VOOT launches 18 web series, to enter UK market in November
Viacom 18's Regional Entertainment and the network's film studio join hands to produce 18 multi-lingual, multi-genre VOOT Originals
Viacom 18’s advertising led video-on-demand platform VOOT has announced its upcoming VOOT Originals-18 multilingual web series across genres and also announced its expansion beyond India, beginning with the United Kingdom, in November 2018.
Apart from launching 18 new web series and the global foray, the streaming platform has now added news genre as well to its offerings. VOOT will also strengthen its engagement and user interactivity experience with superior technology adoption and innovation. “VOOT is integral to our strategy as we gear up for a future-ready Viacom18 that is screen, platform and pipe agnostic. We are building a digital-first brand to harness Viacom18’s strengths across its brands, creative franchises and businesses in multiple Indian languages,” explained Sudhanshu Vats, Managing Director, Viacom18.
“Furthermore, the inherent synergies with Reliance Jio, both as a platform for showcasing content and as a carrier of our service, have only dialled up the business roadmap for VOOT,” he added.
Speaking about the OTT landscape and opportunity in India, Vats believes that the OTT space has evolved drastically in last two years and the revolution brought by Reliance Jio. “In this space, penetration is increasing and data consumption is going up as data is becoming more and more affordable and so are smartphones. The audience who is currently watching video online in India is already close to 300-350 million but the most heartening news is that this number is going to be about 750 million by 2020. That's the size of China today in terms of digital consumption. As we are already second largest country, we can be number one as we go forward.”
The Content Line up
The 18 VOOT Originals will provide an immersive content experience with storytelling across multiple genres like Psychology, Mystery, Sports Biopic, Comedy, Drama, Thriller, Politics, History, Crime and Suspense amongst others. Feet Up with the Stars, It's Not That Simple, Law and Honour, Asura, QWard, The Sawaikar Case and Barefoot 11 are among the few.
In its bid to utilise the strength of storytelling that runs across Viacom 18's various businesses, VOOT has created and collaborated with various brands of the network to create content. Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the network’s movie studio, will now be producing web-series for VOOT, under the banner of Tipping Point Films.
“The digital medium brings us close to the consumer at a very personal level. Owing to the last mile measurability that the medium provides, our entire content strategy is based on a deep data backed analysis of the needs and desires of our consumers and their consumption preferences and patterns. Thus our play across a diverse bouquet of genres and languages,” said Monika Shergill, Head – Content, Viacom18 Digital Ventures.
She added, “At an execution level, we have been extremely lucky to be partnering with a galaxy of very talented and committed actors, writers and directors to bring forth our second bundle of VOOT Originals, starting with 18 multi-genre and multi-lingual series.”
Some of the content will come ahead of the paywall and some will be behind the paywall. The date of original series are not out yet except the show Feet Up with the Stars but Vats mentioned that the series will be released within 6-9 months time.
The Regional Broadcast Entertainment cluster of Viacom18 will be producing multi-lingual VOOT Originals specifically for the discerning digital audience. The network has also launched three regional shows, three in Tamil and one in Kannada. The shows like Dagalti, Sirrai, I See You and Don’t Think are in the pipeline.
News on VOOT
Expanding its genre spread, VOOT will now see the addition of news on its platform with the inclusion of TV18 news. 16 live channels across 13 languages will now bring the latest in current affairs to its viewers, adding to the range and reach of the platform.
Catering to the vast Indian diaspora and the international community that seeks immersive Indian stories, VOOT is all set to debut internationally starting November 2018 with its entry into the United Kingdom. Vats explained, “We wanted to get into a diaspora market which has good representation of India. It is also a market where basically we can test out appeal of Indian content with youth outside our own diaspora. With an Indian origin population of around 1.825mn, the UK market presents a significant reach opportunity for VOOT to leverage. UK is the market where we have maximum number of channels including Colors, Rishtey, Colors HD, MTV Beats and our movie channel as well.”
The platform is entering the market in partnership with one telecom to begin with. Vats added, “In the initial stages, it's important to have right partners. If you look at the model, particularly at behind paywall model, there are two key components which you have to be very careful about. One is the acquisition cost and other is marketing. In marketing also, first the awareness of the platform and later marketing of shows. The juncture at our journey, going with a telecom partner be a good thing to do. But we will follow up with the availability of our product on app stores (Google and iOS), that will be subsequent.”
VOOT will also strengthen its engagement and user interactivity experience with superior technology adoption and innovation. Adding to the user search experience and facilitating easy discoverability will be the adoption of Google Watch Action, an industry first in APAC for premium OTT players. VOOT’s future-ready platform will also enhance the content experience with the introduction of Dolby Surround Sound for all VOOT Originals, a first amongst Indian OTT Players.
What’s next on VOOT?
Vats informed, “As we go forward we will build a portfolio play, we are going to look at Voot International, Voot Freemium which we are working on, we will also look at dedicated Voot Kids service soon.”
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