Digital work in India is not done with a creative bent of mind: Rajiv Dingra, WATConsult
Dingra's WATConsult celebrates its 12th anniversary today
Published - 10-January-2019
For Rajiv Dingra, who is celebrating the 12th anniversary of his agency WAT Consult, 2018 could not have been better. Dingra gushes as the list of awards that his agency has won roll off his tongue. In 2018 alone, WAT Consult won awards at multiple international award festivals, including the Lisbon International Advertising Festival, CLIO Awards 2018, Prague International Awards Festival, Tangrams Effectiveness, and Shorty Social Good Award 2018.
It’s not just the wins that have made him ecstatic, even bagging a nomination at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity has made him proud. That’s primarily because although Indian creative agencies have been winning Lions and typically have a respectable show at the award festival, Indian digital agencies have failed to make a mark.
Pointing out why India has not been able to make any headway in the digital space at international award festivals, he said, “Digital work is not done in India (and I’m generalising here) with a creative bent of mind. The reason for that is digital, for the longest time has borne the burden of being an ROI medium, so creativity usually takes a back-seat to results, hence these challenges.”
Dingra is not just content with the agency’s performance at the award festivals but also business-wise. He told exchange4media that over the past year WAT Consult has grown close to 30-35% YoY on revenue and bottom line. He said that WAT Consult will strive for creative excellence in everything it does while using technology to escalate the impact of the idea.
Further, Dingra, Founder and CEO, of WATConsult, spoke to exchange4media at length about his learnings from winning at international award shows and what he thinks will shape the industry in the coming years. Edited excerpts:
What has the journey been like these 12 years? What were some high points?
I think last year has been quite a significant high for us. Over these 12 years there have been a lot of highs and lows, but last year, it’s a dream for any Indian agency, digital or non-digital, to win at Spikes, to be nominated at Cannes Lion, winning a Grand Prix in Prague, and to win 2 bronze medals in the digital category at the London International awards (LIA). We also won a bronze in Lisbon.
So last year has been a high point on a whole. It’s a great feeling because we’re the first digital agency to even be nominated at Cannes. TBWA, BBDO, and the Ogilvy’s of the world get a lot of nominations, and a lot of their nominations are for non-digital work. So, to actually put a pure-play digital entry and be nominated for that as a digital agency is a great feeling. Even though we are now part of Dentsu Aegis Network, our DNA still remains as pure-play digital.
As you said, India is not known for digital work. Where are Indian digital agencies or agencies as a whole lacking in this digital or tech thought process?
I think the reasons for this are diverse. It’s not that we don’t do good digital work, but I think in India, in general, we are bad at packaging our work for global awards and that goes for all agencies. The ones that do it really well are obviously the agencies that are great at storytelling, which are the creative agencies. This is why at global awards we see agencies such as BBDO, TBWA, Cheil and Ogilvy actually win. They are great at packaging a case film that will move, engage and make sense to the jury.
Secondly, these agencies also come from a mainline bent of mind, so a lot of work which is submitted and packaged well, is mainline work. Digital agencies have little or no experience in submitting, let alone winning global awards.
The other fact is cost. It is extremely costly to submit work for global awards. You need to be a very good agency, revenue-wise and profitability-wise, to be able to submit work for global awards. Each entry is between $300-$500, which in the Indian context is between Rs 30,000- 60,000 per entry. So first you must have confidence in your entry, to be able to spend that much money on one entry in one category, and then you need to have the money to submit to global awards. Half of the entries don’t get to the global awards because digital agencies usually cannot afford to submit their work.
The next point is that digital work is not done in India (and I’m generalising here) with a creative bent of mind. The reason for that is that digital, for the longest time, has borne the burden of being an ROI medium, so creativity usually takes a back seat to results, hence these challenges.
The reason we were successful, is because we actually invested in upping the creative acumen of our team. Over the last three years, we’ve actually an international creativity trainer (Yonathan Dominitz, Founder of Mindscapes) who trains at Cannes Lions, and who for the first time came to India to conduct an exclusive training for WatConsult. We’ve had training sessions in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The training involved the basic tools of creative thinking and getting our team to go beyond just people in a room brainstorming, and making it more professional from a creative thinking standpoint.
You spoke about how one of the reasons why digital work is not usually creative because digital seems to be an ROI performance-driven platform. The work that has won significantly has also been for an NGO, so do you see brands changing their attitudes towards digital and using it for brand building, where maybe there is scope for creative digital work?
Definitely, and I think we at WatConsult are best positioned for that because our positioning in the market is not performance-driven. We are a full-service digital agency that is known for doing creative, content, social, video, tech, etc. Now we are focusing on creative excellence as the value we bring to the market as a digital agency. For example, if we look at our campaign for SBI, again, it is creative, there is storytelling, of unique stories across India. Or even our Raksha Bandhan film for Dominos, “The Letter”, if you see that you would not be able to tell that this was done by a mainline creative agency or a digital agency.
