The Ratha Yatra Festival is a major cultural moment in East India centered around the Hindu Diety “Jagannath” and his siblings. The festival kicks off and ends with processions that are visual spectacles, filled with chariots, dancers, and 1.5 million devotees.

Kanak News, part of the Eastern Media Group and one of the largest TV news channels in Orissa, developed a video strategy to capture and tap into the festival’s audience engagement.

The coverage was focused on three key themes:

  1. Ratha Yatra
    Covering the procession representing the journey of Deities that starts at Jagannath Temple.
  2. Bahuda Yatra
    Covering the procession representing the return of Deities to the Jahannath Temple.
  3. Shoulder Content
    Sharing various ancillary aspects of the procession before, during, and after it took place.

Posting on Facebook was key to Kanak News’ video strategy. By the end of the festival, Kanak News had published 300 videos on Facebook — and had earned more than four million organic video views.

We connected with Liton Choudhury from Kanak News to learn more about their use of video on Facebook to cover the festival.

What are three digital videos from the Ratha Yastra Festival that worked really well?
  1. Creating pre-event buzz in a video with on-the-ground reporting during preparation for the festival.
  2. On-the-ground coverage on Facebook Live as the Ratha Yatra procession took place.
  3. Securing a sound bite from Odia celebrity Barsha on her thoughts on the festival.
How would you describe your overall Facebook video strategy?

Our Facebook video strategy is based on comprehensive coverage of major news in the state of Odisha and across India, taking input from our TV feed. It’s a cross-pollination strategy. We’re sharing mainstream news as covered on TV on Facebook on the same day. We want to create synergy for audience engagement between TV and social media.

What were your goals around your video strategy for Ratha Yatra?

We wanted to maximize noise and audience engagement on Facebook for our reporting on the Ratha Yatra festival. We saw significant engagement and video views from the dedicated content around the event on Facebook. We published 660 posts and 300 videos overall, earning a total reach of 24 million and organic video views of 4.3 million.

Why did you decide to use Facebook Live during the festival procession?

We used Facebook Live to develop a real-time connection with the audience and leverage the higher engagement the Live format provides. We saw good acceptance of the content, and encouraging response in the form of engagement and views.

Can you describe the types of VOD videos you made during the festival?

We created VOD around all the major segments of the festival to provide comprehensive coverage. For instance, we covered on-ground buzz through interviews, temple rituals through studio reporting, and devotee and celebrity bytes through short interviews. Our coverage started three weeks before the festival began.

What advice would you share with other publishers thinking of putting together video on Facebook around an event?

Two tips: Cross-pollinate your off-Facebook content onto Facebook. And do extensive coverage of major cultural moments — it will help build engagement for your Page and traction with your core audience.