Sreekant Khandekar
Editor's Note

The maths of going from Rs 320 crore to Rs 1,920 crore in four years

Can the Rs 4,000-crore Viacom18 really grow its digital revenue 6X rapidly? Company boss Sudhanshu Vats explains why and how it can be done.

“It’s not that digital viewers come from Mars and TV viewers are from Venus!”

I loved that comment from Sudhanshu Vats, Viacom18's boss, in a long interview with afaqs!' Anirban Roy Choudhury last week. Many hard facts emerged including the logic of rising digital revenue. Viacom18 has just launched Voot Select, its paid online app.

These nuggets were spread right across the detailed interview. I’ve put them down all in one place for your convenience. Here goes:

- Today, Rs 320 crore (8%) of the company's Rs 4,000-crore revenue comes from digital; in four years it will be Rs 1,920 crore (24%) on revenue of Rs 8,000 crore. In effect, it will grow 6X promises Sudhanshu.

- The breakup of the Rs 1,920 crore in digital revenue: 40% from ads; 40% from partnerships (telcos eg), the rest from pay (subscriptions).

- India, he believes, will follow China which went from 400 million online users to 800 million between 2012-19. In 2012, the business was entirely ad driven. Today 15-20% of Chinese viewers pay for content.

- Sudhanshu thinks that by 2022, 800 million Indians will be online of whom 120-160 million will pay for content in some form.

- Of these, he thinks that 20-40 million will pay for two or more apps. Today, only 2-3 million Indians do so. "The notion that there will be only one app on each phone is flawed," he argues.

Never have I seen a network head lay out the maths of his digital dreams so clearly. Let’s hope it works out.

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