As CMOs of brands across categories are working to navigate the challenging post-COVID landscape, Rohit Jain, Managing Director Lionsgate South Asia tells us that the power of good content cannot be underestimated. He shares key learnings from the lockdown period, insights into changing consumption patterns and tells us how the brand is devising strategies that are relevant for these extraordinary times.
What was your key learning from the lockdown earlier this year for your brand and overall industry?
Our key learning is that in testing times such as these, do your best to protect your employees, partners and consumers. Digital businesses with library content like ours weren’t affected in terms of consumption, in fact digital consumption has gone up globally but advertising obviously has taken a hit. We don’t think anyone could pre-empt a situation like this but strong, robust businesses and economies will come out of this and make up for the lost time. We are seeing businesses come up with interesting ways to engage with consumers and we are doing the same.
We along with our distribution partners (Telco operators) are studying consumer behaviour minutely and are trying to fill in any gaps that we recognize. E.g. during this period while our core TG is the young adult to mature adults age bracket, we had some kids content on the platform which has seen a huge spike in consumption so we are communicating about our catalogue much more through social media and in app channels so that everyone interested is able to find their pick.
What is one consumer pattern that you pre-empt right now for your sector and overall industry?
Times such as these can result in consumers adopting new habits and products rather rapidly. This could be the time that the penetration of streaming industry increase massively. Adoption of technology to keep oneself entertained at home is picking up and what would have taken months has actually happened in the last 5 weeks. Will this be a temporary behaviour change or will people become accustomed to watching content and even new movies in the comfort of their home? After this threat is over, will all movies release in cinema theatres or mid/small scale movies can release directly on digital to make the model profitable could be one major change in behaviour this pandemic brings to the entertainment industry. What will not change is the demand for great stories and good content especially in tough times. We underestimate the power of content in what it does to people.
The roller coaster ride of emotions it takes people through allows them to be transported out of their everyday challenges. In times like these, quality content has been a massive breather for people all over the world. We are seeing amazing stories back home from the huge viewership our recent premiers Knives Out and John Wick have got, or for that matter what re-runs of Ramayan have been doing. So, with more access and demand, the focus on good content will only increase. We are focusing on innovative ways of bringing great stories to customers like our Friday Blockbusters series which will introduce them to a new world every Friday.
Are you going to increase ad spends on Digital? If yes, by what percentage?
We are a Digital first brand because of the nature of our business and hence our spends are largely Digital with some high Impact ATL for reach. We don’t see that changing, while digital video has grown phenomenally and offers an opportunity to reach masses, the formats such as Outdoor, Print and TV give an opportunity for grandeur and a larger format for advertising which does justice to the brand and creative and will continue for us.
What is one thing that you can avoid doing right now and what is it that you must do right now for your brand?
I think one must avoid force fitting their brand to COVID messaging in the name of moment marketing. Consumption across categories is changing, marketers need to understand how this time period is going to impact their category and brand in the short and long term and devise a strategy around it.