About Times Now:
‘Times Now’ is one of the most watched english news channel of India. Recently India, the world’s largest democracy, witnessed one of the biggest electoral election in its history. The year 2014 turned out to be the biggest election in the country’s history of election polls with about 81.4 crore eligible voters out of the whole population of 120 crores. This election was quite unique in nature as there were around 10 crore new and young voters waiting to cast their vote and contribute in making a difference. Totally, there were 84 political parties with more than 5000 candidates vying for 543 seats to form the government. Over 563 million men and women exercised their right of casting vote in the election and were directly engaged in choosing and forming a new government. The aim of Times Now was to capture this historic moment and present it to a large pool of audience across nations with a thorough and in-depth analysis regarding the mood and opinion of the people.
Business Objectives of Times Now:
- Occupy the top spot and be the Number 1 among all channels/platforms during the week of election results and also on the main result day.
- Get highest viewership on air and through the no. of interactions on social media channel.
- Connect with the global audience through live streaming on Times Square on the result day i.e. May 16.
- Ensure that the election results are displayed timely and in the most accurate manner.
- Integrate different social media channels and reaching out to a large pool of audience.
Strategy/Approach adopted by Times Now:
To achieve the campaign objectives, Times Now ensured that the content provided across different platforms and information dissemination to its audience is done in a proactive manner. Times Now focused on using a blend of mobile applications, social networks, live feeds and SMS service to ensure that their audience can be fed with updated election news during 90 days.
- Times Now mainly used Twitter in reaching out to its audience. Since, the channel broadcasts news in english, they have a huge fan following in this social media platform. The whole campaign was largely driven by the content of television but was strengthened by social media.
- The channel used Twitter sentiments to create on air components, thus creating cross-platform content integration. A lot of buzz was created on Twitter during the counting week starting from 8th May. Hashtags were used in abundance to reach out to people and initiate conversations. Hashtags like #PollofPolls, #MegaExitPolls, #ModiSpeaksToArnab, #Results2014, #May16WithArnab, #Modiat7RCR and #TimesNowatTimesSquare were not only trending in India, but also globally. A mix of conversation drivers and pre-event seeding were used.
- A good example was the interview with the Bharitya Janta Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. As the story broke out in the morning and the airing was scheduled for evening, the team was short of time as there were just twelve hours for creating a buzz on Twitter. The team worked out in such a manner to engage people so that a lot of conversations occur around the hashtag. They created vines from the recorded episode to build curiosity and anticipation, using quotes/images and pushing out reminders to tune in at 9 pm, the time the episode was to be telecasted for the first time.
- On15th May, a day before the actual results, aiming to create brand recall and enhanced viewership, a contest was run(for the very first time from the channel’s official twitter handle) which asked people’s views on various issues which will be addressed on the main counting day.
- The response to the contest was massive and overwhelming. The hashtag #May16WithArnab was trending globally on both days. The main idea behind the coining up of hashtags was to keep them simple, easy to insert & use in conversations in relevance to the day’s news.
- Another strategy was to make updates on Twitter accessible to the audience for all major events like live debates, exit polls, actual votes counting day and government formation via SMS through“TimesNowLive”. It also invoved regular news updates on Google+ and Facebook while keeping the same hashtag in order to maintain continuity. Same news were displayed on screen regularly for driving maximum recall.
Times Now also launched an exclusive election mobile app, during the campaign. This app not only brought video content and live feed about the election programming for the viewers but also enabled them with an opportunity to interact among each other and the channel. This provided the users with an enticing second screen experience, therefore, enhanced audience engagement.
The complete election coverage was available on Youtube in the form of live feed. All this was a part of an election hub specially created by Google for this big event. Another strategy was to use vine videos strategically throughout the election campaign for promoting stand-alone events like debates, breaking news, and interviews etc.
- For six days, more than 10 hashtags were trending globally with#May16WithArnab and #Results2014 being the top trends worldwide on 15th as well as 16th May.
- Around 100+ hashtags trended throughout the 90 days of election coverage on the channel.
- More than 400 million potential impressions were generated by the hashtags on Twitter during the final result counting week.
- By using the new Tweet to SMS service, Times now were able to provide updates of the election results to over 38,000 people directly on their mobile phones via SMS.
- Times Now was able to garner 3.8 lakh+ followers during the campaign period.
Times Now Indian Election HQ Mobile App:
- Times Now mobile app got 1,00,000 plus downloads in just 2 weeks with over 1.5 million page views via the app, and more than 3.5 lakh live feed views & over 4.5 lakh video views.
- The mobile app was one of the featured app on Apple, Windows and Android during the election week.
- More than 4 lakh audience logged in on the channel’s live feed on Youtube to watch the live coverage of election’s result counting day.
- YouTube channel of Times Now fetched more than 1.5 million views on the election’s video content in just 15 days.
- This case study is a very unique example of strategic integration of different social media channels.
- It displays the advantages of careful cross-platform content integration of social media channels like Twitter with the more traditional mode of promotion like television and thus expanding reach.
- Creating a social media marketing campaign around an event like parliamentary elections which involves the whole nation, gives the campaign a boost while enhancing the opportunity of expanding reach and engagement.
- Use of relevant hashtags also helps in increasing reach and engagement in the form of conversations, reply, and re-tweets etc.
- Use of teaser videos, clips, quotes etc. before the actual broadcast of an important event like an interview or a debate enhances the curiosity and anticipation resulting in increasing the no. of views.
- Use of mobile app further elevates the opportunity of getting connected with the audience on the move by the way of SMS and live updates/feeds. This helps in boosting audience engagement.
Image source: Google images