As it completes two years of operations in India, Viu, the video-on-demand platform by Vuclip and PCCW, has decided to enter the Tamil market with a mix of original and syndicated content. The OTT service plans to launch about five to six originals in Tamil to start with.
Viu’s global strategy is to not only deliver local content, but also to bring international formats and tailor them to be locally relevant, and this is no different in India. Viu has content in Korean, Hindi and Telugu.
Explaining the flavours of various markets, Shantanu Gangane, Chief Marketing Officer, Viu, said, “HSM is the most important market and then comes Telugu, because it consumes both Hindi and Telugu content. The Telugu market has highest video consumption pattern and maximum smartphone penetration. Korean viewing happens across India. Generally we have seen that the number of viewers coming to a show was increasing as the show progressed and more episodes were being launched every week. The viewership goes on increasing through the show, instead of getting a bang in the first episode, which is mostly because of marketing efforts.”
Other than these three languages, Viu had also launched Yaari in the Kannada and Marathi markets. Some of these shows were simulcast on the respective regional GECs too. Simulcast helps a lot in getting new consumers to watch the content on the app. The gameshow Tollywood Superstars has proved that. Since there is very little overlap in the two platforms, the advertisers are seeing a lot of value in this.
The OTT platform has also planned a total of 30 original shows to be launched in 2018. After launching seven shows in the first quarter of 2018, it has announced its thriller show Kaushiki, a comedy film High Jack, new seasons of existing shows like What the Duck and adaptations of popular international entertainment formats such as Tollywood Squares. On the business side, Viu will continue to seek new opportunities for monetisation, distribution and partnerships.
Gangane said, “We are already syndicating our content to other digital and TV platforms outside of India. In India, our content is a part of Zoom’s fixed point chart (FPC) and a few other regional channels too. Syndication is one of the most important streams of revenues.”
The OTT service is adding new distribution partners rapidly. It is also present on Amazon Fire Stick, Xiaomi Televisions, Samsung Galaxy Phones and the platform Daily Hunt. “We will soon be there on the telco platforms too,” said Gangane.
While the legacy platforms like TV and radio have enough reach, digital is still building it up and needs a lot of customer acquisition.
What’s the strategy for Viu’s customer acquisition? Gangane said, “TV builds reach through distribution. If you are distributed well, you only have to churn your audiences. As in case of digital, it is completely a consumer brand wherein the consumer must ask for the app. It is more about bringing audiences from digital to digital, and most audiences that come to you have seen some part of the content, be it the trailer or they are fans of the actors. There are various such touchpoints that can be used on digital. OOH and radio make sense sometimes, but as we are going more into digital, marketing too is looking at a very stringent input-output ratio that is measurable in nature.”
While the marketing dollars are spent on original content, Gangane says people are driven to the app but end up watching syndicated content too.
Marketing of digital content is a little tricky, especially when you have too much competition. He explains the best duration to market the shows, “Marketing depends on a lot of things, clutter in the market because it is a fragmented attention span, star cast and their value on digital. In case of Kaushiki, the star value was high and hence, we marketed it for lesser time, about two weeks.”
The app is downloaded globally nearly 30 million times. The audience consumed more than 17 videos each per week on an average and 1.2-1.8 hours per day. Through its cross-platform partnerships to expand reach, Viu has successfully made its content available to digital and non-digital audiences through content partnership with TV channels like Gemini and StarMaa. Additionally, Viu has had success with advertising partners. One such example is with Hong Kong tourism for It Happened in Hong Kong, a romantic comedy that redefined wanderlust. Vishal Maheshwari, Country Head, Viu India, said, “Since day one, Viu has emphasised global expertise coupled with local execution, as you can clearly see from our track record. We’re doubling down on that for 2018, ramping up our offering of quality originals at an exciting pace and engaging viewers in new ways, including bringing fresh content to the Tamil market. I couldn’t be prouder of what our team has accomplished in India and I’m certain that our best years are ahead.”