Hungama aims to increase regional user base by 30% with Audio Originals: Siddhartha Roy

Hungama Digital Media COO says there’s an increase in demand today for local, differentiated and exclusive content

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Hungama has launched a new digital content vertical - Audio Originals. Listeners will now be able to access curated music content hosted by a radio jockey. With audio originals, Hungama aims to increase its regional user base by 30 per cent. 

The first show will be in Tamil and will be hosted by RJ Sindhu. Over the course of the year, Hungama plans to launch 5 to 6 new audio originals in different languages. 

Hungama Digital Media COO,  Siddhartha Roy, spoke to exchange4media about the highlights of Audio Originals and the way forward. Edited excerpts: 

What's the idea behind launching Hungama Audio Originals? 
Hungama audio originals are a different, engaging and interactive way for users to connect with their favourite music. All audio originals that we intend to create will have music at their core. The idea comes from the fact that there is an increase in demand today for local, differentiated and exclusive content. This is true for both, video and audio formats. In fact, over 48 per cent of our audience consumes content in languages besides Hindi. Offering a multi-lingual and multi-genre library is one way to improve the listener experience on music streaming platforms. 

However, listeners are also seeking content that is unique and engaging too. This is where our audio originals play an important role. Our intent is to create shows that offer our users content that is exclusive, enhances their listening experience and also enriches our library further. For instance, our first audio original in Tamil, ‘Endredndrum Punnagai’, will focus on musicians from Tamil Nadu and their contribution to the world of music. It will be hosted by RJ Sindhu, who is a well-known name in the local market and will offer her insights into the works of renowned musicians from the state. This is interspersed with music that represents the artiste being spoken about, giving the listeners a localised experience in a setting made highly engaging by the host.  With our audio originals, we aim to increase our regional user base by 30 per cent. 

How is it different from podcasts? 
A podcast is an audio series that is available to Internet users to listen. Within that technical format, there are different categories available to users. With Hungama Audio Originals, we are exploring shows that remain true to music and offer Hungama Music users an experience that is different, interactive and engaging. 

Your first show is in Tamil. Which other languages will you be delving into? 
We intend to launch 5 to 6 audio originals in the next 12 months in other key Indian languages, including Hindi, Telugu, Punjabi, Bengali and Marathi, among others. 

Everyone is trying to cash in on video advertising. Why the focus on audio? 

We have two distinct platforms for video and music streaming—Hungama Play and Hungama Music. Even on Hungama Music, our users have the option to watch music videos. In fact, we were the first in the country to offer this option. Our focus is not on only video or only audio, it is on both. We believe that it is important for platforms to offer multiple advertising formats and innovations to help advertisers amplify their message. By leveraging the insights available to us through our data, we are able to provide marketers with audience segmentations and format customizations that help them drive more premium and relevant brand interactions. 

How many hours of original audio content do you intend to create? What would be the content type and genres that you would explore? Long or short format? 
We have not set a limit to the number of hours or restricted ourselves to a few genres. Similarly, the length of a show is determined by its content. For instance, in case of our first show, ‘Endredndrum Punnagai’, the first two episodes have a length of about 35 minutes, while the next two are a little above 40 minutes. We have not set a time limit for the forthcoming episodes as well and will let the content, its entertainment and engagement value determine the episode’s length. 

How will it give Hungama Music an edge over others? 
‘Endredndrum Punnagai’ is a personality driven show. Episodes are dedicated to the legends of the Tamil music industry and it features RJ Sindhu talk about these personalities and their contribution to the industry in a warm, interactive and engaging manner. This gives the listeners a chance to get to know their favourites and music icons in a more personal way, in a language that they prefer. The first few episodes of the show have been dedicated to A R Rahman and the following episodes will talk about other musicians from Tamil Nadu. 

The show will also benefit from Hungama Music’s wide availability and multiple customer touchpoints, and reach over 30 million listeners. Consumers can access Hungama Music through Android and iOs apps, on smart devices, web interface and AI-enabled assistants like Alexa. Besides, our strategic association with Xiaomi also gives users the option to enjoy the show and all upcoming audio original shows through Hungama Music on Mi Music.

 

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