Bigg Boss is the biggest entertainment property in the online video space: Gaurav Gandhi, Voot

Voot, which is producing almost 4X content on an overall basis on the reality drama, is gunning for big numbers both on viewership and advertising revenue

e4m by Madhuwanti Saha
Published: Dec 12, 2017 8:50 AM  | 4 min read

A billion views on Voot doesn’t sound impossible for the reality drama ‘Bigg Boss Season 11’from where it’s standing right now. It has already achieved 70 million views in the first 10 days and 400 million views till date on the back of its digital content including ‘Unseen Undekha,’ ‘Cutless’ and ‘Bigg Buzz’, among others. “We are gunning for a billion views from ‘Bigg Boss’ this year on Voot alone,” Gaurav Gandhi, Chief Operating Officer - Viacom18 Digital Ventures informed. The current season has already beaten the previous year’s viewership in three weeks.

He said, “Every single episode is getting millions of votes. The idea is to get the user base engaged on the show, both for video as well as interactivity at one place – and Voot is what is driving this fandom.” Viacom18’s digital platform currently has 32 million monthly users with five million users a day and over 300 advertising brands.
With a viewer watching over an hour of ‘Bigg Boss’ content on Voot per day, it’s no surprise why advertisers and sponsors are lining up for it. Currently, Dabur Red Gel, Emami Fair and Handsome Laser 12, Timex Watches, Goibibo, Mc Dowell’s No 1 Soda have already come on board as exclusive digital sponsors with several others on the way. Gandhi shared that they have already crossed last year’s revenues of ‘Bigg Boss’ and will be doubling it ‘very shortly.’ “Dabur who is the title sponsor has come on board only on Voot. There is a lot of interest for ‘Bigg Boss’ on VOOT – given the viewer volumes and engagements.”

Word of mouth and demand for the content is driving the viewership, Gandhi informed. The demand can be explained by content for exclusive digital pieces produced only for Voot commanding 55 per cent of the total consumption, while catch up TV taking the remaining 45 per cent. The other giveaway is the show getting a separate tab for its fans on the app (for direct access). Viewers on VOOT get 4x the amount of Bigg Boss content than on TV. The team @VOOT gets flooded with calls and mails if the content is not put up by 7.30am on the platform. Gandhi explained the viewership pattern, “From 7.30 am the consumption starts; we see a big surge in the afternoon between 12 and 3pm, 5 and 8 and then 11 onwards.”

"In digital properties ‘Bigg Buzz’ is the new kid on the block capturing social media buzz, trends and recaps featuring YouTube superstar Sahil Khatter and ex-contestant Priya Malik. ‘Unseen Undekha’ and ‘Cutless’ were already present last year. Besides that, there are other short content pieces churned out regularly. But Gandhi emphasized on ‘Bigg Buzz’ as a ‘classic idea of extending a property.’ He explains, “The whole idea of ‘Big Buzz’ was to create a brand new franchise property. It’s a new show shot separately from the main property. Sponsors on it are different too. The idea is to expand it to a new larger audience who wants to know everything on ‘Bigg Boss.’”

All the three properties have targeted audience. The COO stated, “Inquisitive ones go for ‘Unseen Undekha.’ Those who are obsessed with characters want to watch ‘Cutless.’ Social media buffs wants to watch ‘Bigg Buzz.’”
It is interesting to know that with these initiatives, the platform’s monthly user base has shot up from 23 million to 32 million. “The overall watch time has gone up by over 40 per cent. By the end of Bigg Boss, we are aiming to get to 40 million users monthly,” Gandhi said, sounding sure.

Gandhi has also decided to bring the voting on the Voot app this season which got the users in one place to give fans one destination to come to for everything. 

He pointed out that the new audience who comes on to watch ‘Bigg Boss’ stays up to sample other content which works out its favour. “It’s not only revenue for us but also brings in new users.” As ‘Bigg Boss’ progresses smaller properties will be created based on recommendation and targeting. Without disclosing further plans Gandhi said, “Larger focus will be on these three properties. The learning is that the fan of a show can’t have enough. He wants more and more.”

The content pieces around Viacom18’s television properties like ‘Roadies’, ‘Splitsvilla,’ ‘Bigg Boss Kannada’ and ‘Fear Factor’ have turned out to be the key commercial drivers for Voot as they bring in viewership. Gandhi pointed out that they plan out a separate strategy for every single show depending on its fan base, “We are confident that advertisers are seeing its scale. Over time it’s a big differentiator for us. We are not just building big IPs but building their fandom and content around it," the COO added.

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