entertainment and brand solutions arm of Network18, which began its operations a year ago, has big plans lined up in the entertainment space.
In 2007, the popular Independence Rock concert was taken to three cities, Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, for the first time in 23 years. This year, the concert will be taken to Pune and Kolkata as well. In October, there are plans to bring the international band, Def Leppard, to perform in Mumbai and Bengaluru. Independence Rock is the country's biggest and extravagant rock festivals held every year and has huge fan following from rock fans across the country. Farhad Wadia, has been the torchbearer of the Independence Rock festival for more than 20 years.
Farhad Wadia, chief executive officer, E18, who has been in charge of the venture since its inception, says, "We are organising an East Meets West event in November 2008. Jethro Tull, a Grammy winning act, will be presented along with a recital by Anoushka Shankar." The event will be held in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Kolkata. Wadia claims that a rock concert with Scorpions, a popular rock band from Germany, held in December 2007 at Shillong, Meghalaya, attracted nearly 40,000 people.
Wadia explains that E18 has been divided into three verticals, B2B, B2C and corporate business. Under the B2B vertical, E18 undertakes industry specific events such as conclaves and seminars, while under the B2C vertical, it undertakes events such as music concerts in the entertainment space. He says E18 has organised big scale events such as the 3G Summit in Delhi and the Green Initiatives for IT, and worked with clients such as Nokia, Coca-Cola, Hewlett Packard, Compaq and Cadbury.
In the corporate business vertical, E18 plays the role of an event management agency. Wadia says, "We take the client's brief and execute it. We understand the client's advertising needs and come up with a customised solution." This offers a complete, 360 degree solution. The company has handled the launch of Meru Cabs and the Reva electric car in Delhi. It has also handled events for CNBC, CNN-IBN and Wockhardt.
Recently, when Xerox was introducing its printer series, it wanted a gathering of chief technology officers of information technology (IT) companies. "People wouldn't have turned up had Xerox called them just to see the printers, so we organised an event around IT, featured their product line and invited the desired people," Wadia says. He adds that the content was so interesting that they leveraged it on CNBC. "E18's mandate is to leverage each and every brand in the stable of Network18. We have everything, including entertainment (the Viacom18 brands), business and general news," he states.
"We try to offer solutions in a way which creates interesting content that can be leveraged across our television networks," he says. E18 has struck large scale deals with publications to leverage the print medium as well.