India Bike Week revenues to grow by 40 per cent in second edition

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Marketing | December 09, 2013
While the number of bikers coming to the festival is also expected to be double, the sponsors and exhibitors will increase by more than 50 per cent over last year.

India Bike Week (IBW), a festival for the bikers' community to come together and encourage their love for biking, is coming back with its second edition. Scheduled to take place in Goa on January 17-18, 2014, the festival is expected to break even in the second season.

India Bike Week

Martin da Costa

Snapshot of the Stunt Arena of India Bike Week festival 2013

The event is a joint venture between Seventy EMG, an events company that organises Goa Fest with 200 other such events, and Fox Traveller, an infotainment channel in India. It was launched in January, 2012, as an attempt to tap the maturing biking habit in India.

Martin da Costa, CEO, Seventy EMG, mentions that the target group for this is 18-30 year olds and that India becomes a big market as 60 per cent of the population lies in the below-30 age bracket. He adds, "Though Indians mostly use motorcycles for commutation, the trend is evolving towards passion and lifestyle. IBW is not about biking as a sport (as in international races), it's about brotherhood and lifestyle around biking."

Interestingly, the festival is not very keen on celebrity-stamp. "We don't want to dilute the cause of biking and brotherhood. No biker should feel that he is less important than anyone else and if there is a celebrity, the attention gets diverted. Nonetheless, I would love if Bollywood celebs want to be a part of India Bike Week," explains da Costa.

The event cost about Rs 4-5 crore in the first year. Whereas the costs are expected to increase by about 5 per cent this year, the revenues this year are expected to grow by about 40 per cent. The organizers believe that all the people who visited last year will come back this year; already, there have been encouraging responses from participants. While 700 people with Harley Davidson bikes had participated last year, 1200 owners have already registered for 2014.

The festival is themed around biking and there are close to 70 brands which are expected to come aboard as partners. While Harley Davidson continues to be a major sponsor, around three more bike brands are expected to pitch in. Apart from 14-15 sponsors, 50 brands will be present as exhibitors.

"There aren't any youngsters in India who don't want to upgrade their bike to a higher one. That's the starting point. The festival is highly brand agnostic. Gradually, as the brands understand the potential of the festival, I am expecting all the bike brands in India to be associated with IBW. Harley Davidson plans to launch a bike in the festival. It sold about 150 bikes through last years' IBW contacts," explains da Costa.

Interestingly, despite the fact that about 22 per cent of the attendees were women in the first edition, there aren't any women's brands associated with the event. This year, the festival has a special lounge for women 'IBW loves women bikers' encouraging the female bikers.

In Season One, Fox Traveller packaged the event into four episodes across four weeks, as well as a bunch of vignettes.

The festival's Facebook page has about 3,50,000 likes and the Twitter handle has about 1000 followers. Other brands that were present in the festival last year include Bajaj, Polaris, BMW and Spartan ProGear, amongst others.

Da Costa mentions that a lot of focus is currently on tapping the bike brands. "Currently we are bombarding all the bike companies with information on IBW and the scope of the festival," he adds.

The event is being marketed across all platforms. While Star Network has been tapped for the television promotions (through the partnership with Fox Traveller), there was an extensive on-ground campaign that included a chai-pakora drive and 100 kilometre bike ride events in 20 cities, where a total of 300 bikers rode with IBW. In about 30 cities, there will be city-level marketing through radio. Cinema advertising is also in the plan.

The festival initiated a competition, 'Shoot Your Journey' that invited bikers everywhere to put on their creative hats and send in a short video of a motorcycle journey close to their hearts. The shortlisted videos will be screened at the Ladakh tent and on the Big Trip Cinema during IBW 2014.

Da Costa expects the festival to grow as big as Jaipur Literature Festival, which is the biggest literature festival in India. He adds, "It's not difficult. The India bike market is growing exponentially and is expected to be the third largest bike market by 2020. It's also moving up from 100-150 cc bikes to 350 cc bikes. If you were driving to Leh Ladakh 10 years ago, you would see just a couple of thousand bikes on the complete stretch. But now, you might also get into a traffic jam on the road."

As he puts it, "The first buy that almost every Indian man has is a bike, not a house or a car."

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