#fame is an amalgamation of technology and content: Saket Saurabh

MUMBAI: The staircase to fame is less steep and wider today than it used to be a couple of decades ago. In the era of digital adeptness, a person sitting in Bangalore or Bokaro, Jalandhar or Jamshedpur, Mumbai or Mussoorie, Delhi or Daman has an equal opportunity to showcase talent and content to the world at the click of a few buttons.


Over the years, from hoardings to cinema to television, the medium through which fame can be achieved has changed drastically. Today, with the emergence of the digital medium, talent no longer needs to follow the long and tedious process. The ‘funda’ is simple: If you if have quality content, all you need is a hashtag to become famous.


At a time like this, armed with the motto of providing a platform to talent that has the quality content, To The New Ventures’ (TTN Ventures) platform - #fame is making waves in the digital world.


With the launch of its new app a couple of months back, #fame enabled users to stream content live, which can be consumed real time.


Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, #fame CEO Saket Saurabh says, “We started our journey as an entertainment network by creating digital first content, which was exclusively for digital. The app, which is India’s first live-streaming app, has seen half a million downloads since launch and that is very encouraging. The app is dedicated to talent where anyone can live beam their performance, find an audience, interact and create a marketplace.”


“As a company we are focused on talent. Our aim is to ensure that we discover emerging talent using the power of digital and give them a platform to showcase their skills and find an audience. We have two fundamentals: one is content and the other is tech. The #fame app is an amalgamation of both,” Saurabh asserts.


Currently, the company’s main focus is to create a quality wave of supply, which can meet consumers’ demand. “We have more than 15000 unique performers and we’re adding 500 new performers every day. In this business, supply is most important and hence having good supply was always our priority,” adds Saurabh.

Forging multiple tie-ups since inception, #fame’s biggest association so far has been with the IIFA Awards. “We are getting a lot of engaging content. This year we partnered with IIFA and with that we changed IIFA from a two hours prime time show to a three-day entertainment gala. We created content that would never find a television spot and consumers lapped it all up. From the green carpet to behind the scenes, the who’s who of Bollywood were chatting with subscribers and that’s the power of the app,” Saurabh explains.


Today, the Indian youth is constantly interacting across various mediums while consuming content and constant partial attention has become a primary discussion for the ad fraternity. In the age of real time interaction and trending hashtags, consumers are giving their opinion across social medium. The digital medium, be it over-the-top (OTT) or video-on-demand (VOD) platforms, has the infrastructure to provide brands an opportunity to be a part of the real time interaction.

Saurabh is of the opinion that this phenomenon is poised to get a major impetus in India due to various factors, technological advancement being one of them. “The primary reason for real time interactive mediums to grow is the overwhelming penetration of smartphones. Secondly, the impending launch of 4G will play a pivotal role in ensuring feature phone users’ move towards the smartphone. Last but not the least, access cost will come down while the intensity and quality of streaming will enhance. So interactive mediums will enhance their base and become more mass. The digital medium gives marketers the option to target and analyse specifically because of its interactive nature,” he says.


A key reason for the digital medium’s success is its ability to catapult a person to instant fame. Moreover, according to Saurabh, it definitely has the potential to sustain in the long run. “There is a sea of content creators who are looking towards digital to communicate, which in return is spelling success for the likes of YouTube, Facebook or even #fame for that matter. Talent like All India Bakchod and The Viral Fever are coming to the forefront gaining national and international attention thanks to the medium. What this phenomenon tells us is that there is a wave of talent using digital to come to the fore and connect directly with the audience, which has never happened before. A couple of decades back when television and films were the only medium of exposure for talent, the success ratio of people making it big was very small. The digital medium has multiplied the ratio by 100x if not more. Now all people need to do is shoot and upload. If it has quality, it will get the wings to fly. Digital made things more meritocratic and reduced the reluctance on luck,” Saurabh adds.


#fame, which follows the advertising revenue model, is not looking at the subscription based revenue model as of now. The venture’s focus is to create exclusive content, which can be a great platform of promotion for brands too and help in creating a value proposition for advertisers.


“We have had a very strong relationship with advertisers right from the beginning. Being a talent management company, we indulge in creating a lot of properties, which helps us to discover talent. We created a fashion property where Karan Johar was a mentor and editor. We recently launched a musical property called Web Singer with Pritam Chakraborty, where the focus is on discovering young singing talent. Being an interactive medium, we interact with audiences in many different ways and brands associated with us also become a part of the interaction,” informs Saurabh.


Speaking on the growth of digital medium, he says, “The time of digital boom has come. We have to follow consumers wherever they are going and they have now moved towards the mobile medium. There’s always a debate about whether mobile is the second screen or the third screen. Well, I think mobile is the first screen. The line between television and digital has blurred over the time. All we need to do is create specialized content for consumer to consume in digital mediums.”


With the influx of new players like HOOQ, Hotstar and Ditto TV amongst others, India has become a battlefield of OTT and VOD platforms. Moreover, with the speculated launch of Netflix in India by 2016, the competition is only set to get tougher. Speaking on the same, Saurabh says, “The players that are already present will spur the ecosystem and competition will only go on to ensure that better quality is presented to consumers. So I don’t think one will demolish the other. Rather in my opinion, one will subtly compliment the other and at the end of the day, it’s the survival of the fittest.”

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