Will launch few big shows including original content: Ravi Shharma, Saavn

Ravi Shharma, Senior VP and Head of Sales at Saavn, talks about growth strategy, diversifying into regional content, their key differentiator and the digital music arena being on the cusp of a revolution

e4m by Ruhail Amin
Updated: Mar 6, 2018 8:53 AM

Over the last few years, digital music in India has come a long way. There was a time when it was limited to caller-tunes and ringtones, but now it is fast becoming the predominant source of legally consumed music.

However, despite the rise in popularity of digital music platforms, the biggest challenge that Indian music streaming industry still faces is about making streaming more attractive than pirated content. According to some market research reports, only 3 to 5 percent of the music consumed in India is legal.

Given these challenges, one of the leading digital music platforms—Saavn is rewriting the rules of digital music consumption. Despite the clutter in the online music ecosystem, Saavn has managed to establish its differentiated offering to develop a leadership role in the online music streaming market.

According to Ravi Shharma, Senior Vice-President and Head of Sales at Saavn, the biggest driver of this success is their laser-sharp consumer focus. “There is tremendous amount of fragmentation in the market and to counter this, we are very clear about keeping the consumer in focus. We are a narrow cast medium and at the end of the day all brands want to reach the right target audience in the most efficient manner. There is an overload of messaging on Radio and TV channels, so as the biggest differentiator, when it comes to brand messaging, Saavn offers the right solutions by helping them connect with the right audience in an environment which is completely uncluttered,” he said.

Speaking about Saavn’s growth strategy for 2018, Shharma adds, “All our marketing activities are centered around the user. In fact our endeavour is to provide promising artistes a place where they can showcase their talent and Saavn will continue to do that. Also, over the last two years we have diversified into regional content. Moreover in 2018, we are planning to launch a few big shows which will also include original content.  Bira 91 partnered with Saavn in 2017 and took over the Hip Hop genre on the streaming platform and created a Bira 91 Hip Hop brand channel. Brand channels are a unique proposition which allow brands and advertisers to connect with their audience through music. This brand channel is virtual real estate within the home page of Saavn and can direct users to the brand's own curated playlists, allowing themselves to associate with particular genres, music, artists, languages etc."

A Nielsen study of Saavn & Bira 91’s Hip - Hop association has shown phenomenal results with the report indicating how Saavn’s Brand Channels increase purchase intent 7 times more on average. The channel has influenced the spending behavior patterns of millennials with 79% of respondents saying that the source of recall for Bira 91's ad campaign was Saavn. This strategic association of the two brands is helping Bira 91 expand its digital footprint. As a result of Bira 91’s Hip-Hop Channel on Saavn, 27% of users were able to relate the hip-hop genre with the beer brand.

It must be mentioned that the digital music industry in India is on the cusp of a big revolution. According to a report by Deloitte, India’s digital music industry is expected to cross Rs. 3,100 crore in revenue by 2020. Though the digital music space might hold a big promise, however the biggest challenge for existing players is to find a sustainable business model which also promises high ROI. Commenting on the long-term revenue model for online streaming platforms, Shharma explains, “For us, both ad based and subscription-based revenue models are important, though advertising drives the bigger part of it. In the near term, I think ads will continue to drive the majority of revenues for digital music players.”

With India likely to overtake China by 2022 to become the most populous nation on Earth, the estimated one billion mobile internet users seem most likely to emerge as the biggest consumers of digital content of which digital music is expected to form a considerable part.

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