Piyush Sharma, CEO, Zee Living, India and APAC tells us why Living Foodz has appealed to Indian audiences, and efforts to take the brand beyond Television into the Activation, Digital and even food delivery and e-commerce space

Post On : 24-04-2017 | Monday

Piyush Sharma, CEO, Zee Living, India and APAC tells us why Living Foodz has appealed to Indian audiences, and efforts to take the brand beyond Television into the Activation, Digital and even food delivery and e-commerce space


By Simran Sabherwal


Since its launch in September 2015, premium lifestyle channel Living Foodz – part of the Living Entertainment brand of channels owned by the Essel Group - has notched up an impressive 38% market-share in the lifestyle genre (BARC, Alpha Report, Wk 8 to 11, Market Share, NCCS A1, Megacities). Talking about the journey to leadership, Piyush Sharma, CEO, Zee Living, India and APAC says, “For the last 80 weeks, we have had an absolutely unassailable leadership position and have beaten the competition.”



Explaining why Living Foodz has appealed to the audience, Sharma says, “We have created a new benchmark by bringing in international quality programming with the focus being on relevant Indian content.” With the focus on locally curated original content, the channel brought on board a strong line-up of chefs, restaurateurs and food aficionados and showcases both Indian and international cuisines “catering to a consumer who is internationally well-travelled”. While the onus is to target the upwardly mobile Indian, Living Foodz has been investing significantly in its distribution to reach out to consumers beyond the metros. Says Sharma, “When we talk about leadership position, in terms of audience reach and engagement, we have the highest time spent on the channel and the highest reach. This was only possible when we expanded beyond the metros. It’s been a consistent strategy, wherein over a period of time we have really taken the reach not only to the Tier II towns but expanded on a pan-India level.” As per BARC data of the last four weeks, the time spent by an average viewer on Living Foodz channel is 17 minutes and the reach of the channel is around 10 million individuals (TG : 15 – 50, NCCS AB, HSM U).



With the channel garnering eyeballs, advertisers, specifically food and food- related brands, have come forward. What’s interesting is that 50% of the advertisers belong to the non-food category and include brands such as Lufthansa, YepMe, BMW, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, South Africa Tourism, Gyproc, Titan (Jewellery & Watches), Kerala Tourism, Milton, Suzuki, Airtel, Trivago, Maruti, Revital / Suncros (Sun Pharma), Fogg (Vini), Gaana.com. Sharma says that compared to competition, Living Foodz is ahead even on the ad rates front. “We command almost 2.5 to three times of what the market commands. On an average, we command double of what our competitors demand.” Also in terms of revenues, advertising and subscriptions contribute equally to the kitty, i.e., 88% (44% each) while the remaining 12% comes from other sources (on-ground events, etc.). Sharma comments, “The business is cash positive and on an overall level it has broken even within the first year of operation.”



On the Digital front, livingfoodz.com was launched in January 2017 and Sharma says, “We are now the largest online food destination for the food enthusiast community in the country within four months of launch. Besides content, the online platform ensures community engagement. In addition to Television content, we have standalone digital content such as recipes with probably the largest repository of recipes in the country on the Living Foodz website.”

Also part of the ecosystem is Gorb, the online food delivery app launched for the Mumbai market in October 2016, which is an extension to tap into the on-demand economy. Calling it “story of the year in the start-up world”, Sharma says, “This is the total integration of content, community and commerce. We end up creating a food ecosystem which is complete in all aspects - you have a Television media brand, a mobile brand, a digital brand, an on-ground brand -the extension of the brand across all the platforms.”



Going beyond Television, the brand has undertaken strategic partnerships to create engagement opportunities through consumer touch-points - on-ground events and brand franchises. It has launched two B2B franchises - ‘Living Foodz Powerlist Awards’ and also the ‘Epicurean Guild Awards’. In addition, two large format B2C initiatives were also launched – Food Fiesta, started last year and expanded to cover seven cities this year, and ‘Baleno Wicked Weekends’ – a weekend night club activation sponsored by Maruti Suzuki Baleno across six metros. Looking ahead, plans are afoot to create more franchises and have multiple activations in the B2B and B2C space, with focus on large formats.



Committed to expansion of the Living brand, Living Entertainment Enterprises launched the Zee Living brand as a health and entertainment channel in six emerging markets, ie., Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Taiwan and Indonesia. Zee Living is also available in the United States and the Middle East. The Living Foodz brand was also launched in Australia, New Zealand and Africa and will be expanded to other countries soon.


Looking ahead, Sharma’s objectives are clear – to maintain the leadership position of Living Foodz and expand the number of franchises in the activation space. For the website, he has set a target of three million visitors for 2017 and is also looking at the possibility of extending the brand into other areas including merchandise.

Category: Spotlight Volume No: 13 Issue No: 46







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