If you see today, creative agencies are trying to go more digital, but digital agencies, because some of them are very performance-driven, they are not able to make the leap into becoming more creative. We have made that leap and we continue to push the bar into creative excellence as we go along.
Last year, our entry and win at multiple awards was a step in that direction to stamp our authority as a digital agency that can compete with the best in the global awards on creativity and we hope to continue raising that benchmark each year. Now with our complete video and tech prowess, as well as our ability to come up with a creative campaign, we are positioning ourselves as a creative/brand digital agency.
I am seeing clients clearly wanting to do work that has meaning and purpose beyond just their brand attributes or product attributes. We are doing a lot of work where brands are looking at a purpose, positioning and meaning with what their communication is with engagement.
Because of the lack of diversity on international award festival juries, do you think that the burden of being from India and sending entries that feed into the White Man’s Burden is impacting India’s performance in the digital space?
It is helping India’s performance as well. I don’t think this is a hindrance, I think this is a learning experience, to ask how you can use a local insight and cultural nuance to leverage it in digital. And digital is not always AR, AI or the extreme end of innovation. But sometimes in trying to do all of that we forget what the real message is. We have to stick to what the creative idea is and then see an execution which applies to it. But I think the cultural insight is important.
From an awards standpoint, it has been a great year. What has business been like this past year?
It’s been a very good year. Just from the like-to-like perspective, we’ve grown close to 30-35% YoY on revenue and bottom line. It’s been a year where we’ve won some really large brands, Dominos and Tata Motors are such brands. So it’s been a good year in terms of wins and also in terms of diversity of business. We have produced at least 120 digital films throughout the year. And if you look at the amount of content we produced on platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, etc, that goes into thousands. So from our creative perspective, there has been a lot of work. From a media buys standpoint, we’ve done about Rs 200 crore worth of media buying on various platforms. It’s been a good year overall for business.
In terms of the number of people, we are now the largest digital agency within the Dentsu Aegis Network with an employee strength of nearly 400 people.
Is AR and VR still something people want to experiment with in India or was it a fad that lasted a short while?
Yes, it still is. In India, brands and clients still look at it as a one-off investment and not as a way to build a brand. Brand managers, up to the CMO, look at films as the ‘holy grail’ of creative and messaging communication. It is for a good reason because they’ve done that for TV for many years, and also because currently in digital, video is the most important currency in communication. Across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, video is the No. 1 inventory. So I am not surprised that brands invest most of their time looking at what kind of video content they can create. That is why AR and VR are secondary because it’s the same amount of money and energy which will go into creating new-age content that would be consumed by only a fraction of the overall audience.
And where does Voice fall in all of this?
Voice is definitely growing. Voice today is at the stage where social media was around 10 years ago. The only difference between voice and social media is—social media was a digital platform-led revolution, whereas voice is a device-led revolution. There are two kinds of devices which are going across; one is the mobile phone, which is now voice-enabled, and the second is a home device. I think both of these will drive the adoption of voice, but unlike social media 10 years ago which had a community and interaction angle to it, voice, for now, has a service angle. From the usability perspective, voice is more of search than social. Will it replace social? I don’t think so. Will it replace Search? The statistics on how many people are using voice for search is huge. I think the next question would be- since voice replaces Search, and Search Ads which is a huge business for everyone- how does Search business transcend into voice? But with Google and Amazon going after it, I think voice will probably be one of the topmost priorities in digital marketing.
Given all these technological advancements we’re speaking about - voice, AR and VR - in addition to what you mentioned earlier about WATConsult’s focus on creative excellence, what are the capabilities you want to focus on going forward?
Technologically, we’ve always been on the forefront. In 2016, we had all the VR devices, and we had complete AR capability. In 2016, we made one of the first AR apps for Apollo Tyres. We have been working on AR and VR from way before. It’s not something new to us, it’s been there for a very long time. Also, we do have voice capability in-house as well.
That being said, I don’t think technology in itself is a solution for clients’ briefs. Technology is an enabler to deliver the communication. You can deliver communication through AR, VR, or voice, you can even use AI to make the communication look more intelligent or to process data in a way so when it is showcased to the consumer it is impactful.
When you want to use technology for a campaign, how do you differentiate between a gimmick and something that will genuinely move the dial for the business?
