India gives opportunity to succeed even at a small market share: CEO, Vice India

Hosi Simon, CEO, Vice APAC and Chanpreet Arora, CEO, Vice India, speak about the company’s India strategy and the unique growth opportunity that this market offers.

by Ruhail Amin
Published - Apr 20, 2018 9:16 AM Updated: Apr 20, 2018 9:16 AM

Vice Media has officially announced its operations in India. The North American digital media and broadcasting company plans to bring locally relevant content to millions of youngsters in English and regional languages.


In an interview with exchange4media, Hosi Simon, CEO, Vice APAC, and Chanpreet Arora, CEO, Vice India, spoke about the company’s India strategy and the unique growth opportunity that this market offers.

Excerpts:

Would it be right to say that you are coming to an already cluttered market? What is your India strategy going to be like?

Hosi Simon: I think clutter is one way to describe the market in India. I believe the Indian market is going through a moment of complete transformation. There are a lot of players, the status-quo is being appended, there is innovation and new things are happening every day. There is an environment where all things are confusing, cluttered, changing, challenging and being appended. And this is the kind of environment where Vice will thrive. I would say, this for us, is a perfect ground to do what we do--- be agile, humble and hopefully smarter, faster, better and more interesting than others.

Chanpreet Arora: There are 3-4 things happening simultaneously-- the explosion of open platforms and OTT platforms in India at one level and the programmatic monetization revolution and democratization of access to content. These things are changing the way we look at media and the content ecosystem. We are going beyond metros into deep urban India which creates a perfect ecosystem for independent content players to become omnipresent and actually reach out to more audiences. I don’t see it as a cluttered environment; I see it as a growing market where there is true opportunity to succeed even at a small market share.

What took you so long to come to India?

Hosi Simon: I think the timing is perfect for us. We took a lot of time and we are here for long term. We are here because we think we can build a successful and a very impactful business both for India and the rest of the world. The market is, as I said earlier, transforming, changing and a perfect place for us to be here.

Most of the content publishers in India are betting big on regional content, how are you looking at dealing with a linguistically fragmented market?

Hosi Simon: Since the day we started talking about coming to India and operating here, it was always about telling stories which you can’t otherwise find. These stories are coming from different parts, different regions, different cultures, and different economic sections. I think interesting stories in India will come from the ground, by finding young people who believe in their own stories and highlighting issues that affect them. Until this point they never had a way of telling that story, distributing that story or getting that story heard. I think Vice can play a role in that.

Chanpreet Arora: We will have 70 per cent local and 30 per cent global content. The 70 per cent local content will be a mix of video, editorial, podcast, multi-media etc. We intend to have a strong play of Hindi and a mix of other regional languages.

There is this debate about short form versus long form content, given the lack of attention span. How are publishers addressing it? Will long form content stay relevant in the long run?

Hosi Simon: Let me tell you that we make 30-minute videos and people watch it for 30 minutes. If a piece of content is good, even if it is 20 minutes or 30 minutes long, people will watch it. People have told us that long form is dead, but we are doing good with this format. Ultimately, what we do is long form. We make long form documentary online. I think people are nervous and confused and trying different things and all of these things are fine. But we are confident about the content that we create, the results speak for itself, the data speaks for itself, people watch our content and they are extremely engaged with our content.

Chanpreet Arora: I would say the attention span on every platform is very different. The six-second videos may be applicable to Facebook etc, but that is not what you will see on YouTube. So it ultimately depends on the platform it is created for.

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