“We need to evolve from being a content company to being a consumer company. Using technology that helps us to reach the consumers is going to be a big challenge given the fact that the consumer actually has infinite options to choose from. Sampling of our content by this extremely choosy consumer leading to loyalty will be the changing game going ahead. It calls for a whole new re think of our style of content creation.” Said Mukund Cairae, CEO Middle East & Asia Pacific, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited – Zee Network.
On the occasion of the UAE launch of FM channel 106.2 big fm, MediAvataar MENA had an interaction with Mukund, discussing the strategy going forward and how innovation and charting untapped territories propel any business to further heights.
Here is the complete Q&A….
MediAvataar: Congratulations on the launch of 106.2 big fm in the UAE, please tell us about the content plan for the Station.
Mukund: Thank you. The station is aiming to amplify the music supply to the listeners in the UAE by mixing celebrity MJs (Music Jockeys) like Annu Kapoor, Benny Dayal, Palak Muchal, Gagan Mudgal and Harshdeep Kaur with our own Lavanya, Ujjwal and Arpit. The iconic show from Annu Kapoor called ‘Suhana Safar’ will be on air along with a weekend Sufi music show by Harshdeep Kaur.
MediAvataar: How does it feel to be the only broadcaster in the South Asian space to have both Television and FM stations, what is the business strategy going forward?
Mukund: In our goal to increase our market share, we intend to present a network of options to the advertisers, across mediums. We reach now Hindi speaking, Urdu speaking and Arabic speaking audiences in the MENA region. Going forward we are evaluating more radio stations in the UAE (for now).
MediAvataar: Would you be tweaking the content for this part of the region and how?
Mukund: 80% of the content on the station would be local with barely 20% or so of syndicated content from India. Creating local formats and local content is a key strategy in our business plans ahead.
MediAvataar: Why do you think there is always a need of venturing into untapped markets and innovative businesses?
Mukund: The knowledge flow that stems from going into untapped markets, adds value to the business strategy of any company. For example, understanding that the Arabic TV viewer prefers to watch an hour of content with limited episodes, shaped our business strategy for re-creating our existing series content into episodes that can be exported not only in the Arabic market but also global content markets.
MediAvataar: What is changing the game for broadcasters in MENA and globally?
Mukund: We need to evolve from being a content company to being a consumer company. Using technology that helps us to reach the consumers is going to be a big challenge given the fact that the consumer actually has infinite options to choose from. Sampling of our content by this extremely choosy consumer leading to loyalty will be the changing game going ahead. It calls for a whole new re think of our style of content creation.
MediAvataar: With so many changes and challenges, what do you think is the way forward for broadcasters?
Mukund: Having a dual strategy of linear and non-linear content creation is the way forward for broadcasters and we would need to rethink broad casting itself as it will soon be narrow casting.
MediAvataar: What will 2017 be like for ZEEL in MENA and APAC?
Mukund: In MENA we are looking at creating original Arabic series for the Pan Arab audience. In radio we are looking at 2 more frequencies in the UAE. In the APAC region we are looking at new launches in Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
MediAvataar: What has been one of your most a) gratifying and b) bizarre experiences in your career so far?
Mukund: There have been a lot of both really. Gratifying – I would say the launch of Zee Alwan and it becoming the leader in prime time in Egypt is huge. Bizarre – A Saudi gentleman explaining the family tree of the 4 Khan brothers Shahrukh, Salman, Saif and Aamir Khan. The father was supposed to be Amjad Khan. I didn’t have the courage to correct him.
MediAvataar: One thing you wish you had known when you started off? Your advice to the budding media professionals.
Mukund: How deeply video content affects the socio-political fabric of a country. Knowing the likes and preferences of a consumer is a key to success, so, KNOW your consumer and be receptive to learn as opposed to wanting to teach after a few years.