| 25 Oct 2021
Prashant Chothani: Brands should tap the aspirations of Bhojpuri audiences

Media Worldwide director Prashant Chothani

Sangeet Bhojpuri and Bangla

In the last couple of years, the Bhojpuri industry has remained rather stagnant and as a result, there has been lack of new channels and quality content. While there are some channels that cater to the market, they fail to provide Bhojpuri content. The channels that exist play music, however, it is not pure Bhojpuri. The Bhojpuri speaking audience is scattered around India. In Mumbai, there is a large Bhojpuri speaking audience. As part of our understanding the market, we understood that this audience should be targeted based on their needs and choice. Sangeet Bhojpuri is a Bhojpuri channel that does not camouflage Bollywood content in the channel.

For Sangeet Bangla, it took us five years to set the market according to the expectation of the companies. We know it takes a lot of time to grow. That is why we are still positive about the Bhojpuri market. The only difference is that the Bhojpuri market includes a lot of Hindi content. This is not the case for the Bangla market. In Bengal people like to speak in Bengali and enjoy content in the same language.

Bhojpuri and Bangla industry in the last few years

Compared to any other industry there is lot that needs to be done in terms of production. We have understood it and are optimistic in improving it over years.

It took us three- four years to establish ourselves in the Bangla industry. After which many Bangla channels were launched in the last couple of years. Once the space is available for growth, then competitors in the industry appear.

2013 for both spaces

In the Bhojpuri market, advertising revenue is sizably small. It is not an attractive market for many broadcasters. But I strongly believe that after content is built in the industry, we will have more and more advertisers coming to us. There is a perception that Bhojpuri is an unattractive market but that is not the case. But to attract brands, broadcasters need to understand that have to create content that drives the market. In the last few quarter, we were consistent and persistently followed up with the needs of the audiences.

The brands say they want to go rural as there is more consumption in the rural market, but that is untrue. The space is still not fully understood. We are trying to make advertisers believe that audiences also have aspirations and the brands should tap into them. We grew 100 per cent last year and we expect to grow 100 per cent in the coming year, but even then it is not enough. We need to have mass consumption before we really talk numbers. Our objective is to see a stronger Bhojpuri market. Good content can only start a good chain.

In the Bengali music industry, we have grown by 40 per cent year on year. It is doing very well. It is the number one music channel in the region because of its content.

In the last quarter we had advertisers across properties and title sponsors who were willing to contribute to it. Today, FMCG and Telecos are looking at the Bengali market to expand like most other regional spaces.

Plans for 2014

We have tried to introduce Bhojpuri films on our channel. Last month we analysed the market to understand whether our Bhojpuri audience was enjoying the Bhojpuri films. We had introduced the 15 day Bhojpuri festival on our channel. The responses were encouraging and we understood that the industry was receptive to Bhojpuri movies. We have decided to air Bhojpuri films in the first week of every month. We also plan to promote a lot of Bhojpuri films which will help promote Bhojpuri music.

We want to encourage Bhojpuri film-makers and music producers through our services. We are trying to provide to the industry end-to-end solutions.

If the ministry sanctions licenses than we will have additional channels in regional space. For the last few years, we wanted to expand in the Marathi music industry and that is still in pipeline. We are looking at expanding one more channel in the Bengali space.