Youth centric TV channel Bindass, in association with Virgin Mobile, has formally launched Bindass Buddies on Bindass.com, a community platform for the youth from the UTV Group, in mid-July this year. The aim is to create a college community that is wider than any individual’s friends’ list and, therefore, more powerful, while still remaining small enough so that it feels comfortable and welcoming, thus allowing all students to create their college space, post news, gossip, tips and tricks, event schedules and so on.
With a targeted and focused marketing, Bindass Buddies will mainly be promoted through on-ground initiatives in 30 colleges. One such promotional activity involves distributing what is termed as ‘the ultimate college survival guide’ – a guide to the first few months in college as written by the students of that college. The guide is custom-written and designed for each college, that is, 30 different designs – 15 for Delhi colleges and 15 for Mumbai colleges. The content comprises all the information that a new student would need – for instance, the best seats in the library, which professors grade badly in tests, where does one get the best vada pav in the surrounding area, etc.
This apart, Bindass Buddies claims to have a targeted online ad campaign and a series of emailers to college students. They will also be present on certain fests and cultural activities in colleges. The main aim is to reach as many college students as possible and the budgets are stated to be ‘comfortably high’.
Vahishta Mistry, VP – Interactive, UTV, in an email interaction with exchange4media, said, “The response that we have received, both from advertisers and sponsors, as well as from the students and general users of the site, have been extremely encouraging. Virgin Mobile is the title sponsor for the activity and NIIT are our associate sponsors. We launched the site extremely softly on June 22, 2009, and within the first few days itself we could see traction build tremendously high.”
“What was especially gratifying to see was the engagement metrics – time on site, pageviews per user, these were extremely high – and the overall number of users was high enough. So, we were confident this was a hit from day one. We have received a lot of feedback as well, from early users as well as more recent ones, and our product roadmap is now nicely filled out. In terms of actual numbers, we expect to see unique users in the low millions by the end of the financial year,” he added.
On the mobile plans, Mistry said, “Mobile will be a big part of our offering. Our priority right now is to identify user patterns and drive traffic on the site. Once we have done this, we will be launching mobile applications, which will increase engagement and interactivity even further. The key challenge, however, is to identify what content is needed on mobile, when it is needed, and the most efficient path with the least resistance to get it to the user. In the meantime, our site as it is can be accessed on most mobile handsets, but we do not expect such passive browsing to be a big numbers-puller.”