afaqs! news bureau

Vi forays into short video content in collaboration with Firework

With the partnership, Vi has taken the lead to introduce the 'Stories' format to its users.

Telecom operator Vi (formerly know as Vodafone Idea) has inked a strategic partnership with Firework, a story publishing platform based in Silicon Valley, US.

This is the first time that any Indian telecom operator has taken the lead to introduce the 'Stories' format to its users. Globally, most social media platforms are adopting the 'Stories' format to enable higher audience engagement.

The partnership allows Vi to leverage Firework's massive content repository from global content studios and also get access to unique occupational generated content (OGC) creators, who are expert storytellers across a wide genre of subjects.

Avneesh Khosla, chief marketing officer, Vi, says, “We provide an array of content from multiple OTT players varying across genres like live TV, movies and web series in multiple languages on Vi Movies and TV app. Vi is excited to be the first telco to partner with Firework for powering the most trending short videos, specially curated for Vi customers."

Khosla adds that the format is designed to entertain customers in '30 seconds' across various categories and interests. "Mobiles have become the preferred screens for entertainment. The average time spent on watching short videos is significantly higher than long-form content, demonstrating that the engagement levels provided by short videos remain unparalleled. Through our partnership with Firework, Vi subscribers will get a wide choice of trending stories across genres and languages.”

Speaking about the partnership, Anand Vidyanand, president, mobile at Firework, says, “Firework, one of the first short video platforms to launch globally on telco OTT, is excited to be partnering with a thought leader like Vi to enhance their customer experience through continued innovation. Vi’s users can now enjoy their favourite content without the need of downloading another app.”

“Vertical short-form video is the most effective form of mobile storytelling today. With this partnership, Firework is further strengthening its reach across telecom operators, device manufacturers and app developers. Firework is fully committed to Vi’s vision in bringing the best occupationally generated short video content to its customers across nearly 40 delightful categories, including multiple Indic languages.”

The collaboration enhances Vi’s customer experience and Firework’s reach significantly. It also addresses the need of the creator community with exceptional discoverability in a cluttered content space, pivotal on Firework’s large story ecosystem globally that include top tier traditional publishers, OEMs, network operators and blogs.

Mahesh Uppal, Director of ComFirst, (a consulting firm specializing in telecom policy and regulation) points out that both Jio and Airtel deal offer diverse content.

Jio has JioTV, JioCinema, JioSaavn, JioNews and JioChat. Airtel also has a strong DTH play and has a music app too,” he explains. In that sense, Vi (formerly Vodafone India) has been lagging behind.

Mahesh Uppal
Mahesh Uppal

According to Uppal, telecom companies are predominantly in the “carriage” business and essentially move voice and data from point A to B. They recognise the role of content in generating new revenue streams. It makes sound commercial sense for them to want a piece of the content business, with its exploding demand for multimedia content.