Aishwarya Ramesh

"The objective of the ad is to show how people react to the screen": Anurag Kumar, Tata Sky

In conversation with the chief communication officer at Tata Sky about the new ad campaign and brand purpose.

Recently, leading DTH operator Tata Sky unveiled its new brand purpose with the following statement, ‘Tata Sky exists to make tomorrow better than today for family and home.’ According to a press release, Tata Sky is now present in over 22 million households across India.

Aligned with the new brand purpose, Tata Sky has launched a campaign with the slogan ‘Iss khidki ko khol dala toh life jingalala’. ‘Khidki’ is an embodiment of entertainment which, via Tata Sky, provides moments of emotional gratification in everyday lives of people.

Tata Sky’s new campaign will air on multiple media channels in languages such as Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali and Odia. The long format TVC is a minute-and-a-half long.

The TVC is from the perspective of the TV screen, and one sees the lives of families and groups of friends as they consume entertainment. Social media engagement will be driven through #HarGharKiKhidki campaign that will highlight the emotions of the audience through the lens of Tata Sky.

Over a Zoom call, Sukesh Nayak, chief creative officer of Ogilvy, the agency behind the campaign, mentions that these days, a family tends to spend time in front of the television. And, it’s the element that brings us together.

Sukesh Nayak
Sukesh Nayak

“Whether it’s breaking news, sporting events or anything else, it (TV) acts as a unifier for all of us. It is a new new way of looking at the screen, here is the TV looking at you and telling you what are your thoughts.”

Nayak adds that the creative leap that the agency took was to not just talk about television, but also portray how it acts as a window to the world for someone who is consuming from home.

He explains that in a country like India, TV is the one most common denominator. “Whether it's watching a GEC serial or news – whichever genre they're into, you’ll see a family sit together and watch content on TV.”

Over an online video interview, Tata Sky’s chief communication officer Anurag Kumar mentions that the company’s attempt is to define and write its new brand purpose.

“We did a lot of research to define that statement for ourselves, which was all about one theme – that Tata Sky exists to make tomorrow better than today for our homes and families; families being the typical customers that we serve.”

Kumar explains that since it’s a point of view that people in Tata Sky can stand by, the company and the agency (Ogilvy) decided to transform it into a consumer-facing piece of communication.

The creative expression that the agency came back with was that people always look at the television screen when they consume any form of entertainment. What if the screen were to look at you, instead?

Anurag Kumar
Anurag Kumar

“It was a switch and we liked that new perspective. The screen is then referred to as ‘khidki’ and we used it to show the emotional moments, the happy moments that people have in front of the television screen. We wanted to portray camaraderie, togetherness, etc., and that was what the whole ad is centred on,” Kumar explains.

He delves deeper into the ad, explaining specific visuals. He talks about when people celebrate or look dejected. It could be when something goes wrong in a cricket match. People may be celebrating when a batsman hits a six, or may feel dejected when the wicket-keeper drops a catch.

"The objective of the ad is to show how people react to the screen": Anurag Kumar, Tata Sky

He points out that when you see children celebrating gleefully, it could possibly be when their favourite wrestler wins a match. Kumar adds that the Tata Sky remote is also clearly seen so it’s an indicator of TV being watched.

"The objective of the ad is to show how people react to the screen": Anurag Kumar, Tata Sky

“The objective of the ad is less to say that the people are watching OTT or TV content, but more about how the people are consuming content and reacting to the screen.”

Kumar says Tata Sky is a television-led business, but it also dabbles in OTT with its product, the Binge Box. “You’ll also notice that the last frame of the ad features a mobile screen. It could be a nod to the fact that you can watch both on demand content and TV content on the app.”

He explains that typically, when there is a big breaking news and people are walking down the street, they could pause and watch the news on the television. There’s a scene where people watch the news that has been captured there.

"The objective of the ad is to show how people react to the screen": Anurag Kumar, Tata Sky

Similarly, there’s a scene where people are watching TV, while at a shop. “This is a statement we have heard while talking to our customers. People have come on board with us as subscribers after they spotted the TV in their friend’s shop (not their friend’s house) and they liked the picture quality,” explains Kumar.

"The objective of the ad is to show how people react to the screen": Anurag Kumar, Tata Sky

TV is consumed for about three-and-a-half hours daily on an average in India, but a lot of it actually happens when people are multitasking. The ad acknowledges this with a shot that has a woman doing some household work, while the TV is on.

“The woman isn’t engaged by the TV – but it is still on. The idea was not to show that everyone is glued to the screen. We wanted to show how some people actually consume television – which is fairly passive.”

"The objective of the ad is to show how people react to the screen": Anurag Kumar, Tata Sky

He calls some of the viewing active, referring to the shots where the people are leaning forward in anticipation, probably when the batsman is bowling the last ball... But, otherwise, it is fairly passive.

"The objective of the ad is to show how people react to the screen": Anurag Kumar, Tata Sky

During the initial days of the COVID-induced lockdown, Kumar recalls that Tata Sky saw many people reactivating their subscriptions. There was a period when there was very little new content or live sports events on TV.

“From April to June 2020, we saw a lot of people realising that there's not too much on television. Some who had reactivated their subscriptions in March, actually deactivated their subscriptions because they realised there wasn't anything new to watch.”

After July, Kumar says, we started to see stability return when fresh content came back on television. September onwards, the Indian Premier League (IPL) came back, which provided a big boost.

“The good news is that despite the lockdown, the DTH sector as an industry grew its subscriber base. Some fluctuations up and down were bound to happen, given the enormity of the pandemic and what we were experiencing. But overall, the underlying trend is that growth continues to be robust.”

According to Kumar, “appointment viewing – which is classic television and video-on-demand (OTT services) – will coexist. OTT services only cover a small part of India. The majority of India tunes in to TV.”