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Viacom18 expands mobile footprint to engage youth & kids

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Viacom18 expands mobile footprint to engage youth & kids

Key industry trends point to the general direction of how the consumer has changed in terms of consumption of content (read mobile). Keeping the same in mind, Viacom18 is all set to launch three new mobile products under three of its kids and youth-oriented brands in the country i.e. MTV, Vh1 and Teen Nick.

There has been a considerable decrease in the time spent on television while the online viewership has been increasing with the advent of the second screen experience, making digital a highly viable platform. Understanding the importance of the mobile digital space and its significance in connecting with the target audience, Viacom18 is all set to launch MTV Gupshup – a chat service, Vh1 Hub – a mobile content shop for international music lovers, and Teen Nick Mobile Game – a role playing game.

Focus on VAS
Commenting on the focus areas, Rajneel Kumar, Viacom18’s VP and Business Head, Digital Media stated, “We are looking at three clear business angles through the move. The first is to actively target the VAS ecosystem of India which has gone through certain regulatory arrangements. The chat space has been pegged at Rs 400 to Rs 450 crore and there is no particular brand which is prevalent in this market. We wanted to create a brand property which will resonate prominently in this market through MTV Gupshup.”

The second product is the Vh1 Hub powered by Techzone. It lets consumers download mobile content such as songs, ringtones, caller back tunes, videos and wallpapers by logging on to the Vh1 Hub WAP/Mobile site or the website. Kumar believes that though the popularity of international music is on a gradual rise, the mobile and VAS consumption remain limited since it is still dominated by astrology, Bollywood, devotion, etc. The songs are picked by Vh1 and would be available only for Android, BlackBerry and Symbian platforms, wherein users can also sample the content before downloading.

“Another significant aspect is that consumers need to go through the operator portal leading to discoverability posing as one of the biggest problems. We wanted to provide an easy solution to getting a particular song as well as listen to a song online easily through Vh1 Hub,” added Kumar.

The third leg of innovation comprises the Teen Nick game which will be a role playing, simulation game aimed at 13 plus teenage girls. The content for the game has been created based on the understanding of the consumer behaviour.

Monetisation and ad revenues
Elaborating on the monetisation aspect, Kumar stated, “For MTV Gupshup and Vh1 Hub, we will be encouraging mobile advertising as well as get brands who would like to target online consumers apart from billing through operator. We also have our telecom partners on board. For the mobile game, we are encouraging brands to advertise in the game itself, which is an interesting proposition. Also, though the game would be available for free download, there would in-game payments as well.” 

Though mobile digital platform is a very interesting concept, the question is whether mobile or tablets will become the primary screen… some experts don’t agree to this. According to Kumar, the overall advertising spends on the digital mobile platform in India is pegged at only five per cent of the overall spends. This is in stark contrast when compared to that internationally, which is range of 18 to 20 per cent. This is one of the challenges that broadcasters would need to overcome in order to streamline audience attention in a much efficient manner.

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