Helo embraces diversity and allows creative expression in mother tongue: Chhandita Nambiar

Nambiar, Head of Entertainment at the Bytedance-owned app, explains how Helo opened up a regional space for brands to connect with users

e4m by Shreshtha Verma
Updated: Feb 18, 2020 3:52 PM


Chhandita Nambiar

With the increased penetration of affordable data and smartphones in the country, Indian regional languages are thought to define India's Internet in the coming future. As per a recent KPMG report, Indian language Internet users are expected to account for nearly 75% of India's internet user base by 2021. As a leading regional social media platform, Helo is perfectly cashing in on this opportunity. While bridging the gap between popular celebrities and regional audience, it also opens a huge space for marketers to connect with the common audience.

In interaction with exchange4media, Chhandita Nambiar, Head of Entertainment, Helo talks about how the phenomenon of increasing internet penetration is helping social media apps like Helo to grow in the regional market of India.

According to a recent report by App Annie, Helo, a regional social media app, is amongst the most downloaded. Available in 14 languages, Helo has a user base of around 50 million.

Nambiar revealed that Helo also secured a space in the list of top  5 recent break-out apps in the social media category in the year 2019.

Launched in mid-2018 to compete with homegrown startup ShareChat, Helo by ByteDance is a vernacular language social media and entertainment platform. The app was originally launched to cater to the non-speaking regional audience of India.

"Strategic partnerships are part of Helo’s ongoing commitment to localise popular content among Indian communities," said Nambiar. "As a platform that embraces diversity across generations and allows users the freedom of creative expression in their mother tongue, Helo is no more just an entertainment app but also becoming a powerful tool of promotion for various brands and celebrities."

With its distinctive product offerings and highly interactive user base, many leading brands including Tripoto, Edureka, OutlookTraveller, Natgeo, OYO, Yatra, India Film Project and many more have exclusively joined Helo's bandwagon and are actively seen connecting and engaging with their target audience through multiple content formats available on the app.

Since Helo's uniqueness and strength lie in language, brands like Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle Digest have also partnered with Helo to revive their IPs by converting their comics to digital language formats, making it more relevant and interesting for their readers, she added.

Reiterating its commitment to provide its community of over 50 million monthly active users access to popular, trending and engaging content, Helo also launched a strategic partnership with leading entertainment show Bigg Boss Hindi Season 13, hosted by Salman Khan.

Helo has partnered with the Colors Bigg Boss franchise in 5 Indian languages. "As the leading regional social media platform, we are deeply committed to providing endless entertainment options to our users," said Nambiar. Helo caters to the surging demand of multiple language entertainment to provide exclusive content to its users. Nambiar revealed that this is done through unique content integration with regional shows such as with Bigg Boss. Their partnership with all 6 editions of the show has garnered significant traction. The star participants from BigBoss across all editions continue to actively interact with their fans, posting exclusive content on the platform.

Nambiar feels that Helo as a platform is relevant to every section of the society as it encourages the exchange of perspectives and information across a diverse array of cultures and beliefs. Talking about their marketing and communication strategies, she said that Helo's marketing efforts are focused on building value-driven awareness while emphasizing the key ethos of the brand -- to be inclusive and stay rooted at heart.

Helo also launched its flagship in-app show ‘Friday Fever', a one-of-a-kind show that aims to bring fans closer to their favourite movie stars.

Popular Bollywood celebrities such as Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Arjun Kapoor and Kriti Sanon have featured on the show, she shared. Celebrities engage with their audience in a fun and interactive manner on this show. Vijay Deverakonda was the first to appear on the ‘Friday Fever’ show and Helo has also partnered with Vijay Devarakonda’s multilingual film, ‘Dear Comrade’ as the film’s Presenting Partner.

"We also engages in a lot of activities to promote regional languages on our app," said Nambiar.

With Hindi being one of the most popular languages on the app, Helo celebrated Hindi Diwas and gave the Hindi community a platform to interact with each other through Shayari, calligraphy, poems and motivational quotes. #HindiDiwas had an interesting challenge as #HindiTongueTwister where Helo users could test how fluent they can read Hindi text.

In 2019, they had collaborated with Cricket World Cup 2019. Helo gave cricket fans a chance to cheer for team India in England with its #CheerForIndia campaign. The most active users During the campaign also got a chance to travel to England and witness team India’s match live.

"The popularity of Helo has seen the emergence of many popular creators on the platform from non-English speaking belt who are making a living out of it," she concluded.

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