Mumbai: Vodafone India has carved out a new vertical to curate and generate content as it packages its data services on 3G and 4G technologies.
The new 10-member team has the right to pool resources from other departments, if needed. The move comes as rival Reliance Jio Infocomm plans to promote its video content and consumer applications as a hook for customers to switch service.
The purpose of the team is twofold, said Sandeep Kataria, director-commercial. The first is to create partnerships with content companies so that there is more accessible content for Vodafone customers. Globally the group partners big providers such as Netflix, he said. The company already provides live TV channels, music on its platform and other movie content through agreements with application makers such as Hungama.
“We don’t want to develop content where it’s established and someone already has it,” said Kataria. The second purpose of the team is to create content aimed at specific segments in the market, such that it will unlock usage of the internet. “Our Kissan Mitr programme has reached one million subscribers,” Kataria said. The programme gives weather, humidity and other actionable information for farmers.
Reliance Jio Infocomm accumulated content as a key differentiator to its services as studies showed an exponential increase in video content consumption in India since 2013. The Mukesh Ambani-led company also took control of the TV18 group as part of an initiative to be a digital service provider.
Vodafone India had several such relationships but their coordination spanned different departments and the people with the relations were spread out. The consolidation of the team will make it more focused and the efforts more synchronised, said Kataria
Telecom companies have added capacity and launched 4G networks partly to counter the looming threat from service launch by Jio. Idea Cellular estimates that the country’s internet bandwidth has nearly quadrupled in the past two years, but consumption has not grown in tandem.