Mumbai: Viacom18’s digital business has upped the ante on language content offering and is all set to launch 1200+ hours of Telugu content across movies, non-fiction, popular Viacom18 IPs and Voot Originals on Voot with Colors Telugu. What’s interesting to see is that Viacom18 is going launching this Colors Telugu on Voot only – without the backing of a Colors Telugu TV channel, hence the digital-first approach.
Colors Telugu will go live on Voot with the Telugu version of Voot’s original IP, Feet Up with the Stars Telegu, with Telugu movie actress Lakshmi Manchu. The show has got Asian Paints and ace2three as the sponsors on board.
Medianews4u caught up with Gourav Rakshit – COO, Viacom18 Digital Ventures for a brief chat on the latest offering.
How has your journey been with Viacom18? I know it’s not been so long…
Yes, it’s been good, I must say, I was looking for an organization where I could spend some time learning about the space. So I figured Viacom18 would be a good place for me to do that. I like the people, like the teams and like the space very much. Also, the opportunity is very large. So that’s nice to have a large market to operate in.
So why the digital approach first with Colors Telugu? What was the specific insight that helped you determine the demand for Telugu content on OTT and not on TV…
Television gives us a sense what content is relevant. With launching Colors Telugu on Voot it is also about the size of audiences that we were getting from the region, mathematically, it’s impossible to say that they are all Hindi speaking by definition. So at some level, if you weren’t getting the audience, then it becomes a strategic call that do I want to open up the audience, I’m not opening up our audience, our audience is already on Voot. All I’m doing is talking to them in their own language and that is the insight frankly. It is based on what we do in Kannada or Marathi, or even some dubbed content that we see in Tamil. There’s a massive appetite when the audience is loyal to you and consuming their own content in their own language, so that is what triggers in that audience.
How have you packaged the Telugu content for the viewers on Voot?
For a Voot viewer, Colors Telugu will be exactly the same as Colors Marathi on Voot. It is incidental that Colors Telugu wasn’t shown on TV first, that is the only thing. Otherwise, we’re not adopting anything fundamentally unique to this and so the people are familiar with our brand architecture works.
What would be your core target audience of Colors Telugu on Voot ?
I mean, we’ll obviously learn as we grow, but our hypothesis is that we will bet on the best same two segments of the target group that dominates on Voot, which are women and youth. We have a substantial skew in that and have had for the last few years. I think those two segments will continue to dominate, and as we keep sharpening our content toward them, which has also been our identity in some sense. I expect Telugu will not be different.
In the presentation, you said that 24% of regional consumption is what you’ve seen over the last year which increased from 16%. So what are the shows that make major pie of the 24%?
Bigg Boss, KBC and all the marquee shows make maximum of the 24% of the regional consumption. The marquee shows in their own regional language, do extremely well as opposed to a whole new format, so that’s going to look very good for us. For the same reason we are taking Feet Up with the Stars to Telugu and we expect it to do extremely well in Telugu because it’s a marquee show, our own brand and a great format. Whereas some of the other shows are third party owned formats. I am very confident that we will be taking all those marquee properties, and creating it in the language of consumers. It’s is a great opportunity and with low risk.
What is the catch-up TV percentage on the platform?
Our consumption at a platform level is I would say about 60% from catch up TV. So typically, from Bigg Boss 50% of the consumption is from the episodes whereas 50% is from the content that we create. Our exclusive content is 50% which is equal in that sense.
Since Bigg Boss would give you a spike on viewership in a short span of two months or for whatever time it is on air? What part of the viewers actually continue to be a part of the Voot family on a constant basis?
What we did last year was we transitioned the Bigg Boss audience to our digital show called Silsila. And so what we did was we put out that as a digital daily on Voot and had the same abundant driven fashion of Bigg Boss that people liked, and it was beautiful. Its latest season concluded very recently.
Correct, because with Big Boss and properties like IPL the audiences have with withdrawal symptoms…
Yes… What after Bigg Boss? Therefore I actually think, that is what drove the decision to try a daily digital, and fundamentally, retention becomes a very important part of the growth strategy.
Your expectations from Colors Telugu on Voot?
My expectation from Colors Telugu on Voot is that it will reach the third or fourth position within 12 months. That’s where I see us and it will be a very good outcome for us.
It gives you some a first-mover advantage in terms of Telugu content on OTT…
I think the first mover there sometimes can be overrated on the internet. First movers have never won. I think the resonance with consumers’ appetite is very important. We’re able to create that content habit that satisfies what they’re looking for and that’s where we do pretty good, given that some of our content has been appreciated across other places I’m fairly confident that we should be able to step through this door as well.