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Quick five with Ping Digital’s Prashanto Das

11-April-2013
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Quick five with Ping Digital’s Prashanto Das

Today, marketers are increasingly switching their focus to generating video content as part of their digital communication plans. In a market like India, where data consumption is on a high, there are specialised online video generating networks mushrooming. Ping Digital is one such network.

Ping Digital is a start-up multi-channel network running proprietary channels as well as working with young talent to build their own television front-ends. Ping Digital Broadcast is YouTube’s partner in India and produces and distributes original content through a network of channels hosted on YouTube. While Ping develops original content, Google chips in with marketing and sales expertise, besides providing start-up funds.

In conversation with exchange4media, Prashanto Das, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ping Digital shares his views on the changing online video consumption and more.

Do you think Indian marketers and brands are using online video features as a digital marketing tool to its optimum strength?
Yes and no - Yes, because clearly everyone seems to recognise the potential that exists with online videos, but the barriers for most seem in the execution. No, because there still seems to be so many who use static content, especially in spaces that obviously lend themselves to video.

For example, a lot of food brands use written recipes for their social media strategy, but there is enough evidence to show in the area of food or recipes that people prefer or are naturally inclined to video content. However, the reason for this is more because there are not many players that can provide a certain quality of video production catering to digital audiences at a volume and price that permits you to have a robust dialogue.

Mobile is considered to be the next big thing in the digital marketing platform. Considering that, how can brands and marketers look at leveraging mobile videos as an effective marketing tool?
I would put it more like video content - today video content is almost gadget neutral. The key is to create great content – and this content can then be viewed on a 42" television, laptop, desktop, smartphone. One the biggest leverage that videos provide is engaging content to drive the social media strategy for brands.

Has increase in the usage of smartphones created any new pattern in the consumption of online videos?
Technology is changing everything and it surely is changing consumption habits too. According to the Mary Meeker report, in the last quarter of 2012, mobile internet overtook desktop internet and that happened with smartphone penetration being less than 4 per cent. India led this change.

More and more videos are being consumed, and with smartphones becoming the device of choice, content will need to be available anytime anywhere. We see this as a growing trend.

Could you point out some recent trends observed in online video consumption space?
Like I just mentioned, one trend is that consumption on mobiles is increasing. Another trend is that some categories like food, for example, are almost being completely video driven.

Could you elaborate on Ping Digital’s business module? Also, could you elaborate your collaboration with YouTube?
We are a content partner with YouTube. As part of this partnership, we are committed to launching a slew of verticals on YouTube. Currently, we have two channels running – India Food Network and India Music Network. The views we receive forms the basis for the revenue share we have with YouTube.

Over the next few months, we expect to be a digital network spanning over 6-8 genres in the utility, information and news space. We believe when we have a network in place, we will naturally become a prominent player in the digital space across target consumers, which will certainly make us an interesting proposition for several brands and marketers. We are also working with some interesting brands to help them create their video content for their digital strategy.

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