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Quick Five with Disney UTV’s Sameer Pitalwalla

03-April-2013
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Quick Five with Disney UTV’s Sameer Pitalwalla

Audience aggregation and extending the reach has always been a significant focus point for players in the broadcast space. Apart from the traditional media platforms, the advent of digital and social media has since helped extend the channel experience to target viewers and has lead to greater viewer connect and audience engagement.

In conversation with exchange4media, Sameer Pitalwalla, Director, Video & Celebrity, Disney UTV, shares his perspective on the recently launched UTV Stars app, the evolution of digital content and the plans ahead of 2013.

Disney UTV Digital has recently launched the UTV Stars App. Could you briefly elaborate on the thought process behind the same?
UTV has always been well associated with Bollywood and entertainment with channels such as UTV Movies and UTV Stars under its network bouquet. We have taken the brand and intend to build content around it, which would resonate around the target viewers. The UTV Stars app for smartphones will have Gossip, Movies and Live TV all in one App. Powered by Ricoh Innovations’ Ocutag mobile visual search platform, the app connects users to digital content of their favourite movies at their convenience. The App also provides instant access to varied multimedia offerings related to Bollywood and its stars. Users can get access to celebrity Tweets, Paparazzi pictures, videos, full length movies, live TV and more at the touch of their phone. The App is free to download and is available across iOS, Android and Windows platform.

What is your consumer profile and could you briefly elaborate on the TG?
The app is targeted towards people in the age group of 18 to 35 years, who own smartphones, and is essentially developed both for India as well as outside the country.

What are some of the features that would differentiate it from the other digital initiatives?
According to me, there is no single Bollywood app which contains the mentioned features all built into one. There is also a special Augmented Reality feature in it that allows users to click on a poster of a movie, which gives them instant access to multimedia information related to the movie. The Augmented Reality feature, called Snap Search, connects users to their favourite Bollywood stars and allows them to click a movie poster to provide easy access to customised content like movie trailers, behind the scenes videos, Tweets, pictures and more.

What is, in your view, the biggest problem with the way the television industry is looking at digital today?
From the television perspective, most brands look at themselves as a broadcast company first and secondly as a media company. We consider ourselves a content company first. We have leveraged the content through the digital and the social media platform. For example, we created Bindass Facebook Jukebox, which connected the viewers on the social as well as the television space. We are keen on helping audiences migrate across different platforms and thereby, strengthening the brand through various initiatives on the digital and the social media platforms.

Going forward what are some of the other initiatives that have been planned for the year 2013?
We are planning to introduce an app for Disney across web and online, which would allow viewers to watch Disney related content. Though the launch date has not been finalised yet, it might be sometime in the second half of the year.

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