The first thing is, the idea has to be great. Secondly, the technology should escalate the impact of the idea. If the technology makes it a problem to experience the idea then you are just using technology for the sake of it. For example, a couple of years ago, we did a campaign for Bajaj Allianz called “Mobile Aasana” where we used 360-degree video on Facebook to get millennials and desk workers to use the phone to do various yoga poses. At that time it was new because 360-degree videos on Facebook were very new. So the use of 360-degree video technology to make people do yoga escalated the impact of the idea.
So what are going to be the focus areas for you in 2019?
It will be a mix of technology and creativity. Creativity will be the No. 1 priority, but we are a full-service digital agency. Campaigns are successful when they meet the client’s objectives, and to do so in a creative manner makes audiences very happy. Customers and users feel connected to a campaign to a level where they want to endorse it organically. For that, the campaign has to be creative. This is why I emphasise that creative excellence will be our focus.
What are your thoughts on the in-housing of digital media buying?
I think in-house is great for brands if they can manage it. The problems I see with brands is they have a core business, so if they take this aspect in-house, they will have employees who, beyond keeping their jobs, wouldn’t have a larger incentive to upgrade, update and scale. Let me define what I mean by this: upgrade means to basically update themselves so that they can do better, update themselves so that they can do newer and more interesting things, and scale means they can do bigger things around it. All these three things happen in agencies by default. Which is why when you look at in-house agencies, how many of them do you really see doing path-breaking work? And in spite of having these in-house agencies, a lot of these brands go out and give projects to various other agencies. In my view, I think having in-house programmatic and buying becomes substandard after a point because employees are trying to save their jobs, not trying to excel. Agencies are trying to excel in programmatic because each of them wants to be a step ahead of the others in programmatic. But when you are doing it in-house, you will not invest in building the next architecture of programmatic for your business. Unless and until there is effort and investment from the top level of management, who is the CEO. But if it is coming from the middle level or lower than that, then I don’t see it delivering the kind of excellence that brands actually ask from agencies.
Lastly, what are the three main areas that will be significant in 2019?
Over the last 2 to 3 years, there has been a wave of video content in digital and I don’t think in 2019 there will be a single campaign from a significant brand which does not have a video. In my view video is going to be the primary digital asset that brands leverage for their marketing campaigns.
Second, I think we will be seeing a lot of interesting experiments with voice. It’s not going to be mainstream, but it is going to be interesting.
Thirdly, our media perspective: there is going to be a programmatic wave across digital, where a lot of brands will shift their spends to programmatic advertising.
Transcription Credit: Sudha Joshi
Twitter India is also launching a special election emoji for encouraging healthy participation in election-related discussions
Twitter India has welcomed the Election Commission of India’s SVEEP (Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation Program) @ECISVEEP onboard the platform.
Twitter India is also launching a special election emoji, aimed at encouraging healthy participation in election-related discussions and encouraging more people to go out and vote.
The Election Commission of India’s Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation program (SVEEP) on Twitter (@ECISVEEP) is set to raise more voter awareness through the platform. The handle was launched on Holi and one of their first campaigns on Twitter #DeshKaMahaTyohar is about ensuring no voter is left behind.
By introducing the emoji, Twitter India hopes to make it easier for Indians across the world to join the election conversation on its platform. Available now until 31st May, the emoji features a panoramic coloured illustration of the Parliament of India.
People can Tweet in Hindi, English, Bengali/Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odiya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu, to activate the emoji.
Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Kumar Sinha said, “As we move closer to the 17th Lok Sabha election in the country, we are committed to ensuring fair administration of the electoral process, by equipping India’s voters with accurate and adequate information to make their choice. We are proud to extend this commitment with the launch of our new handle on Twitter. @ECISVEEP would allow us to further the aim of building a stronger democracy, by encouraging all eligible citizens to be aware and active in the voting process, thereby maintaining and enhancing the sanctity of the electoral process. It’s our wish and hope that all voters will participate in the coming national election 2019 in an informed and ethical way.”
Mahima Kaul (@misskaul), Director, Public Policy and Government at Twitter India said, “India is the world’s largest democracy and the upcoming election is a key priority for us at Twitter. Over the past several months, we have taken significant steps to safeguard the integrity of conversations and enhance the health of our platform. Election-related conversations dominate the platform today, and we are honoured to have onboard the Election Commission handle @ECISVEEP to encourage voter awareness and education. Citizens will receive crucial information directly from the Election Commission on Twitter and in turn they can engage with and amplify accurate and positive information to their community.”
Cricket-related videos, GIFs and memes will be available on UC Browser
UC Browser, a third-party mobile browser and a content platform, has announced multiple in-app activities in a bid to meet the rising demand for cricket content during the latest edition of the Indian Premier League.
UC Browser, part of Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group, is partnering with cricketers Virendra Sehwag and Irfan Pathan for the course of the IPL, starting March 23.
