To cash in on the digital medium, which has become an integral part of brand campaigns and activations, GroupM and O4 Digital Media from Optimystix Entertainment, a TV production company, have come together to launch MashUp, a digital video-based brand solutions company.
Although GroupM is one of the founding partners of the company, MashUp will cater to other clients, too. Currently, MashUp is working with brands like Airtel, Ford, Mercedes Benz, Shoppers Stop, Streax, Citi Bank, Skoda and Gillette, among others.
In fact, the consumers are constantly searching for content online, he says. Therefore, MashUp is a consumer connect service, with the consumer at the centre of the universe. "Today, you can't push content at the consumers. They are pulling it out. MashUp will help brands engage with such consumers by building and nourishing the consumer community," Sharma informs.
He adds that in December 2012, four billion videos were consumed in India, of which a lot were through mobile phones. In a scenario where one of every five minutes spent on the internet is on the social media platform, people could be viewing a lot of videos. This only means that people like rich content package that engages and informs them. "It was a logical conclusion. It was a space where brands' needs were not being serviced," he says.
While Optimystix Entertainment has experience in creating engaging video content, GroupM will bring in its experience with data, measurement and the mathematics behind consumer engagement. "The combination of the skill sets of the two companies, therefore, has been mashed up. MashUp is the ultimate collaboration of data and storytelling. It will offer rich content for the brands online in the context of brand influences," he says.
Interestingly, Optimystix Entertainment provided 'video led sustained engagement' to Airtel (a deal that was closed within 10 minutes, according to Sharma) across the brand's social media platform, last year.
"Internet video consumption is expected to further increase six fold by 2016 (comScore India, August '12; comScore Video Matrix, April 2012; TNS Digital Life, comScore: Video Metric June, 2012)," says CVL Srinivas, South Asia CEO, GroupM. Considering the internet audience size is crossing the English-speaking audience size in the country, video has a larger role to play due to the format compring a universal appeal, he feels.
According to Sharma, one of the key challenges for MashUp will be to make sure that its vision and proposition are understood in their purest form by the brand custodians and ensuring they see value in it.
Internet video consumption has witnessed a growth, with 80 per cent more video views in 2012 than its previous year. The current market size in India is more than 43 million monthly unique viewers; more than 3.3 billion monthly total video streams; and approximately 19 billion minutes spent watching videos online every month, as per comScore India's report.
Optimystix Entertainment was set up in 2000 to create fiction and non-fiction programmes spread across various genres for all major broadcasters in the country. Some of the shows that it has produced include Indian Idol, Comedy Circus, Crime Patrol and Baalveer. Apart from this, the company also produces advertising films.
O4 Digital Media, which was earlier Zed Cube Media, is the digital arm of Optimystix Entertainment. It cashes in on the creative and production skills of Optimystix to produce online content and supplies it to international digital platforms.