeal to the aspiring &dian. If you look at our audience profile, around 35 per cent come from the metros, which is highest for any Hindi GEC. 39 per cent is NCCS (New Consumer Classification System) A, which is again quite over-indexed. When we talk about the ‘&’ factor, it is the unique twist on traditional stories that we tell with iconic actors playing the roles of these characters. It is the same with marketing, where we introduce innovations like live voting, hydraulic stage, and community viewing in smaller towns where there will all come together engage with the contestants and vote for them. That is all part of the ‘&’ factor. 

What forms the core of your marketing strategy?
Prathyusha Agarwal: We always ask ourselves what is the viewer insight and the big idea. In this case, the viewer insight was that ‘Main Ek Nahi, Main More Hoon’. Today’s digital savvy viewers adopt multiple personas online. Our marketing really captures that spirit. The visual treatment in our campaign brings out the multi-faceted theme really well. We have an experience zone that helps viewers explore their multiple facets. Marketing is really going to take the ideas of ‘Main Ek Nahi, Main More Hoon’ and ‘Hai Khaas Har Andaaz’ and amplify that in a big way. It will involve TV, a 30-towns print plan, on ground, as well as digital. People want to live out their different avatars and we give them an opportunity to do just that through our marketing. On television, there will be the promo films and the campaign will go full throttle.


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