MRP Regime And The Campaigns That Broadcasters Launched

The biggest thing happening in the TV broadcast ecosystem right now, is the consumers’ transition of being the passive receivers of the content, to becoming the active choosers of the same. TRAI’s New Tariff Order that has put the MRP regime into implementation, has single-handedly shaken the nexus between the distribution teams of the broadcasters and the cable operators/ MSOs. It has changed the whole game of the B2B channel sales to now become the B2C sales, expanding the target audience (in terms of sales of channels) for the broadcasters in a big way. Not to say that the broadcasters were not speaking to their consumers earlier, but the need to do that now, and to do that while driving their purchase decisions has just gone through the roof.

The result of this are those many campaigns that have been and are being launched by the broadcasters to convince their consumers to buy the channels and packs. While the campaigns are interesting, let’s take a look at what was the insight behind each of them and what is happening to understand the consumer buying behaviour. All these campaigns are aimed at educating the consumer about the need to switch to choosing the channels and be vigilant about the prices they pay.

In fact, the top four broadcasters – Sony, ZEEL, Star India and Network18 – did come together to launch a campaign that sported protagonists from all networks, trying to educate consumers on the new tariff order.

Campaigns Launched 
ZEEL was the first broadcaster to announce the MRP rates for its channels way back in September 2018, while a few other broadcasters were filing legal suits in the hope of getting the NTO revoked. It was also one of the first broadcasters to start communicating with the consumer, but most talked about campaign in the whole MRP piece, was the #SachMein campaign done by Star India. The broadcaster aimed to educate the consumer of its unbelievably priced Star Value Pack. The national campaign across 8 languages was fronted by the nation’s leading movie and TV stars like like Aamir Khan, Mohanlal, Kamal Hassan, Nagarjuna, Bengali movie star Dev, Kannada movie star Darshan, and Swapnil Joshi, alongside Divyanka Tripathi, Bhumika Gurung, Sushant Singh and more bringing alive the creative thought of the campaign.

Sanjay Gupta, Managing Director, Star India, said, “We believe Entertainment and Sports play a critical role in shaping the nation. By including Sports in the Star Value Pack, we aim to make it accessible to every Indian and thus change the way Sports has been consumed in the country. The Star Value Pack offers viewers the very best from our wide canvas of content across general entertainment, movies, sports and knowledge at unbelievably affordable rates. We have been entertaining, inspiring and serving millions of viewers across India for close to 25 years now, and are delighted to empower the consumer further with even greater choice and value.”

The second leg of campaign from Star India focused on educating the consumers. This was a multilingual campaign across seven languages with the same creative thought.

Times Network launched it’s M.A.N (Movies and News) Pack and a specific campaign to go with it, sporting the hashtag #WowMan. The campaign was created by Famous Innovations. 

While speaking about the campaign, Times Network Spokesperson said, “Times M.A.N (Movies and News) Pack campaign was rolled out in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada across key geographies including HSM, West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Additionally, the campaign had an extensive spread with print ads and innovations across all the editions of leading dailies, radio spots across leading stations and social media and digital marketing across prominent digital mediums.”

In its first campaign on the MRP regime, ZEEL chose the topical analogy of elections through “Channels Ka Chunaav 2019.” 

It brought alive the diversity in demands of the United Indian Family with a clutter breaking multi- avatar visual representation starring favourite actors like Ali Faizal, Akhil Iyer, Siddharth Menon, Hitesh Mulkhani and Pradhuman Singh displaying their versatility as each of them played multi-roles as various members of a family in different regional renditions of the quirky ad, bringing alive the core nuances of each region. 

Prathyusha Agarwal, CMO, ZEEL, said, “We wanted our agency to focus on three aspects – What is the new MRP regime all about? Why buy Zee Channel packs? and How to buy? On the first one, we initiated the communication about the MRP regime, collaborating with the Star, Sony and Viacom 18 networks and brought our most popular lead protagonists together in a promo campaign that speaks about the larger implications of the TRAI mandate for the consumers – the fact that they now have the freedom to make a choice and select the channels and packs they wish to watch and pay for only those.”

