Namah Chawla

“The new name stands for a broader definition of entertainment”: Anurag Kumar, on Tata Sky to Tata Play

Tata Play's chief communication officer on the newly revamped brand identity.

Tata Sky, as a brand, has a high recall value. It has always worked in the brand’s favour to market its DTH and Pay TV services. Be it the tagline ‘Life Jingalala’ or the celebrity-led communication, the brand’s advertising and marketing has helped it to become a vital part of the media and entertainment industry over the last 15 years.

Tata Sky recently announced a change in its name and identity to ‘Tata Play’. But why did the brand decide to give up on its identity that resonated so well with the audiences over the years?

“Tata Sky was launched in early 2000s. From then till now, the content consumption trajectory in India has evolved quite a bit. Tata Sky has always been synonymous with television and DTH service. Even though we offer products like ‘Tata Sky Binge’ (an aggregator OTT offering), most people still identify the brand with just TV,” Anurag Kumar, chief communications officer, Tata Play, tells afaqs!.

"Even though we offer products like ‘Tata Sky Binge’ (an aggregator OTT offering), most people still identify the brand with just TV."
Anurag Kumar, Tata Play
<div class="paragraphs"><p><strong>Anurag Kumar</strong></p></div>

Anurag Kumar

Due to the fast-changing content landscape, the brand was eager to reposition itself as a place that provides all forms of content, irrespective of the technology used to distribute it. “The repositioning to the new name ‘Tata Play’ stands for the broader definition of entertainment that the brand wants to provide to its customers,” shares Kumar.

However, changing its name that has been beneficial for it since its inception, comes with its own set of risks. So, what will the brand retain in this rebranding process, and what will change?

Kumar points out, “The brand will retain the things that have always worked well for it. Therefore, one of the things we have retained is the trust of the ‘Tata’ brand. Our risk analysis shows that if we’re able to land the change successfully to the customers, it will actually pay us back more than what we will end up losing with the change.”

"The brand will retain the things that have always worked well for it. Therefore, one of the things we have retained is the trust of the ‘Tata’ brand."
Anurag Kumar, Tata Play

The brand wants to continue to provide quality entertainment and constantly innovate to make space for improved services for its customers. It also wants to add elements of youthfulness and fun to the new identity.

The new identity has been created by venturethree, London (an independent brand company that specializes in brand strategy and brand experience) and the rebranding campaign has been designed by Ogilvy India.

The brief given to venturethree, Kumar shares, was to remain true to the existing brand purpose, have a name that is easy to recall and is distinctive, and make the name travel across businesses.

venturethree created the brand identity, taking inspiration from the Tata brand itself. It chose a brand system that has lived up to, and gone beyond, what the brand was trying to create.

According to the brand, ‘Tata Play’ was chosen, as it builds on the legacy of Tata Sky, and yet offers immense potential for growth. The word ‘Play’ injects youthfulness, fun, ease and simplicity to the trust and quality credentials that the Tata brand has established in India.

Ogilvy had to then translate this into communication – both above and below the line – to create something which is entertaining and lands the message with impact. The brief to the creative agency was that Tata Play needed celebrities who would provide a character to the new brand name.

Once the right celebs were chosen, the brand had to come up with the best way to use them in order to convey the message of the changed identity. “The advertising aims to entertain the audiences, rather than just convey the news of the brand changing its name,” adds Kumar.

In addition to these celeb-led ad films, the brand has undertaken a massive social media campaign. It has engaged with about 230 macro, micro and nano influencers across genres to help it spread the word. RJ Karishma, Awez Darbar, Mahhi Vijj, Hina Khan, Gauahar Khan, Ankita Lokhande, Kishwer Merchant, among others, are a part of the campaign.

These influencers highlight different communication pegs of rebranding, like the name change, Netflix on Tata Play, binge combos, and other specific Tata Play offerings.

In 2019, the DTH brand had launched ‘Binge’ service on Fire TV Stick. Then, in 2021, the extension of this OTT content aggregator service, ‘Binge Mobile App’, was launched. The app, available on both Android and iOS, allowed Tata Sky subscribers to access 12 OTT services, including the likes of Disney+ Hotstar Premium, ZEE5, SunNxt, Hungama Play, Eros Now, ShemarooMe, Voot Select, Voot Kids, SonyLIV and CuriosityStream content for a subscription fee of Rs 299.

Kumar says, “Now, the streaming platform Netflix has also been added to the suite of Tata Play’s partner apps.”

The Tata Sky Binge app has been bundled together with TV channels in one pack, called ‘Binge Combo Pack’. People can now get both TV and OTT apps together by paying a single subscription fee.

“We have made the entire content distribution and subscription process seamless for the customer. We believe that this will actually bring massive benefit of convenience and be a big driver for people to subscribe to the brand,” explains Kumar.

While it may be easy to change the brand name and implement the new identity across all the digital resources of a brand, changing the name on hardware, like the set-top box, remote and dish, is a slow and challenging process.

Kumar mentions, “Once you switch on the TV, the entire user interface that you see, is controlled by the software in the set-top box, which is being updated now.”

So, when the users interact with the software and what they will see on the TV screen or the mobile app, will be the new branding. The brand is currently not in a position to replace the hardware (set-top box, remote control or dish antenna) in a customer’s house, and that may take some time to update.

“However, as new customers are added and the existing ones go for replacements, we (the brand) will get the new hardware, with Tata Play’s branding, installed,” Kumar signs off.

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