The two cricketers will be cheering and supporting their respective teams on the UC platform. Exclusive cricket-related short videos, GIFs and memes will also be available on UC Browser. Leading smartphone maker OPPO is lending its support to the campaign as a sponsor.
UC Browser is also offering cricket fans and users a chance to win a total of Rs 1 crore by participating in an exciting Play &Win Game on the browser.
Sehwag and Pathan are challenging UC users to participate in the game and take the Captain versus Users challenge. For the first match, Sehwag is placing his bets on RCB whereas Pathan expects an easy win for CSK.
Users can also guess the right answers for every match and win UCoins, which can be exchanged for Paytm Cash. UC Cricket, UC Browser’s in-app channel for cricket content aggregation, offers all-in-one live cricket content, including live scores, news, videos, photos, live commentaries and more.
UC Browser will also be launching a new campaign to select UC Miss Cricket, giving its 130 million monthly active users another reason to get on the platform this cricket season. While users follow the updates of their favourite team and players on UC Browser, they can also pick cheerleaders to support their beloved teams.
UC Browser will be shortlisting contestants from all the entries received. Users get a chance to vote for their top pick through their mobile app. UC Browser will reward the most-voted contestant with a cash prize and winners will enjoy exclusive entertainment industry resources and public exposure provided by UC and its partners. OPPO is the exclusive sponsor for the campaign.
Damon Xi, General Manager of UCWeb India and Indonesia, Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group, said, “As a user-oriented content platform, UC has excelled in providing specialised curated content for its users. Cricket is India's most popular sport, which is reflected in the level of online content consumption. The announcement of Sehwag and Pathan as UC Cricket Captains comes as part of UC’s content strategy for the Indian market, in line with its promise to generate rich and enjoyable localised content via short videos, memes, GIFs and more. This year, UC will also be launching the UC Cricket Fun Columns with exclusive commentary and inputs from Pathan in a bid to reach the wider cricket audience.”
GyFTR will enable end-to-end execution, technology, and delivery for Relaxo to create more visibility in the end-customer market through digital gift vouchers
Footwear brand Relaxo Footwears Limited is now foraying into the digital gift voucher and loyalty points redemption space with GyFTR (Vouchagram), an online-to-offline (O2O) peer-to-peer gifting platform. The association gives Relaxo access to GyFTR's comprehensive gifting ecosystem and will include brand listing across top online catalogues, seamless and instant gifting/redemption and 24x7 customer support. The partnership is expected to bolster sales and customer acquisition for Relaxo, with GyFTR serving as a lucrative alternative sales channel for the brand.
The Relaxo vouchers being powered by GyFTR are redeemable across its 300+ listed brand outlets across the country in values ranging from INR 100, INR 250, INR 500, INR 1000, INR 2000 and INR 5000. The vouchers can be clubbed with ongoing promotions and offers. Users can even combine and redeem multiple gift vouchers on the same bill.
Commenting on this association, Arvind Prabhakar, Co-Founder and CEO – GyFTR, said, “Relaxo has been a popular offline brand for more than four decades has created a strong consumer base on the basis of its powerful merchandising, retail expansion and advertising. Its maiden foray into the digital voucher and redemption space with GyFTR will help the brand replicate its offline success with the rapidly growing online consumer base in India. We are confident that Relaxo will benefit from the differentiation that our extensive partner ecosystem of leading online brand catalogues in India will facilitate, registering a significant increase in transactions and hassle free customer acquisition.”
GyFTR currently services more than 2 million customers and has a clientele of 135+ active brands. The platform manages end-to-end execution, technology, and delivery for brands and facilitates seamless gifting across multiple geographies. It has been revolutionising the segment by making the experience of receiving a gift like a ‘gift’ in itself through its proprietary technology.
Shivakumar, Group Executive President Corporate-Strategy and Business Development, Aditya Birla, talks about how digital as an emerging market is a huge unifier and not a divider
The second edition of the ISA CEO Conference that was held on Monday saw many dignitaries talk about the connectedness paradox. D Shivakumar, Group Executive President, Corporate-Strategy and Business Development, Aditya Birla, gave an insightful speech on Rethink and Rework, Competitive strategies for a new interconnected paradigm.
Speaking about being interconnected, Shivakumar explained how more than advertising, engagement would be the key in the coming days. “Every business connects to the other. No business is an island. Every event that happens has an impact on your business. You recognise that if you want to stay in an interconnected world. In the next decade, you will be more interconnected than you can imagine.”
Shivakumar explains how everything we use today - be it phones, cameras or clothes - are all interconnected. “All toys are from China, speakers from Vietnam, cameras from Japan and apparels are from Bangladesh,” he pointed out. “The best global brands are the best local brands today. Global best brands like McDonald’s adapt their menu to their relevant country. In India, they have aloo tikka.”
