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Viacom18’s live events business sees two-fold increase in a year

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MUMBAI: Over the last decade or so Viacom18 has created fresh new ways to connect with its audience and build enduring relationships. The company’s on-ground property Live Viacom18, which has been building innovative IPs, multi-dimensional marketing and engagement platforms, has witnessed tremendous growth ever since it conception in October 2012.

Sharing insights on the business with Indiantelevision.com, Viacom18 Media’s Integrated Network Solutions (INS) senior vice president and business head Jaideep Singh said, “From 2013 to 2014, we’ve doubled our business and this year too we intend to double it. If you look at the whole industry, we are the largest players. What took others five to six years to achieve, we did in a year’s time. Nobody has the ecosystem that we do, and nobody has that kind of IPs that we have. So in a way, we are the leaders in the Rs 400-450 crore market of live events.”

Viacom18 began with 13 IPs and a few events in 2013. It then scaled up to 210 events in 2014 and plans are afoot to expand it to 300 plus events this year.

Singh further informs that the property has been constantly increasing the number of hours of content produced. “The brand, which used to produce 10-15 hours of content when it began in 2013, will produce 50-60+ hours of content this year and that’s huge in the live events industry.”

Live Viacom 18 has properties like Super Sonic, Chuckle Festival, MTV Bollyland, Emerge, MTV Extreme and the awards property, which will be held in the third or fourth quarter this year. Additionally, more than 350 plus artists globally are set to add yet another feather to its success cap.

While Live Viacom 18 is looking to explore with newer formats and enter newer markets, the ultimate aim is to give the audience a better experience, with great artists and bring in the best of the latest technology experience. Singh asserts, “This year we have introduced something new called Spiro, which is an initiative by MTV Indies.”

Live Viacom18, which is a division under Viacom18’s Integrated Network Solutions, currently has presence in about 25 cities and is looking at expanding its footprints to 35 cities this year. When queried as to whether they intended to cater to markets outside India, Singh said, “Given an opportunity, we will explore markets outside India like Middle East Asia and South Asia to begin with.”

Speaking about advertisers’ response to its properties, Singh said, “In the first year, we had about 15 brands on board, then in 2014 we had 40 brands and this year we have 70 plus brands on board. So the response from brands has been overwhelming for us.”

Of the 300 plus events planned this year, Live Viacom 18 has already held 30 events in the first quarter of 2015. What’s more, the team is all prepared to handle the pressure. Asked whether the company was looking at beefing up its team, Singh said, “No we are not beefing up our teams. We have separate teams for our properties and hence there is focus among them and they are all set and excited for the line up of events.”

On the marketing front, Live Viacom 18 will leverage its advantage of being a broadcaster and its digital presence to engage with audiences. Additionally, the traditional forms of media like print, radio and OOH will also be used to gain marketing traction. All in all, the company will roll out a 360 degree integrated marketing campaign, which will be executed across properties.

Apart from this, the company also has an innovation up its sleeve. A tie-up with US-based technology company Mixify will help Viacom18 bring in artists to perform on video without them being present physically. With this technology not only will they increase their fan base but also create a lot more engagement in multiple cities at the same time.

Highlighting three key trends that the industry was moving towards, Singh said, “The first one is towards more and more live entertainment events with newer formats. Secondly, there’s been an increase in consumer spends and thirdly consuming merchandise.”

Singh informed that currently LIVE Viacom18 is not active in the merchandising front, but it is an avenue that the company will explore going forward.

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