The head – youth, music and English entertainment, speaks about the network’s maiden offering in this space and its other digital properties.
Viacom18’s Youth, Music and English Entertainment (YME) cluster will be launching its maiden short-form video offering Fully Faltoo to provide web shows and snackable content. It is also launching a new business division ‘KaanPhod’, to provide emerging musical artistes an opportunity to showcase their talent.
In an interview with Anshul Ailawadi, head – youth, music and English entertainment, Viacom18, he explains the importance of these digital properties for the television network.
Beyond monetisation, these properties help the network expand its presence across platforms.
“The touchpoints are getting fragmented today- viewers are watching content on a streaming service on television at home and mobile phone while travelling. Also there's a certain aesthetic that we could use while creating content for television or OTT. But people are not focusing on that aesthetic on other platforms like YouTube or Facebook. And that creator economy is growing very fast. With this we are putting our foot in that space,” he explains.
But this is not an attempt to reach different TGs. Rather it is to target the same TG across different platforms. The content will be available across digital platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Jio and its OTT platform Voot.
The platform is now venturing into the new space to fill the need gap for short video space.
“The audience taste has changed, but not at the cost of their existing preference for producer generated long-form content. Now there are many more options and storytelling can be done in much shorter duration than it used to be earlier. There's one strategic touch point that we were missing. Now we’ve added short content to our portfolio. Content that can be consumed on the go without any hindrance - when, where and how you want it,’ he adds.
With KaanPhod, the network will be going back to the early days of MTV. “Back in the day, airing a music video on MTV made it popular. With that we perfected our art of identifying creators. We have the ability to spot talent. So KaanPhod takes that DNA to a multi-platform world,” Ailawadi explains.
Season one of ‘Mic Test’ on KaanPhod, will introduce 10 promising new artists and their original tracks, which will also be made available for viewers on television (MTV, MTV Beats, and Vh1), social and streaming platforms.
“It also helps us strategically because it helps us keep our ears closer to the ground. We are able to better understand what the next big thing in music will be. It also opens us up to a lot of interesting inputs from other platforms, social and streaming. You have access to all those feedback loops when you own the IP- who's consuming the music, what kind of music are they consuming, etc,” he shares.
Ailawadi has a three-fold agenda for 2022. First is to scale up and revamp the network’s cult iconic properties to reflect the changed world of 2022. Second, to complete the digital pivot, which is Fully Faltu, Fully Faltu NFT.com and KaanPhod. Third, to add newer formats and shows to its repertoire.
For Viacom18, television, OTT and social are three key buckets. “We stopped being just a television channel long ago. Since 2006-07 we've been the pioneers in the digital space. Today there's this trend of transmedia storytelling, where different pieces of the story are played on different platforms in a way that the platform's grammar extends. For example, we have Splitsvilla on television, there are reels to promote it on social media, and a spinoff show Wild Villa, which is more edgy, on Voot. As an IP creator we need to go where it will get maximum visibility,” Ailawadi says.
Though there are concerns about the youth drifting away from television viewing, Ailawadi is confident that television still has its hold.
“In a country with over 250 million households, not everyone can afford a paid OTT subscription and even if it's free, one has to pay for data. So I think TV still has room,” he says.