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MTV launches co-branded phablet with Swipe Telecom

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | February 12, 2013
The initiative is a part of MTV Consumer Products business, which contributes to about 15 per cent to the total turnover of MTV.

MTV India, in association with the California-based Swipe Telecom, has launched a co-branded six-inch phablet (phone+tablet) titled the MTV Volt. Available at Rs 12,999, the Android device features an exclusive inbuilt TV-player, offering viewers access to popular MTV content.

MTV Volt

According to MTV, the agreement with Swipe Telecom is a two-year licensing deal and the initiative is a part of MTV Consumer Products business which retails merchandise and other products based on the owned licensed properties of Viacom18, of which MTV is a part. This business contributes about 15 per cent of the total turnover of MTV.

The app has been made in partnership with Indian TV Channels (an application which allows live streaming of TV on mobile devices) and the content offered on the device may be monetised through advertisements.

According to Swipe Telecom, MTV Volt will be available across 10,000 retail points across India, Swipe e-stores and other e-commerce portals. Designed to target the Indian youth, Swipe also plans to develop a portfolio of eight to 12 MTV phones and phablets, built around youth interests and aspirations, in the future.

Sandeep Dahiya

Speaking to afaqs! about the objective behind this tie up, Sandeep Dahiya, senior vice-president and business head, consumer products, Viacom18, says, "Mobile today is one of the most significant devices for the Indian youth and thus becomes one of the most important platforms for us as well. This initiative is in line with MTV's idea to create an interactive eco-system in which the youth can become a part at an affordable price point."

MTV already has a presence on mobile web and also operates apps on iOS and Android. Explaining how the present branding will be different from its already existing presence on the mobile web, Dahiya says that MTV so far had an app and community presence on mobile, but this is more in line with owning a product that becomes a touch point for the brand amongst the people.

Moreover, according to Dahiya, the content strategy on this platform will be different as it will provide access to all popular shows like Roadies and Splitsvilla, but won't stream the exclusive music videos that are released on MTV.

In 2009, MTV had done a similar licensing deal with Micromax for one year for MTV branded mobile phones, which, it is claimed, sold more than 230,000 units.

Shripal Gandhi, founder and CEO, Swipe Telecom says that since its India entry in 2011, Swipe has been positioning itself as a youth brand to promote its tablets and smartphones. "As a youth brand, there can be no better driver than MTV for us. We observed that there is a gap between the adoption of smartphones and tablets and hence we came up with the concept of a branded phablet," Gandhi adds.

Gandhi says that the launch of the device will be supported by an offline campaign consisting of out-of-home advertising supported by an interactive campaign in the digital space as well.

MTV has launched several social media initiatives to promote its brand. Last year, it launched what was called India's first social streaming reality show, titled 'Nano Drive with MTV', that captured the journey of four teams on a road trip on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The activity was done in association with Tata Nano.

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