Coming to statistics, Shivakumar made some interesting predictions regarding the fate of digital India in the coming years. He predicted that India would be a $10 trillion economy in 2030. “About 60 per cent of that will be domestic consumption. India has always been a domestic-led market. China is about 40 per cent. India will be richer, younger and a more educated country, and also more connected.” He also shared how the income of the Indian middle class would change dramatically in 2030.
Furthermore to his analysis of what India would be in 2030, Shivakumar continued, “India will be digitally united by 2030. Digital as an emerging market is a huge unifier. It is not a divider. India will have 1 billion people on the internet via smartphones. We have skipped once and for all the laptop age, we flirted with tablet era, that’s also gone. Now, the phone screens will go bigger and will have all the functionalities of either a laptop or a tablet, we tend to use the phone a lot more. Smartphones will be a dominant tool in the future.”
Shivakumar also reveals how video will become big in the coming years. “Search engines are going vernacular. We have seen that with concepts like ‘Who wants to be a Billionaire’ or ‘Dancing With the Stars’. All these big concepts globally, when translated into vernacular, are as popular in Odisha, Tamil Nadu or Kerala as it is in the USA. Consumer voice matters a lot and if you are not serious about taking that right into your boardroom, then you will be in trouble.”
India has the cheapest data price in the world. It is at $0.26/1GB of mobile data whereas Switzerland has the highest price of $20.22/1GB for mobile data. “Everybody is talking and sharing with everybody. This is the interconnected world we live in. India has the second cheapest handsets in the world. So if you see, to enable interconnectedness, we have two of the biggest ones already,” explained Shivakumar.
Digital transparency will ensure newer business models. “For example, the subscription business model of Bombay Shaving Club. We have never thought of the subscription business model in the pass. Only a subscription business model that was successful in India in the past was magazines. But I believe more and more business will get into subscription today,” Shivakumar said. He also broadly explained how renting furniture would become a big business in future. That’s because people don’t want to own. They would rather pay money. “Why I am renting? Because I am closer to the information of seller buyer and user. I know exactly who used it and what I am willing to pay,” said Shivakumar. He also mentioned how it would be the same in the case for cars, apparels and many more. As for e-commerce, he predicted that ease of shopping would be a huge factor for interconnectedness.
Premiumization will accelerate and the growth will be 53 per cent with more attention grabbing technology at the point of purchase. Consumers will give their right arm for both education and health. Training in companies will be interconnected now. Health and food sector will grow dramatically in the next few years, he added.
The physical distribution of technology will not work anymore in this digital age. “Those who are big today, the digital guys will mercilessly murder them. They have zero cost, have all the margin and premium. If they play smart, India is waiting to premiumize and waiting for better options,” Shivakumar signed off.
Regional channels have also collaborated so as to maximise the reach and offer a familiar feel to the audience by offering them information in their native languages
Fantasy sports website MyTeam11, announced a collaboration with 25 television channels across the music, news, sports and knowledge sharing genres among others, in a massive campaign targeting the upcoming T20 and World Cup cricket season.
MyTeam11, who have popular former India cricketer Virender Sehwag as their brand ambassador, has a user base of around 10 million+ active users and offers fantasy cricket, fantasy football, fantasy volleyball, and fantasy kabaddi in two formats, namely the “Safe Play” & the “Regular Play,” being the only platform to offer multiple playing options to its users.
A significant number of regional channels have also been collaborated with under the aegis of this association, so as to maximise the reach and offer a familiar feel to the audience by offering them information in their native languages.
Commenting on the development, Vinit Godara, CEO and Co-founder, MyTeam11 said, “We are planning to become the leading brand in the world of fantasy sports, and the upcoming cricket season involving T20 leagues and the ICC cricket world cup seems to be the right fit for our plans. With this collaboration we want to reach out to people in every nook-and-corner of the country and encourage them to use their talent, skills & knowledge of the game to earn while enjoying their favourite sport.”
Prior to this collaboration, Myteam11 had signed some noteworthy deals with various sporting properties like the RuPay Pro Volleyball League, Karnataka Premier League and others as their ‘Official Fantasy Partner’.
These associations become pertinent in their attempt to outgrow as an organisation and target people who are not much familiar with the concept of fantasy sports. In the words of the company leaders, they are presently targeting on reaching the remote locations of India, spreading the word regarding fantasy sports.
MyTeam11 had also previously partnered with DSport, a premium sports channel of Discovery Communications, as ‘Official Broadcasting Partner’ for the India-Australia series and as ‘Broadcast Co-presenting Partners’ of the Bangladesh Premier League. They had also inked a deal with DD Sports for the India-New Zealand T20 series held recently.
