The Social Network

The Social Network

Indian television expands its reach through digital medium with mobile phone applications and interactive websites.

Ever since the second season of Dance India Dance L’il Masters went on air last month,it has been averaging at a healthy 6.2 television rating. But the audience clearly cannot have enough of this talent show on Zee. The channel recently launched a mobile application and a website that offers live chats with the show’s judges,dance tutorials by mentors and an opportunity to interact with the contestants. While the application has received 10,000 downloads,the website has had 2,12,852 hits,18 lakh views and 14,642 comments. Akash Chawla,marketing head,National Channels,Zee,believes that with multiple entertainment avenues available at one’s fingertips,viewers expect content to be accessible at all times on the medium of their choice.

The response that the digital content of DID L’il Masters has received may be enviable but is by no means exclusive. Last year,Star Plus became one of India’s first GECs to launch a smart phone application that delivers entertainment through features like TV viewing,missed episodes and show updates. Others followed suit.

UTV Movies revamped its Facebook page to become one of India’s leading online destinations for Bollywood movies. In February 2011,the official Facebook page of Roadies debuted with five lakh fans. The success of Star Plus’ Satyamev Jayate has prompted the launch of an application that allows streaming the thematic song that concludes each episode. This application has made it to the Top 25 category on iPhone Appstore and ranks number 17,beating Instagram at 18. Fox History and Traveller channel hand-picked hosts for the shows Life Mein Ek Baar and The Freaky Traveller via contests on Facebook. “The audience is no longer passive. With increased levels of interaction with brands,the audience is fast becoming co-creator of content,actively involved at every stage. We thus need to adapt to their methods to keep them engrossed,” explains Chawla.

Television programmers agree it’s the best way to engage the tech-savvy generation. “Devices such as iPhone,iPad and smartphones have changed the way people globally consume content. The


application provides show schedules,news and updates through daily audio blogs,” says Lalit Bhagia,VP-Digital,Star India.

Apart from offering an alternative to television viewing,digital media also serve as an effective feedback mechanism,points out Danish Khan,Senior V-P and Head-Marketing,Sony Entertainment Television.

This year,Indian Idol auditions happened online,allowing people to upload videos. “We saw a huge response because it served as a convenient option to waiting for your turn in long queues to audition in distant cities. The internet and digital sphere is a place where one can interact,highlight the brand,create anticipation about new projects and gauge consumer opinion,” adds Khan.