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The digital platform has taken Indian television content beyond the idiot box, allowing channels to explore new audiences and enable user interaction.
When the sixth season of Bigg Boss went on air in October, Colors simultaneously launched an app for the show. It offered a unique feature — viewers could watch the live feed from the Bigg Boss house 24x7. The app attracted more than 5 lakh downloads. The channel was aware of the scope the digital medium offered — of reaching out to the audience — but Vivek Srivastava, digital head, Colors, says that the statistics reinforced their belief that viewers engage with a show beyond its airing time.
It may no longer be correct to refer to television as the "small screen". The medium has evolved and its content is also available on any device that can be connected to the internet. General entertainment channels (GECs), for instance, are among those utilising the digital platform. So, Zee TV, apart from a dedicated YouTube partner to air past episodes of on-air shows, also uses social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter to engage the viewer at a personal level. Colors, which launches apps from time to time, organises live chats with actors who enjoy a huge fan following.
Sony, which was distributing content through YouTube and marketing it on social media until recently has now consolidated it all into their new website, Sony Liv. Also available as an app for mobile phones and tablets, it is the channel's way of being the "one-stop shop for its digital content". Ever since it launched in January, it has already crossed 14 lakh downloads. "It is a misconception that internet users in India are mostly young people. With Android phones in the range of Rs 3,000 now available, even drivers and housewives in Tier-II and III cities have access to the internet," says Amit Thaker of Interactive Avenues, an online digital marketing agency that partners with Zee.