Digital Magazine aims at getting the customers to engage with the advertiser’s brand story allowing the readers to not just flip through the pages but to intrigue them enough to do so
Inshorts, the English news app, has launched its new advertisement format - the Digital Magazine. Launched in 2013, Inshorts has more than 200 advertisers who use the platform to reach out to relevant customers. By innovating Ad formats like Fact Cards, HTML Ads, Inshorts has aimed to create a unique and non-intrusive format of advertising. Keeping in line with Inshorts’ constant vision of coming up with more of such relevant and creative ad formats for new age brands who want to connect with netizens, Inshorts has released yet another engaging format of advertising coined ‘Digital Magazine’.
Strongly advocating that creative content in today’s time cannot be restricted to only text and allowing brands the opportunity to connect with their audience in different and distinct ways; Digital Magazines are designed to include GIFs, videos and polls to keep the audience interested. Similarly, since millennials like to share interesting and relatable content among their peers on social media, they can now share the entire magazine on their social media or via WhatsApp.
Digital Magazine aims at getting the customers themselves to engage with the advertiser’s brand story allowing the readers to not just flip through the pages on the go but to intrigue them enough to do so.
Speaking about the launch of Digital Magazine, Azhar Iqubal, Co-founder and CEO, Inshorts said, “Today native advertising is on the rise and brands today need new and creative ways to get their message to their millennial audience and get them to actually listen. With the launch of digital magazine ad format by Inshorts, brands can now engage their audience with content which can be entertaining and insightful, and connect through a non-intrusive medium.”
Due to interactive content, low cost production and distribution as compared to traditional magazines, digital magazines are progressively catching the eyes of the marketing and advertiser community. Inshorts digital magazine has already helped some global brands like Netflix to get 3x more engagement as compared to text ads for its new series - ‘The Umbrella Academy’ within just 2 weeks of its release. Apart from this, Inshorts had also partnered with Netflix for its original series - Narcos and Cadbury for its Valentines’ Week campaign.
Further commenting on the launch, Piyush Thakur, National Sales Head at Inshorts said, “We are a company which is known for innovation and industry first. We are known for interesting and engaging products both from user and advertiser prospective. Digital Magazine takes our commitment a step ahead in that direction where it not only serves advertisers prospect of engaging with the user but also enrich user with right kind of information in interesting and crisp manner. We strongly believe, with our commitment, hardwork and farsightedness we will continue to challenge traditional media with our unique and interesting offerings.”
The partnership provides customers easy access to ZEE5 content; the portfolio includes original shows and films, premium movies, digital movie premieres of upcoming blockbuster films, and more
Telecom operator Vodafone Idea Limited and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) announced a strategic partnership for OTT platform ZEE5. Under the strategic partnership, aimed at driving the growth of digital ecosystem in India, the content portfolio of ZEE5 will be available to Vodafone Idea customers on Vodafone Play as well as Idea Movies & TV app.
Customers of Vodafone Idea can now enjoy the entire content catalogue of ZEE5 thereby providing a seamless viewing experience via multiple devices. The association between the two industry leaders will help create a beneficial ecosystem for viewers that will drive the growth of video viewing in smaller cities and towns in times to come. The content of ZEE5 can be accessed by customers through Vodafone Play or idea Movies & TV app. The ZEE5 content is available across 12 languages like English, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati & Punjabi across genres like Kids content, Cineplays, Live TV and Health and Lifestyle content.
Commenting on the partnership, Avneesh Khosla, Operations Director - Marketing, Vodafone Idea Limited said, “Our customers are constantly seeking rich and diverse content options and we aim to provide enriched entertainment to our customers by offering high quality content on Vodafone Play and Idea Movies & TV. We are happy to partner with ZEE5 and bring their library of content to our customers. Our insights on customer preferences, salience and relevance along with ZEE’s deep understanding of the Indian content viewership habits are being brought together through this partnership. We are happy to offer the entire catalogue of ZEE5 along with 2 exclusive channels to our customers as an introductory offer.”
Speaking about the association, Tarun Katial, CEO, ZEE5 India said, “ZEE5 and Vodafone Idea lend themselves to a complementary partnership. Having established ourselves as the fastest growing OTT platform in India with the largest repertoire of content, we have attracted subscribers across geographies and demographics. We have an ambitious growth plan charted out for us and through this partnership with Vodafone Idea, India’s largest telecom company, we will leverage synergies between the brands and further bolster our presence across the country.”
