Viacom18’s digital plan is about ‘mobile first’

MUMBAI: As the world, including the television industry, moves to digital, ways are being found to capture and engage audiences on multiple screens. Viacom18, the JV between Viacom International and TV18, the subsidiary of Network18, is also thinking digital to get a hold of audiences when they skim online.

Its nine channels - Colors, Rishtey, Nick Jr, Nick, Sonic, MTV, Vh1, Comedy Central and MTV Indies - form the network’s broadcast side.

Viacom18 group CEO Sudhanshu Vats sees digital as an accompaniment to television viewing. “In India digital is at a very nascent stage. In the US, over the years, TV viewership has remained the same or inched up a little. It is consumption in the digital space that has grown and the same trend will be seen in India,” he says. While India boasts of a 1.2 billion population seated in 250 million homes, the number of TV homes is just about 160 million. “This gap of 90 million means that there will always be room for classic TV content as well,” adds Vats.

Much of this digital contribution currently comes from urban India but Vats says that data shows a reasonable amount of rural India also utilising the digital medium. As per him, traffic coming from PCs and laptops is an urban phenomenon while rural India is more hooked to the mobile.

Its flagship channel, Colors, boasts of 414,000 followers on Twitter, thanks to its extensive thrust on the social media platform. It is way ahead of competition on both Twitter as well as Facebook. It also has commendable followers for its non-fiction properties such as Bigg Boss and Jhalak Dikhkhla Jaa.

In terms of content exclusive to digital, Viacom18’s MTV has experimented a lot with webisodes of which a few have never appeared on television. Now the focus is on creating content that suits the smaller screens. “We need to revisit how best to customise content for the small screen from the way it is shot as well as the duration. What are these short stories? Do they invite to action or a combination of narrative and time span, etc. When you say mobile first, it is what you will do for this screen first that matters,” points out Vats.

Vats agrees that the business model for monetisation of TV content is superior to digital, which is still in an evolution phase. So the need of the hour is to understand how to target multiple screens. “As transportation develops in India, ‘snacking’ will gain shape.  Digital will offer more snacking content and less long-form. The minute you have the option of watching stuff on a bigger screen you will, but on the other hand, you will snack. Also, the current online content stream is low on quality and high on price. We are exploring avenues in the mobile space to change that for the better,” he explains.

However, Viacom18 is also focused on increasing traffic to its channel websites rather than to its Youtube page. Colors diverted traffic to its official website rather than its Youtube page for people who wanted to watch Comedy Nights With Kapil. “We had to focus on where people were viewing Comedy Nights With Kapil, and direct it to where we want them to view it. So we figured having a smaller section on YouTube and baiting them from there to the Colors website made more sense in this case,” explains  Vats.  

He also says that digital is a lot about windowing. “What is running live on television, when is going to be linear in that sense on digital – simultaneous or windowed later – and what is the monetisation plan for each of them. If you want to watch it in the linear format, then it may be subscription based. If you want to watch it later, it might be a combination of subscription and advertising,” concludes Vats.

Latest Reads
Star Bharat experiments with early morning slot

Star Bharat is all set to experiment with weekend morning slot by launching a three-hour programming band from 5 August.

Television TV Channels GECs
National Geographic’s new show to tell success stories of India’s icons

National Geographic will be coming up with a unique show called Mega Icons which will see the success stories of inspiring personalities of India from different platforms.

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Viacom signs deal with for small screen content

Kids’ entertainment platform has raised $15 million in a funding round led by Viacom. Under their agreement.

Television TV Channels Kids
STAR Maa announces call for entries for a brand new reality show PelliChoopulu

In continuation to give its viewers a unique and entertaining show, Star Maa the most viewed Telugu entertainment channel has announced the call for entry for its upcoming reality show PelliChoopulu.

Television TV Channels Regional
Zee Telugu announces auditions for all new season of its legendary dance reality show, Aata Juniors

Aata Juniors, one of Zee Telugu’s most sought-after reality shows is soon making a comeback to the channel and is looking for the final contestants via auditions.

Television TV Channels Regional
Sony Max pushes its way to most watched Hindi channel across genres

Sony Pictures Network India (SPN) Hindi movies channel Sony Max was ranked second in Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) weekly list of top 10 channels across genres (across genres list) for week 28 of 2018 (Saturday, 7 July 2018 to Friday, 13 July 2018, week or period under review...

Television TV Channels Viewership
Dangal TV prepares to scale up ambition with new play

When it comes to general entertainment channels (GECs), hitting the sweet spot isn’t all that easy.

Television TV Channels GECs
Comcast drops bid for 21st Century Fox assets, cedes prize to Disney

The fierce bidding war between Comcast and Disney has finally ended with the former dropping out of the race to gobble up the prized 21st Century Fox assets. Comcast will now shift its focus towards sealing the Sky deal.

Television TV Channels Movie Channels
ZEEL elevates Manish Aggarwal as business head of Zee5 India

In a recent development, Manish Aggarwal has been elevated as business head of Zee5 India, the OTT platform of Zee Entertainment Enterprise (ZEEL).

Television TV Channels People

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories