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Radio industry not giving a fair deal to music labels, says Vikram Mehra of Saregama India

In an interaction with BestMediaInfo.com, the Managing Director of Saregama, India, says that despite music being the core of radio, FM channels are not paying music labels enough for content. He talks about the need for OTT platforms to reduce subscription charges and shares growth plans of Carvaan, Saregama’s portable music playing device

Vikram Mehra

Although music is the backbone of India’s radio industry, FM players are not willing to give a fair share of royalty fee to record companies, says Vikram Mehra, Managing Director of Saregama India.

In a conversation with BestMediaInfo.com, Mehra said India’s radio industry is underpaying the music records.

“The Rs 3,500 crore radio industry is still paying only 2% of the top line towards the content despite their operations being completely dependent on that,” Mehra said. 

“The philosophy has to be very clear, if you don’t pay for good quality content, you won’t get it. The producers who make good content need to be paid. We strongly believe we are very underpaid as far the radio industry is concerned, not a very sustainable position. All we are asking for is a fair share, because we are working very hard to increase the quality of music content being produced,” he said.

According to Mehra, both the industries should sit across the table and sort out the issue.

OTT apps should reduce subscription fee if they want volume

Speaking on the revenue growth of OTT platforms, Mehra said, “I think the OTT platforms will start getting more subscriptions if they decrease the subscription charges.”

According to Mehra, the OTT platforms are not doing enough to turn the entire OTT economy into a subscription-based economy. The moment these platforms bring the price barrier down, and put some amount of content which is only available behind the subscription wall, the subscription economy will rise automatically.”

Speaking on competition with OTT platforms, Mehra, said, “We are the content providers, as a music label we don’t consider OTT as our competition, they are our partners, our success depends on their success. Saregama has no ambitions to launch a music app of ours. We will be the company that provides music, web series and films that will run on each of these platforms.”

“We are working with Netflix, Hotstar, Gaana, Savan, Amazon Prime, Apple and Google. We see huge growth in the OTT sector where we license our movies and music,” he added.

Growth strategy for Carvaan

Highlighting the growth opportunity for the company’s portable music streaming device Carvaan, Mehra said, “Digital-streaming apps are definitely a way forward in today’s era, but there are a large number of people who don’t want to consume content through digital streaming apps. For such an audience, we have launched Carvaan.”

“There is a very big market sitting right now for people who are above the age of 40. These are the people who want to sit back and relax with the sooth of retro music. Thinking of this, we launched a product, Carvaan. With this product, we don’t want to reinvent something but want to cater to the masses, especially the age group of 40 and above who don’t want to control the content they are consuming,” he added.

Carvaan recently added three new products — Carvaan Go, Carvaan Mini Rabindrasangeet and Carvaan Punjabi.

Carvaan Go is specially designed for people who are always on the go, primarily for people who live an active life. Punjabi and Carvaan Mini Rabindrasangeet cater to the regional markets. The brand eyes a larger market for all of its products as there is no barrier to one’s choice of listening to music.

“A niche in India is the size of many small countries across the globe. West Bengal is a massive market, a music crazy people. Similarly with Punjabi, which now has a country-wide appeal, Punjabi Carvaan is not just going to run in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana or UP market but there is a massive market of the product outside India in countries such as the UK, US and Canada. We are focused to find segments in other countries and customising our product segments – Carvaan and Mini for them,” Mehra said.

Speaking on the marketing plans for Carvaan, Mehra said, “We have aggressive marketing plans for Carvaan. We are planning a set of campaigns for the next three quarters of FY 19-20, which will give reasons to people on why to buy Carvaan. We have also planned a lot of below-the-line activities to demonstrate our product in both large towns and small towns. For our sub-brands Carvaan Go, Carvaan Marathi, Punjabi and Carvaan Mini Rabindrasangeet, we are planning to create awareness about the product.”

The Womb had recently created a campaign #ThankYou for Saregama’s Carvaan. Through this campaign, the brand urges youngsters to express their gratitude to the people who have made difference in their lives – be it parents, relatives or a teacher – by gifting them Carvaan.

According to Mehra, FY 18-19 was very productive for the brand. “We have received every major award on the set of marketing and innovation in India, Asia and globally. We seem to be somewhere on the right track, we can’t be happier than this,” he said.

Speaking on the future plans, Mehra said, “The only plan I have is to sell more Carvaan, make more music and sell it, make more new films under Yoodlee Films productions and sell them. For the company, music licensing is the core along with other businesses such as Carvaan and Yoodlee Films.”

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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