Through this alliance, Vodafone Idea subscribers will be able to access the content repertoire of ZEE5:
- LIVE TV offering of ZEE’s Network content on Vodafone Play and Idea Movies & TV through ZEE5 app
- Real-time broadcast of shows that are being telecast on any of the ZEE channels including Hindi and regional channels – ZEE TV, & TV, ZEE Anmol, Zing, ZEE Marathi, ZEE Tamil, ZEE Bangla, ZEE Yuva, Sarthak TV, ZEE Kannada, ZEE Cinema, ZEE Action, & Pictures, ZEE Café, & flix, ZEE ETC and so on
- Unrestricted catch up of ZEE Network content through ZEE5 app. Customers will be able to access the ZEE5 content library including TV shows, movies and Before TV content
- Vodafone Idea customers will get access to ZEE5 premium subscription which includes Original shows and films, premium movies, digital movie premieres of upcoming blockbuster films, etc. as an introductory offer
- Vodafone Idea subscribers will have access to the complete content portfolio of ZEE5 that includes the original web-series in Hindi and regional languages (including dubbed versions). ZEE5 offers original content in six languages – Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam
- Customers will also get unrestricted access to the entire movie library on the platform including digital premieres, acquired content, original films and so on.
- The highlight is 2 exclusive linear digital channels including Zee Theatre - premium theatre content to be available on Vodafone Play and Idea Movies & TV app
ZEE5 is India’s fastest growing entertainment OTT destination that has invested heavily in acquiring and producing content that will resonate with a cross-section of viewers across the country. As of December 2018, ZEE5 has 56.3 million monthly active users, who spend an average of 31 minutes on the platform per day. ZEE5 has consistently been amongst the top-5 free and grossing entertainment apps in India as per the Google Play store rankings. In a first of its kind initiative, in the past quarter, ZEE5 launched regional subscription packs for Tamil, Telugu and Kannada users. These tiered SVOD packs enable consumers to watch premium content in a language of their choice at half the price. Subscribers of these packs are also able to watch their favourite TV shows hours before they are aired on television later in the day. This offering has helped ZEE5 gather subscription momentum in the south Indian market.
The Vodafone Play app is a one-stop entertainment destination to enjoy live TV Shows, latest movies and original content. Downloaded by more than 10 Million+ Vodafone Subscribers it gives access to over 9500+ movies,in16 different languages, 300+ live TV channels along with a huge catalogue of original web series and International TV Shows across all genres.
Idea Movies & TV app is an ultimate gateway to popular movies and video watching experience. The robust library comprises of 8500+movies, 400+Live TV Channels, TV Shows and Original Content across various genres. With over 10 million+ downloads Idea Movies & TV app has been growing in popularity and rating of 4.4 on Play store.
Nikhil Madhok of Hotstar Original Content and Deepak Dhar of Banijay Asia, reveal whether or not MS Dhoni’s docu-drama is a move to provide more content to the consumers during IPL
Hotstar recently announced the launch of Hotstar Specials, which will feature shows from India’s most acclaimed storytellers. The first to arrive from this bouquet is ‘Roar Of The Lion’. It charts the journey of Chennai Super Kings’ comeback to IPL through Mahendra Singh Dhoni after a two year ban and lifting the trophy last year. Hotstar claims it’s a story he didn’t even narrate to his own friends. The show hits the streamer on March 20 which couldn’t have been a more apt time because Indian Premiere League begins from March 23. In fact, the first match of the tournament is between CSK and Royal Challengers Bangalore. Could it be a move to get more time spend on the app apart from match viewing? Nikhil Madhok, EVP & Head Hotstar Original Content, insists it’s by default and not by design.
Speaking to exchange4media, Madhok explains, “The way this story panned out, we would have wanted it regardless of whether or not IPL had happened. The stars have aligned in such a way that it is launching a couple of days before IPL. It does have a significant advantage. In the course of next eight to six weeks when the IPL is on, the traffic and the numbers are really mind-boggling. Frankly, it provides this particular show a massive opportunity for people to watch it. In that sense yes, it happened more by default than design which is beneficial. For us, we couldn’t have asked for a more original story for our first Hotstar Special is concerned.”
‘Roar of The Lion’ is a collaboration with Deepak Dhar’s Banijay Asia and MS Dhoni’s Dhoni Entertainment with Hotstar being the OTT platform on which it is mounted. When asked what made Dhar go for Hotstar, the Founder & CEO revealed, “The whole content boom that is happening. Now you want content to be made available on every device possible. This has really become the closest screens and the big screen is quite far off.” He also added how unlike ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ which was in the docu-drama space like ‘Roar Of the Lion’, he never really thought about taking it to the theatres.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni already has a film to his name which speaks about his journey from a TC with the railways to being the World Cup winning captain. The film made Rs 120 crore or more at the box office. So why a show on him makes sense for Hotstar’s consumers? Madhok explains, “We announced our initiative for Hotstar Special a few months ago. Around that point of time, Deepak has come up with the idea of ‘Roar of The Lion’. We found a couple of things exciting. As the home of cricket in the country, Hotstar is the credible platform to tell such a story. In the kind of specials that we are doing, we are trying to be innovative. A story like his which is a mixture of drama and documentary…people are not really exposed to in this country. Given the size and scale Hotstar has we are going to make it available in multiple languages, the entire country can watch it.”
