Harit Nagpal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Tata Sky Ltd. explains how the brand targets North India and uses innovations to reach both ends of the market
By Saloni Datta
Tata Sky Ltd, a joint venture between Tata Sons and 21st Century Fox, incorporated in 2001, offers customers interactive services as well as a variety of television channels ranging from entertainment, sports, movies and music to news and documentaries. “We are industry leaders and have done things to move the category,” says Harit Nagpal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Tata Sky Ltd. With a focus on innovations to keep the interest of the customers alive, the brand pushed two major innovations of High Definition (HD) and Everywhere TV this year. “Almost a quarter of our total customer base is sitting on HD and almost half of our new customers are coming in on HD. Almost everybody is buying a flat panel large HD-supporting Television, so we just made HD affordable,” adds Nagpal. “Secondly, customers are spending more time outside homes, and carrying smartphone or tablet devices in their hands which support video. Everywhere TV was essentially launched to make sure that they don’t have to be sitting in front of the TV to watch TV.”
Marketing in the Hindi heartland
The North of India is a more homogenous market compared to the East, West or the South, from the perspective of language. “If you do something in Hindi, it works pretty well upwards of Nagpur, whereas if I have to address the markets of the South, I have to do everything in four languages; for the East, I have to do it in the eastern languages; for the West, I would do it in Gujarati or Marathi. If you have one message, you can use it across the areas. As for the content that we sell, and our packages, there is not a very big difference in the packages for Rajasthan, UP, Haryana, MP or Delhi, but when you start going below these places, even the packages need to be reconsidered keeping the regional languages of that state in mind. So that is why North is a pretty homogenous region both from the perspective of communicating with the consumer, which is advertising, as well as creating packages of channels,” says Nagpal.
“Tata Sky has high brand reach in the North Indian markets,” he adds. “When I travel deep into these markets, I see our brand reaching much further than any competitor. So our reach, visibility, placement, services are available in almost every town there. We don’t need to do separate films for Haryana, UP or Rajasthan, MP or Bihar; whatever you do works for everyone. Whatever we do nationally is for the North, in a way. National is North.”
Choosing media vehicles
While choosing the media vehicles for North, Nagpal feels that going to Television in a regional language does not make sense. “National television is more effective when it comes to the North, whereas local mediums like outdoor, supported by television films, become a little more effective elsewhere, but you can’t always support and make films in 6-8 languages. So it is very rare that you do a television campaign for these places,” he says.
The brand usually uses Print as a medium for area specific campaigns and activities. “Print is normally used for much localized conversations and when we have a very local announcement. This is because it is a very expensive medium. Being a national service, whatever we do happens at the satellite level, which has full coverage of the country, I cannot have one beam for one part and another beam for another part, my rates are also the same across the country,” Nagpal explains.
Challenges faced by the brand
Weather is the biggest challenge that the brand faces in the North region, feels Nagpal. “South has the same weather all year around, but when you go to the North, weather changes from extreme heat to extreme cold,” he says. “The weather affects media consumption habits, because people spend more time inside their homes during winter, hence prime time viewing shifts with that.”
The North also has huge power outage issues; States like UP, Rajasthan, Bihar and Haryana count power by the number of hours they get it and not by the number of hours they don’t get it. According to Nagpal, “Given that situation, especially in summers, it is pointless to advertise on Television because people don’t get to watch TV. Only about 25-30% of the people in these places have a captive source of power such as an inverter or generator. So, in the summers, you don’t use TV as a vehicle as much because it doesn’t reach them. That is a big issue there. So either you don’t run campaigns in the summer or you supplement them with Outdoor or Print.”
With the second phase of digitization only partly covering North India, it is a huge opportunity for DTH brands. Nagpal says that he awaits the third phase, which was supposed to be happening, but got pushed by a year. This will be the first time digitization will move outside the 42 main cities, which even before digitization was fairly digitized.
Brand is a continuum. Commenting on the brand’s plans going ahead, Nagpal says, “We work for both the ends of the market; at the higher end we talk about continued innovations, every year there is something new coming in, and I am sure in 2015 we will have another innovation to interest our customers. As for our mass market, they only seek service, so we have to make sure that we are available near the doorstep of every human being in this country and that is a long term effort.”
“If you do something in Hindi, it works pretty well in the North of India, upwards of Nagpur, whereas if I have to address the markets of the South, I have to do everything in four languages; for the East, I have to do it in the eastern languages; for the West, I would do it in Gujarati or Marathi.”
Harit Nagpal, MD & CEO, Tata Sky Limited