Regional content is a priority: Karan Chaudhry, President and COO, TVF
Chaudhry tells us about the platform's push into the regional market and expectations for the upcoming festive season
The Viral Fever started its journey with YouTube and has emerged as a top content creator with their web series being screened on many OTT platforms. With a reach of 20 million followers across all its channels, the platform now has robust growth plans for India. Speaking to exchange4media, Karan Chaudhry, President and COO, TVF, explains why the platform is looking to get bigger in scale in India before deciding on whether or not to move to a ‘freemium’ model from AVOD.
In the world of OTT, localised and regional content seem to be getting a lot of push. What are TVF’s plans of getting into the regional market?
That is expected. Now you have over 500 million people online. If you talk about India 1, India 2 and Bharat with top 100 mn in the first category, the next 100 mn in India 2 and the rest are in Bharat. The moment you get into 500-600 million, you are getting into lot of tier II, tier III population. So localised content is the only way to go forward on that side.
We have multiple deals with Amazon, Netflix, SonyLIV, MX Player, Zomato and Flipkart. Everyone is getting into content, so we get approached by everyone. Having said that, regional is a big priority. You will see a lot of regional content on TVF Play pretty soon. They may or may not be available on other platforms, we still have to decide that. We saw this wave almost 18 months back and we have been working on it diligently. We are going into the market with regional content to brands as our offering.
TVF Play is an AVOD platform. Is there any plan to switch to the SVOD format?
People paying for subscription still needs to be a habit in India. SVOD is still in infancy right now. We are a startup, so we would first like to grow to 40-50 mn MAUs (Monthly Active Users). We also work with a lot of brands, so we don’t just make money off pre-rolls and ad-rolls but by also integrating brands into our shows and videos. Therefore, our model on the ad side is much more lucrative than the others. We feel we can lead a fairly robust model on the AVOD side and then once we reach the scale, we will explore a ‘freemium’ model after that in India and not necessarily a SVOD one.
Has there been a growth in advertising revenues as well?
It’s interesting actually. A lot of platforms don’t allow ads. So you have an SVOD universe spread out. If you see, 85 per cent of digital spends happen on Facebook and YouTube. Apart from a few, OTTs don’t command that kind of grand dollars today. I read a report which said 30 per cent of all ad spends next year will be on digital, I totally believe it. You need to go where your audience is.
We are almost doubling our revenues year on year. We always focus on value to the brand. We were the first to do web series in India. We are expecting it to grow by 75-100 per cent YOY for the next four to five years.
Has there been any change in consumer profile in the OTT ecosystem?
That’s also changing rapidly. In last couple of months, a lot of these General Entertainment Channels have brought their TV inventory online. Now you can find the TV shows online. These are consumed by housewives in the afternoon. Right now, with the whole Tier II, Tier III and regional exploring, geographies are getting lit up every day.
We have a channel Girliyapa, which has 65 per cent women and 35 per cent men. Yes, internet is male-dominated in India. Ratios are still about 65-75 per cent males. It has the potential for more. We see a lot of markets opening up like housewives segment, catch up TV or others, it gives a start.
India will get into the festive mode soon. What are your expectations from the coming months?
We are growing 100 per cent YOY and we see 50-60 per cent of our revenues come from October to March. Brands have the same mindset. OTT is growing because the audience is there and the brands have to reach out to that audience. Sixty to seventy per cent of brand spends will happen between October-March because a large chunk of the spends are taken up by IPL from April-May. That also kind of creates an artificial inflection.
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