Guest Column: Rohit Dhingra, Co-Founder & CEO of TAGG believes that the current business environment in India has the potential to enhance the growth of the online retail sector
Owing to the rapid technological advancements, the online retailing industry in India has emerged to become one of the most dynamic and fast-growing industries. Factors such as deeper penetration of the internet, increase in smartphone usage and online payments are contributing well towards the growth of the online retail. According to a report by e-Marketer, the e-commerce industry in India has grown more than 3 times since 2015, and by 2022, the same will be worth 71.94 billion dollars.
The current business environment in India has the potential to enhance the growth of the online retail sector. One of the key factors that can fuel its growth is the increase in the number of Internet and smartphone users. According to a recent report of IAMAI, India will have 500 million users internet users by the end of this year. Also, India is one of the booming markets which is observing the rapid growth of smartphone customers. The convenient availability of affordable smartphones will further enhance the e-retailing opportunities in India in the near future.
The rise in transactions through net banking, debit cards, and credit cards is another factor which is augmenting the growth of online retailing. With net-banking and credit/debit cards simplifying the transaction process and the emergence of secure transaction methods like One Time Passwords (OTPs) and secure payment gateways, consumers are preferring to shop online.
Even though the Indian online retailing market has enormous growth prospects, there are a lot of hurdles for e-retailers in the country. Effective logistics play a crucial role in defining the working success of e-retailers as on-time delivery and other priority services are the biggest challenges for online retailers. Also, the cost of logistics in India is high due to the lack of adequate infrastructure along with another significant disadvantage that is the limited technology reserves and developments in the Indian logistics sector. If we observe the other developed countries, there are significantly huge investments carried out in such technologies as Global Positioning System (GPS) to improve the tracking of delivery and shipment of customer orders. Another big difficulty that the sector is facing today is the slow speed internet connectivity which again can have a huge effect on the evolving prospects of online retail in the long run.
Overall, the future of the Indian online retail sector looks bright. The pace at which online retail is growing, it can make a significant contribution to the consolidated retail industry and the economy of our country. The growth of this sector can be boosted enormously, provided we overcome the challenges related to the infrastructure, policy framework and operational environment of our country.
(The author Rohit Dhingra is the Co-Founder & CEO of TAGG, a consumer electronics brand)
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com
The non-fiction travel web series, ‘World of MG: An Indian Abroad’, will be shot in 6 different countries before concluding in India
Published - 1 week ago
Global travel community Tripoto is partnering with British automaker Morris Garages (MG) India for immersive video solutions, offering to boost awareness and sustain interest about the brand ahead of its India launch this year. Tripoto is creating a non-fiction travel web series, ‘World of MG: An Indian Abroad’, which will be shot in 6 different countries before concluding in India.
Tripoto has collaborated with actor and model, Amol Parashar, for the 7-season web series, 1 season each for seven countries. Amol will be travelling to all 7 countries, promoting and sustaining Morris Garages as the world’s foremost luxury car brand. The series will have Amol bring to life how Morris Garages has been a part of these countries through their culture, food, revelry and cars.
Talking about ‘World of MG: An Indian Abroad’, Michael Pargal Lyngdoh, Co-founder, Tripoto, said, “The digital renaissance in our country has triggered the youth to turn to the internet for alternative and shareable content. Web Series have become an impactful way to present a brand and create lasting conversations. Through World of MG: An Indian Abroad, we aim to build a connection for Morris Garages (MG) India amongst our strong and active community of more than 25 Mn+ travelers.”
Speaking on their association woth Tripoto, Pallavi Singh, Marketing Head, Morris Garages (MG) India India, said, “Since the inception of the brand in 1924, storytelling has been an integral part of MG. In India, we have been following in the footsteps by focussing on powerful, emotive video content using new-age digital tools and formats. We’ve had a great association with Tripoto in the past with #RoadToMGLive! Through World of MG: An Indian Abroad series, we hope to take this association further ahead by giving a peek into MG’s global presence across the world and thereby, letting communities experience the local cultural flavour.”
The first of season of the series, shot in Thailand will go live on Tripoto’s social media channels and its website (www.tripoto.com) from March 14 onwards. The four episodes will be shown back to back each day from March 14 to March 17.
Apart from Thailand, ‘World of MG: An Indian Abroad’ has been shot in China and other countries in his travel map are Egypt, Australia, United Arab Emirates, South Africa and then culminating in India.