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Times Internet forays into content marketing with 'Spotlight'

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MUMBAI: When conventional modes of communication are failing marketers, they are increasingly looking to reinvent the old formulas in a new light, content marketing being one of them. Not just the media and creative start-ups but digital media behemoths like Times Internet have invested in the content game. Times Internet has recently launched a one stop digital content solutions studio -'Spotlight.' With an aim to be strategic partners with brands, Spotlight will cater to branded content needs of the clients.

“Spotlight will help marketers define their content strategy, create it and distribute it, not only on our platforms but across their own and others. We will also help them understand how to measure their return on their branded content efforts by helping them translate them into traditional marketing metrics. What makes Spotlight stand out will be its ability to create branded content not only in English, but 9 other Indian regional languages across 150 million users,” said Times Internet, CRO, Gulshan Verma.

The company is banking on its massive reach in the country through multiple content based platforms like Times of India, Economic Times, NavBharat Times, iDiva Gaana, MagicBricks, and many more. Spotlight intends to tap into the interest graph of its client’s target audience and drive brand recall and preference through contextualizing reach.

“It’s been on our mind for a while and we finally had a robust plan together and got all the experts we needed to start the process and we did! With some of the best minds in the business across genres it’s makes absolute sense to give the very best we have to offer to our clients. Neha Gupta, who comes from NDTV Convergence will be heading the operations at Spotlight and I’m positive she will do a stellar job,” he added.

When it comes to production, Verma informed that Spotlight will produce a huge chunk of the content in-house backed by capabilities in terms of photos, videos and articles, while also exploring commissioning options as well. “We have our in-house team of experts with in-depth knowledge across industries who work with the brand to understand the key result areas and building content with them, and thereafter they ideate and create the final product with the production team, who have been specially brought in the Spotlight team. We provide end to end solutions,” he said.

Though digital videos are often synonymous with short form content, Spotlight will explore a ‘bit of both.’ With an intention to go beyond engaging audience over snack-sized content, Verma shared that they don’t mind investing in long term projects that may give rise to an extended storyline or even a web series.

“We would prefer to work with marketers on a comprehensive plan and sometimes that may involve building a long term story including a video web series, but also articles, questionnaires, photo shoots. As to whether it would be long or short form – it depends on what the goal is – initially, the focus for a marketer is to do bite size content that can be consumed quickly and spark interest, but as you draw audiences in, it could be taken forward. We even partner with our brands to create on the ground events such as the one we recently did with GE at the ET Health World launch where CEOs and decision makers in that space got together for an evening,” explained Verma.

Since the video boom, advertisers are jumping on the content marketing bandwagon. However, more often than not they make one time small investment that doesn't give them the promised result from the medium, which in turn affects the adopt-ability of the marketing form.

When asked how Verma intends to handle this trend within advertisers, he shared, “It’s a complicated and tedious process to coordinate one activity for a marketer and get content producers, execution and promotion across to a large audience in one place today. The power of content marketing is being realized through increasing adoption of native advertising already. The slower adoption rate is a function of lack of content experts who can create meaningful and qualitative content on a large scale and engage mass audience within the defined TG. Most marketers need to connect with one unit for content and another for reach. Spotlight intends to bring every aspect of content marketing as a one stop creative powerhouse.”

With its brand new content marketing arm, Times Internet plans to become an umbrella under which all types of brands can seek solutions, rather than taking the specialisation route.

“In the Industry we can see the first movers being mostly consumer brands but education, finance and real estate are also getting into content space extensively. Times Internet can help you along every stage of the sales funnel. From creating awareness, to driving trials, to point of sale conversions and re-targeting loyal consumers. This makes Spotlight the partner of choice for most industry categories. We have the capability of combining content marketing with the desired impact at any stage of sales process,” Verma shared, adding that they already are in talks with several brands to sign deals.

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