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Regionalising graphics can boost revenues of TV shopping channels: Subodh Nair, Amagi

Home shopping in India has grown with the simple approach of selling a common set of product to all its audience. TV shopping channels are now trying to diversify their product range to craft a targeted shopping experience. For example, while the SD feeds of the channel are used to sell budget smartphones, HD feeds could be used for premium gadgets, aligned with customer demographics. Taking a cue from traditional retailers, TV shopping channels are also capitalising on the phenomenal boost in sales during festive seasons such as Dussehra, Diwali, Eid, Christmas and New Year.

However, home shopping channels continue to face challenges such as optimising product inventory and localising the product pricing information cost-effectively. Further, they are unable to innovate on new revenue models and partnership engagements with MSOs, cable and DTH operators due to the channel’s inability to segment and target diverse regional markets across the country.

Much of these challenges can be traced back to the limitations of traditional broadcast infrastructure that the TV shopping channels use. For channels to segment and target customers with products, traditional broadcast approach calls for setting up separate satellite for fibre-based feeds for each region. Now, that’s an economically unviable model owing to high upfront CAPEX and ongoing OPEX costs, further complicated by the need for multiple regional feeds to address a diverse Indian market. So, imagine 25-30 regional feeds to cover India and the associated overheads!

This is all set to change with recent technological advancements in playout and content delivery. The emergence of cloud-based TV broadcast infrastructure, and ability to regionalise graphics can completely reinvent how shopping channels operate.

How graphics can be customised with intelligent IRDs and cloud

Traditionally, IRDs installed at operator headends have only been used to receive a fully packaged channel feed, and to deliver the channel downstream. However, by linking these IRDs or for that matter even edge playout servers with the cloud, shopping channels can now deliver custom graphics for each headend, while delivering the main channel feed using satellite or fibre. This way, regionalized graphics can be made to mask existing graphics on primary feed at each headend, as determined by custom graphics schedules which are also uploaded to the cloud.

Regionalised calling numbers to optimise inventory and incentivise operators

Ability to regionalise display graphics can, in turn, create interesting business opportunities such as improving customer’s purchase experience with custom tele-calling number for each region. This way, the TV channel can staff product sales team to support different languages and respond to regional cultural nuances better. Obtaining the geo-location data can be immensely insightful to run advanced sales analytics. It could relay information on sales demand so that shopping channels can optimize their inventory at a regional level. Additionally, the custom tele-calling numbers can track the contribution of sales volumes from each operator region. This can facilitate new commercial engagement models with operator headends based on sales performance.

Region-specific festival promotions

Regionalised graphics are an immense boost to the channel’s marketing efforts. The marketing team of any TV shopping channel can leverage the cloud technology to plan and roll-out festive offers targeting each region with specific products. For example, based on historical sales data, a channel can implement custom offers during Navratri for Gujrat, and during X’mas for Goa, while retaining a different festive offer in the other parts of the country.

With increasing internet connectivity and push from the government for digitisation, online shopping and social media are fast-growing trends in India. Yet, television continues to have the widest reach and would remain relevant for a foreseeable future. This confluence of mediums is poised to reshape shopping experience as customers seek out relevant content across screens. TV channels that focus on factors such as regionalisation and social media integration have the most to gain from these recent developments. Ensuring a uniform experience across web, mobile, and TV will be key to success for home shopping channels in India.

(The writer is head of business development, South Asia at Amagi Corporation)