For the second answer, the broadcaster launched many campaigns. Of which, showcasing the content, broadcaster launched another campaign “Miss mat karo, Missraji mat bano”. “With consumer research pointing at an emerging purchase pattern wherein people were not evaluating packs and selecting channels individually, we had our protagonists turn influencers to educate the consumers that buying packs has greater value and is a smarter choice than buying channels on an a la carte basis. Lastly, our communications are also constantly evolving as the consumer process keeps changing,” added Agarwal. 

In addition, Zee was the only broadcaster to launch an exclusive campaign for the English entertainment cluster – #WhereIsMyChannel – with two entertaining ad films featuring Bollywood filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and percussion maestro Sivamani as viewers of – Zee Café and &flix. 

Another campaign launched by ZEE was the ‘Pay waali chattri’ campaign that brought the attention to the migration of the networks FTA channels to pay channels. 

Objective of the campaigns
While the underlying thought behind all these campaigns were the educate the consumer, we asked the broadcasters as to what was the objective behind these campaign? What was the brief to the agencies?

Agarwal said, “Our research on subscriber choice modelling and path-to-purchase understanding pointed towards consumers treating television as a family asset wherein each member has their own individual entertainment needs. Our brief to the agency for the Hindi and regional clusters was to reinforce this consumer insight through a disruptive creative that would focus on ‘value’ and establish ZEE’s packs as the best proposition with content offerings cutting across all the top genres catering to 85% of the family’s daily viewing needs. The ZEE English Cluster took a rather differentiated route. The communication brief was to develop a sharp communication based on the insight that the cable operator does not know you and your personal choices, hence, encourage the viewers to choose their preferred channels and indicate their choices to their cable operators.”

For Star, the aim was to spread awareness nationwide amongst TV consumers about its landmark ‘Star Value Pack’ based on the creative thought #SachMein that brings alive the idea that the Star Value Pack has the most compelling channels across entertainment, movies, education and sports at unbelievably affordable prices. Therefore, offering something for everyone in the family. The pack was designed in keeping with Star India’s belief that every Indian should have access to high quality sports content including cricket, kabaddi, football along with their favourite dose of entertainment. The brief was to drive home the enormous value in sports and all genres of entertainment that the Star Value Pack brings to consumers, the Star in-house creative team decided to use an entertaining ‘Reverse Bargaining’ approach to for the communication.

Times Network Spokesperson said, “The communication brief to the agency was to device a differentiated pitch that exemplifies the distinct traits of Times Network’s best in class brands across English Movies and News and move beyond the general focus on price appeal, which most networks based their campaigns on. The objective was to bring out the benefits of the strong bouquet of brands which have a tremendous influence and transformational effect in shaping opinions and lives of smart urban viewers.”

Beyond the campaigns
While the campaigns are a good way to drive your point home, in consumers minds, but you always need that extra effort that will help you make the dent. The broadcasters too went an extra mile in terms of consumer research and engaging with the consumers directly through other means. 

Agarwal said, “With this new regime, the category is witnessing a complete consumer behavior shift. The consumer has now moved from a low involvement to high involvement purchase behavior. Hence, we have actioned an in-depth consumer study to evaluate the triggers and barriers to this purchase pattern.”

The Times Network Spokesperson said, “We keep a constant tab on consumer insights, trends and emerging patterns though our routine brand track studies. The M.A.N pack campaign was an amalgamation of insights gathered from our studies over the years and the ground intelligence of our distribution team, which has a direct interface with our trade partners (DPOs) and end consumers.”

Speaking about the next steps that are being taken to keep hammering the messages, Agarwal said, “As a part of facilitating the last-leg behaviour change, our distribution teams have already done familiarization workshops with the service providers – the MSOs and LCOs and collaborated with them to further educate the end consumers. With the agenda of hand-holding the viewers through this transition and easing them into the new regime, ZEE was the first broadcaster to undertake home visits by our most popular lead protagonists where they sat with select families from across HSM and understood their problems and helped demystify their doubts and confusion.”

Times Network too has a step two of its campaign. While through the first phase of the campaign, it has tapped into households who are active consumers of English content. As the next step, it is engaging with consumers who aspire English content and are willing to move ahead in life by adoption of English language as mainstream.

While measuring the impact of the campaign, Star India has claimed that through a third party independent research report by YouGov Omnibus that collected responses from 1,020 respondents in India in March, analyses the impact of the migration on consumer TV viewing behavior. 46% voted to make Star Value Pack the most popular pack.  ―Adage India

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