Anuj Gosalia, CEO and co-founder, Terribly Tiny Tales, announces the company's foray into OTT content, talks brand building, and his plans for 2023.
Everyone who has watched the internet go from just textual content to 15-second videos has at some point in their lives felt their story reflected in a black square crawling with 140 characters in a white sans serif font. It was a terribly tiny tale of heartbreak, loss, fear and hope — the digital version of a six-word story.
That was the nature of the content TTT created back in 2013. A decade and a few life cycles of media platforms later the digital content company is breaking out of its tiny tales mould and taking a stab at the larger canvas of OTT video streaming.
Come February, Terribly Tiny Tales will have partnered with Amazon Mini TV to make Jab We Matched, an original long-format fiction show comprising four episodes - each about 30 minutes long. “The show is completely written, created and produced by us. We have three more originals in the pipeline which are in different stages of development. We will have platform partners for these shows soon,” says Anuj Gosalia, CEO and co-founder, Terribly Tiny Tales.
The company recognised in 2018 that video is the future of content and began pivoting towards it. Now, 60-70% of the content TTT makes is video content.
Gosalia’s 10-year-old company has evolved with the algorithms that control what viewers consume on social media and video streaming platforms. From 140 characters and animations to brand-sponsored short-format web series on YouTube. “Affordable data costs, ease of distribution via YouTube and ease of creation with apps like TikTok have impacted consumption of content. For the most part, content consumption is now video-first,” he says.
TTT is building out a clutch of its own IPs which will be powered by brands.
“We have become a format-agnostic content company. Our original strength was to tell stories economically — that principle remains. A Terribly Tiny Tale today is one that is not necessarily long or short,” he says. The company recognised in 2018 that video is the future of content and began pivoting towards it. Now, 60-70% of the content TTT makes is video content.
TTT is building out a clutch of its own IPs which will be powered by brands. One such is Butterflies, which is now in its fourth season. The most recent season is in collaboration with Hershey’s Kisses, Season 2 had Cornetto as a brand partner, and Cadbury Silk sponsored Season 1 of the web series. TTT will be launching a new IP for Women’s Day in collaboration with a brand partner.
In its collaborative efforts with brands TTT “natively thinks content” says Gosalia. That is how he differentiates the work an ad agency does opposed to the brand solutions TTT provides to brands. When Saridon came to TTT to find a way to become relevant to a generation of consumers that has possibly never heard the sirf ek Saridon jingle, the company addressed it through a series of comic strips that depicted the relevance of #SirfEkSaridon in situations beyond just literal headaches.
On branded content
The question that has always haunted those in the business of branded content is that of return on investment. Marketing budget that is spent on branded content does not directly translate into sales and the impact of such an investment is hard to measure aside from the likes, shares, comments and number of views metrics that platforms provide. Marketers continue to be wary of spending on brand building on digital mediums when performance marketing can drive better conversions.
He asserts that while brands can be built using branded content on digital mediums, the question is “whether or not a brand is large enough to spend on brand building alone without worrying about attribution.”
Which makes one wonder, what are the brands that invest on branded content?
Gosalia says established brands tend to recognise that reach with the right messaging is extremely valuable — a fundamental truth of marketing — therefore branded content is meaningful for brand building. But the same cannot be said for smaller brands that need to prioritise revenue and sales.
In the case of growing brands, especially D2C brands, which need to prioritise sales over brand building, Gosalia says, “tend to be more cautious about branded content”. He asserts that while brands can be built using branded content on digital mediums, the question is “whether or not a brand is large enough to spend on brand building alone without worrying about attribution.”
Influencer marketing is now the TV ad equivalent of digital — it is hygiene practice for brands. It does not necessarily pop out.
Doesn’t that mean that only large established brands can take the risk of spending ad dollars on branded content? Gosalia agrees, and says this is what explains the role of influencer marketing in aiding marketing for small brands. “Influencer marketing helps brands with wider distribution at a lower cost and is therefore more meaningful to small brands.”
Gosalia believes that TTT has an edge over traditional influencer or creator-led marketing because “one creator endorses several brands and the creator’s tone of voice may not necessarily be the tone of voice of the brand,” leading to the question — what is their message even worth?
But influencer marketing has become a mainstay for many brands, and for the exact reasons Gosalia cites as the drawbacks of influencer content. “Influencer marketing is now the TV ad equivalent of digital — it is hygiene practice for brands. It does not necessarily pop out. If a brand finds the right person then the brand stands to get better leverage but it may not work for every brand,” he explains.
“There is always the risk of whether or not a brand will be built through influencer marketing, but a brand is assured that it will receive a call out. With the addition of offers and discount codes that influencers give out, influencer marketing becomes more RoI friendly,” he says.
Education and TTT Academy
Another focus for TTT in 2023 is — education. With the TTT Academy Gosalia hopes to fill gaps in advertising education. In the first iteration of the course — Writing that Sells — TTT taught writing over six sessions at a cost of Rs 4,000 to aspiring advertising and content professionals.
In 2023, Gosalia plans to scale this up and offer a three-month programme titled Writing that Sells Pro which will also be taught by industry experts, but this time with a certification and assisted placements. "We are partnering with some of the largest recruiters for the placements," he says. The course will cost Rs 50,000 and will be open to students end of February.
Gosalia's larger plan for the Academy is to offer a whole suite of courses to prepare aspirants to enter the advertising and content creation sectors. Graphic design, editing, copy writing, will be other courses TTT Academy will offer.