Viacom18's INS launches 'Spotlight'

By Prachi Srivastava , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | March 26, 2014
The specialised division will include a bunch of celebrities, from various fields, who will help brands engage with consumers.

Viacom18's brand solutions offering, Integrated Network Solutions (INS), has launched another sub-division called 'Spotlight'.


Jaideep Singh

INS was launched last year with two divisions- Viacom 18 Live and BE Viacom18. While Viacom 18 Live creates large format events which are exclusive Viacom18 properties like Video Music Awards India (VMAI), BE Viacom18 focuses on offering integration opportunities and marketing solutions to brands (advertisers) through the products of Viacom 18 Motion Pictures.

'Spotlight', meanwhile, will bring on board celebrities from different walks of life and offer them digital solutions. It will not only manage their social media accounts but will also create special content on digital around them. Additionally, it will tie-up with brands who want to engage with consumer on a digital platform through these celebrities, who want to use these celebrities for driving their communication agendas. Here Spotlight will work on the 'revenue share' model with the celebrities.

To start with, the division has acquired 30 celebrities across different verticals - music, Bollywood, sports, fashion. It has got people like Ranvijay, Raghu, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Diana Hayden. Spotlight will create a whole ecosystem of leveraging the content that is created around them, deploy the content on the online space and on phones. The second part of the business is that Spotlight will partner with telecom operators, and handset manufacturers for the distribution of the content on mobile.

Jaideep Singh, SVP and business head, Viacom18, Integrated Network Solutions, says, "Viacom18 has done a lot in the digital and social media space. Spotlight is an initiative for the "instant connect". Its operations started just a few months back. The initial work was being done to get celebrities on board, get content ready for them and partner with the brands, telecom operators and handset guys."

Spotlight has signed deals, or the deal is in advanced stage with telecom operators like Vodafone, Aircel and Tata Docomo. The company has also got Twitter, Facebook pages of the celebrities done. It is working on an app for distributing the content on mobile phones. "There are 50 odd properties conceived around these celebrities and now these will be marketed for brands to partner," Singh adds.

The company is looking at an industry revenue of 40-60 per cent from the telecom operators. The revenue from brands will depend on what kind of reach Spotlight is able to deliver them and what solution it provides to them.

When asked why did INS get into digital, Singh explains that Viacom18 operates in many entertainment spaces- Bollywood, music, GECs and this is an interesting space to explore. "It kinds of seeds in very well with our Live and broadcast business as well. If you have celebrities and if you can build interesting properties around them, these can be a good fit for the network's broadcast business. We could use these properties and make it big for brands and broadcast channel. So, there is a synergy opportunity."

Honey Singh at MTV Video Music Awards 2013

Supersonic 2013

Having said that, Singh believes that the company has an understanding of how to take a broadcast asset to online or vice versa, which is something very rare to find in the industry today. "With the stuff we have on Viacome18 Live and BE Viacom18 today, Spotlight will always have a larger scope to play and when we talk to brands we will be able to give them much larger holistic solutions which may not be found in any agency which is operating only in that space. There is a scale that can come in, reach potential which not necessarily anybody else will have in the market."

Singh says that INS has done fairly well in past one year. "We have executed close to 10 large format IPs, a couple of which aired on GECs. We have Supersonic, which is as big as Sunburn in terms of its positioning, days, artists, footfall. MTV Emerge, Comedy Central Chuckle Festival, all have been successful properties. While the first year of INS was about establishing the three divisions, this year we will look at further strengthening the divisions, find synergies for these three verticals to add on to each other."

The team size for Spotlight is around 40 people. While the cost of investment is not much consider its more about the digital medium, Singh mentions, "Overall INS from Viacom18 perspective is not an investment mode business. It is more of a business which should move into a break even or margin play, with a sizeable revenue input to the company."

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