OTT platforms have greater potential beyond urban consumers: PR Satheesh, MMTV

PR Satheesh, Chief Operating Officer, MMTV, talks about the channel’s entertainment and news app ManoramaMAX, their content plan, strategy and challenges

by Neethu Mohan
Published - Sep 11, 2019 8:26 AM Updated: Sep 11, 2019 3:59 PM

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PR Satheesh

MMTV’s entertainment and news app ManoramaMAX has got close to half a million consumers in a week from its launch, says PR Satheesh, COO, MMTV.

Apart from content from Manorama News, which includes special news content, speed news, life stories and debate shows, content from Mazhavil Manorama is also available as VOD on ManoramaMAX, Satheesh said.

PR Satheesh, Chief Operating Officer, MMTV, talks about channel’s entertainment and news app ManoramaMAX, their plans for content on the OTT platform, content strategy and the challenges ahead.

Tell us more about ManoramaMAX. What are your hopes from the platform?

It is the first 100 per cent Malayalam-only entertainment and news content OTT platform. We have originals and movies which will be streamed on the app before being broadcast on TV.

As we speak, we already have close to half a million consumers between web, Android and IOS on ManoramaMAX. We are very confident that this would help us scale our overall video business in sync with the changing landscape of content consumption and delivery. Watch out for more ManoramaMAX specific content in the next few months.

Other OTT platforms have an active Malayali user base, so what differentiates ManoramaMAX from other OTT platforms? What are the challenges and how are you planning to tackle those?

I think there is space for us and more. Manorama - the heritage brand - stands for credibility, quality and variety. We will focus on these and build on our core customer base and beyond.

Discovery of content in Malayalam is a challenge with OTTs that have Malayalam also as part of their offering, we are a pure-play Malayalam only OTT and that would help us drive consumption beyond the urban/city diaspora.

The audience in markets dominated by the local language prefers to view content in their own language. TV channels have expanded into the language space and we believe OTT too will take the same route - a lot faster though.

Tell us about the strategies MMTV is following to maintain rankings and viewership numbers.

Mazhavil Manorama is a strong No. 2 GEC channel with a wide variety of content that extends from fiction, sitcoms, non-fiction, events and movies that are unparalleled in Malayalam. Our news channel also has a wide range of shows, interviews, events, CSR and of course, the only Conclave in any language from the South. It also recently saw the Hon'ble PM Narendra Modi addressing the inaugural session.

TRAI’s attempt to review tariffs are raising concerns and according to reports, the New Tariff Order may be a threat to the linear TV industry, especially small channels. What’s your take on the same?

Our channels are free to air at this point, we believe that any new act would have some teething issues which would eventually get ironed out.

According to IRS Q2 2019 data, consumption of news on digital platforms is on the rise. How is it going to affect news channels and how are you planning to maintain the viewership numbers?

We have only seen increasing viewership trends as per BARC for the Malayalam News genre over the last two years. We are fully geared up for digital too through manoramanews.com and ManoramaMAX.

How are you strengthening your content offerings?

We have some big plans in both the GEC and News genres over the next few weeks and shall be announcing them soon.

Tell us about your marketing and promotional strategies. How are you planning to market your new initiatives?

We will reach out to our consumers through Malayala Manorama Group that reaches 92 per cent of our audience across the state and our group's digital property which reaches millions of Malayalis all over the world. You will see some innovative and 360-degree push for some of our launches in the next few weeks.

The growth of regional channels has opened new opportunities for advertisers. The ad rates in this segment have still not matched up to the growth. What are your thoughts?

Advertisers are more than willing to pay the right price for good quality content in a brand-safe environment. We have never faced a challenge in acquiring the right price points. Of course, a situation like the floods created temporary setbacks during last year but not on a continuous basis. In fact, this Onam has helped us get some good yield for our inventory.

What are the other expansion plans for MMTV?

We have just taken a big step of launching ManoramaMAX and will be working aggressively at strengthening Manorama News, Mazhavil Manorama and ManoramaMAX to reach the 'numero uno' position.

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