We are accustomed to a broadcaster or digital video on demand player conceptualising ideas and creating content. Then they go and team up with various media agencies to plan the monetisatisation part. How often do we come across a scenario where an agency conceptualises a show, owns the intellectual property rights (IPR), buys airtime on a channel to televise the content and then ropes in an over-the-top (OTT) player as a 'powered by' sponsor? Not often.
We are talking about McDowell's No. 1 Yaari with Rana, the Telugu chat show that's a bit similar to Koffee with Karan. It is hosted by Bahubali actor Rana Daggubati who indulges in candid conversations with actors from the Telugu film fraternity. The show is aired every Sunday on Telugu General Entertainment Channel, Gemini TV. The channel and the show both hold second position (Telugu Market) in Broadcast Audience Measurement Council India's charts (Week 29).
Mindshare's specialised unit Content + has ideated the show for its client McDowell's No.1, the liquor brand from Diageo's stable. The agency then bought 30 minutes airtime on Gemini TV to televise the show. Next they partnered video on demand platform - Viu, who associated in the partnership as a powered by sponsor. Apart from the marketing mileage, Viu, as a part of the partnership gets exclusive streaming rights of the show. Gemini TV doesn't air any repeats, so if someone has misses an episode the only way to get hold of it is Viu.
The ones who believed that excel sheet analysis and an MBA cannot create quality content will have to reconsider. Devendra Deshpande, head, Content+, Mindshare South Asia, tells us that the genesis of this show is in data and analytics. "We first studied the trends to find out what will work, we identified that friendship and films are part of our deep rooted culture and then we created a format which a brand will be able to capitalise. This is the #1 chat show on TV in India, the ratings are better than The Kapil Sharma Show," he adds.
Step two was identifying the market and there too data and insights played a vital role. "Out of more than 1000 movies releasing in India every year, close to 350 films originate in Andhra Pradesh and the industry shares a very friendly relationship. Also, we identified that the consumer in that market is hungry for a format like this as there isn't a predecessor of a show of this kind," says Deshpande while explaining how and why they zeroed in on these markets.
The creators knew they didn't want the show to be a one-off. "The idea was to create a sustainable template. We are not only looking at season 2 and 3, but are also considering a replication in other important markets," he adds.
"When the idea was ready, we started thinking about strategic partnerships and that's when Viu and Gemini TV came into picture. Viu has huge popularity in the Telugu market and it's an OTT player which is why we approached them. We convinced them that this show is going to work; assured them of our multiple markets expansion and offered them the first right to refusal on other markets too. That's how they came in as 'powered by' sponsor," informs Deshpande.
We are wondering, why is an agency, instead of eying a few effective spots, investing in coming up with content, creating ideas and pitching the same to OTT platforms? "Existing property can give awareness, but to build a long term connect the brand needs to have some ownership. If I use the term 'quiz contest', which brand name comes to your mind?" asks Deshpande. "Bournvita, right?" he answers. "As more such initiatives surface, partnerships that were previously completely strategic between Mindshare and its clients are now moving to co-investment, where both, the expenditure and revenue is shared," asserts Deshpande.
Viu has both acquired and original content in its portfolio, Cricket chat show, 'What the duck', Vikram Bhatt's 'Gehrayiaan' and 'Spotlight' to name a few, so what drove Viu into the mix? "We follow a localised approach with our content strategy and we saw that this format goes well with it. I mean, we have a Koffee with Karan in the HSM but in the regional market we do not have a celebrity chat show. That is when we decided to get into the partnership," informs Vishal Maheshwari, country head, Viu India.
Maheshwari feels this is nothing but another conventional three-way partnership, done in a new platform. He thinks we will continue to see many more such partnerships. As far as this partnership is concerned Maheshwari terms it as an "integral" one, "A lot of work has gone in together on the show, who should be the main anchor, how should it be shot... we have had our say in the production of the show," he adds.
McDowell's has always promoted a close bond and friendship and its campaigns under the No.1 Yaari banner have always highlighted it. This show, too, is an effort in that direction says, Abhishek Shahabadi - AVP, marketing at Diageo India, adds, "This No.1 Yaari show is created in the lines of our philosophy, it shows what McDowell's No. 1 soda stands for."
Why Telugu and not Hindi? "Regionalisation creates a greater consumer pull. We have clear evidence of content working better when created in local regional languages," Shahabadi adds. The Hindi No.1 Yaari song is recreated in Telugu and the song leads to the episode.
The title sponsor is buoyed by the numbers and acceptance of the show and is also evaluating an expansion in other markets. Shahabadi feels that the TV and digital mix has played a vital role in the success of the show, "Digital is becoming more and more important day-by-day and through the platform we can reach out to wide audience, which is a big advantage," he adds.
A source close to the development informed afaqs! that a 30 minute slot for 13 episodes on Gemini TV would cost approximately Rs 30 lakhs. Whereas the production cost of the show is estimated to be around Rs 8 lakh per episode.