'We are building cricket category on MX TakaTak through partnership with IPL teams'
Janhavi Parikh, MX TakaTak Business Head, talks about the short-video platform's IPL strategy
Times Internet-owned short-video platform MX TakaTak has become the official short-form video partner for seven teams--Delhi Capitals, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Sunrisers Hyderabad. It has also become a digital co-powered sponsor on Disney+ Hotstar for IPL.
The platform, which claims to have over 150 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs), plans to use IPL to build cricket category on the platform as well as brand affinity. In an interaction with exchange4media, MX TakaTak Business Head Janhavi Parikh elaborated more on the platform's strategy for IPL.
Can you take us through your IPL marketing strategy?
Cricket is the largest sport in the country and IPL is the largest sporting event. So for us, it made a lot of sense to partner with the teams. We have partnered with seven IPL teams barring Chennai Super Kings (CSK). We have done a 360-degree approach for this IPL. We have done the co-powered sponsorship with Disney+ Hotstar, and in parallel, we have partnered with the IPL teams. We have a promotional plus content partnership with IPL teams. It drives a lot of brand awareness for us and we will also get their players for promotional shoots for us and talk about their plans. It also helps us to build the cricket category on the platform. These teams themselves are on a content journey as they are creating some amazing content. We are getting a lot of that content on our platform.
In addition to that, they are doing a lot of interesting stuff with us like creating cricket content through some of our challenges and that challenge will drive content creation on the platform. It's going to have some engagement for our users. It will help us activate the fans for those teams. Watching your favourite cricketers do something and then copying that is the core of short-video platforms. The co-powered association with Disney+ Hotstar is more of brand activation and we have exciting ideas around that as well. Overall, the idea is to build cricket category on the platform and drive brand awareness.
What kind of brand campaign have you planned on Disney+ Hotstar?
The campaign that is on-air is the one with the Delhi Capitals team. We will be doing something similar with some of the other teams. In addition to that, we have a very interesting thought as our campaigns are going to drive creation for us on the platform by encouraging folks to download MX TakaTak and create videos. The best videos will get featured in our ad campaigns. What is very important for a UGC platform like us is that users must come and not just consume content but also create content. We have a lot of talent across the country and giving encouragement to this talent through fame or chance of overtime monetising that content is what is going to drive the creation and giving them a platform to display the kind of content which they create. That is how we are approaching some of the creatives. We are encouraging creators to create content and then get featured in our campaign.
What are the fan engagement activities planned with IPL teams?
I can't disclose much as we are positioning this as a surprise for our fans. We have very exciting fan engagement activities coming up and the teams are also very excited to work with us. It gives them direct access to fans on the platform. It's not just a sponsorship but a content deal as well. It's a win-win deal for both parties.
What kind of growth are you expecting from during IPL?
Our objective goes beyond IPL and it extends to cricket as a whole. We are doing a lot of interesting things in this area over the next two years because people are very passionate about cricket. There are very engaged fan communities around cricket and there is a lot of interesting content that can get created. We will grow significantly and short-video is expected to grow 4X in the next four years. There is a huge opportunity for growth and there are a lot of different categories in which we will continue to grow. We are focussing on language as well as category diversity. In addition to that, what is going to drive our growth is building a very robust ecosystem giving creators the right to create content, to get discovered, and also over time to monetise.
From a content category perspective, what are your key focus areas?
I will break that into four or five areas. The most important categories are entertainment (comedy, dance and music), lifestyle, fashion, food, and sports. These will be the primary focus areas for us in terms of categories. We are also building language diversity. In each of these verticals, you need to bring content from North as well as South. We are a little skewed towards Hindi but we will continue to go to other languages as well. There is a lot of scope to grow there. That is what we will be doing in the category and language area. But the other thing that will drive growth for us is getting fresh original content from long-tail creators or the top creators. We have 70% of the Top 1000 creators who were on TikTok. A large chunk of the creators on the platform are exclusively with us.
Our approach is to bring the long-tail talented creators on the platform. To drive that, we have announced the creator fund which we believe will also drive a lot of people to come to MX TakaTak and leverage their talent to create the best content.
How do you plan to spend the Rs 100 crore fund and how many creators have benefitted from that fund?
We have a plan in place but I can't talk about the details of it. The plan for the creator fund is to give creators the opportunity to just focus on creating content without worrying about how they will pay their bills. We are in the middle of it and over the next few months, we will start publishing the data around it.
Apart from Hindi, which are the other language markets that you are focussing on?
In regional, our first focus will be south to grow Tamil. Then there are other pockets like Marathi, Gujarati, and Kannada which we will grow this year.
Short-video platforms have been partnering with content publishers. What is the idea behind this?
Short-video has captive attention several times during the day. It makes a lot of sense for publishers to partner with us. It's a win-win situation because it gives us engaging content that people are interested in consuming and at the same time drives views and eyeballs for the publishers.
Have you started monetising the reach and engagement that you have built on the platform?
It's still early days for us as far as monetisation is concerned. Brands are really interested in working with us. We have done early-stage test campaigns with few brands and they have gone very well. So the next few months we will focus on driving growth and engagement. The bottom line is that it is a rapidly growing category and we will open up completely for monetisation where we see the opportunity. At this point, we are a bit slow on monetisation.
How are you building stickiness in a category which is highly fragmented?
A lot of creators are looking at fame and monetisation. From our perspective, we are well-positioned to give the creators a lot of things that other brands may not be able to. One is our connection with the Times Group. We are providing the creators an opportunity to get famous. Due to our association with MX Player, we are also doing things like giving opportunities to feature in our originals. Overall, our focus has been creator-first. One of the pillars of that is the Rs 100 crore creator fund.
What is your marketing strategy?
We will focus on both ATL and digital marketing. IPL is a big thing for us this year. We did something similar last year as well. This year the approach is slightly different with the franchise partnerships. We will continue to look at interesting opportunities for ATL but the focus will remain on digital marketing. In addition, there are lots of avenues like social content amplification.
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