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Viacom 18 forays into F& B with cafe Flyp@MTV

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MUMBAI: After positioning itself as India’s youth brand and a trendsetter in music and entertainment, Viacom 18’s MTV plans to enter a new sphere of consumer’s lifestyle: food and beverage.

In order to expand its purview of engagement with consumers, Viacom18 Consumer Products will extend MTV from broadcast and digital space to an always on on-ground experience by introducing the first ever café – FLYP@MTV in association with Funbars Hospitality Pvt Ltd.  While MTV has licensed out the brand and creative content, and will arrange events for Flyp in return for royalties, Funbars will oversee operations of the outlets.

“A café is yet another ecosystem that we, in partnership with Funbars, are creating as an extension of our iconic youth brand MTV. The launch of FLYP@MTV is a move that further strengthens Viacom18’s bouquet of varied offerings - making us truly unique. Thus for us, FLYP@MTV is about creating an interactive and engaging atmosphere wherein youngsters can interact to work, socialize and party together. The café will continue to set and fuel trends, just the way MTV does, therefore creating a gateway to new experiences for our young consumers,” announced Viacom 18 group CEO Sudhanshu Vats.

By mid-December, one can have a complete MTV experience at the first Flyp @ MTV cafe at the very happening Kanaut place in New Delhi, with 10 other cafes in the pipeline by 2020 across the country says MTV. “Unlike other major F&B chains, we will not only entertain the metros but will have our presence in the tier II and tier III cities, such as Chandigarh`, Pune etc.,” shared Funbars co founder Neeren Tewari.

“The company has been looking to enter the Food and Beverage industry for a while now, and only started getting serious two years ago,” informed Viacom 18 Media, consumer products SVP Saugato Bhowmik, while explaining why MTV is the perfect brand to license for this new business venture.

“As per the FICCI-Grant Thornton report on the industry, F&B is growing at a CAGR of 23 to 24 per cent. By 2017, the industry is estimated to touch $ 58 billion. What is more interesting to note is that 58 per cent of the industry’s consumer base, who go out and eat, is within the age group of 18 to 30 years of age. That’s a bulls eye target group for MTV in India, and self-explanatory of why we want to capitalise on the same,” Bhowmik explained.

With a concept of work, chill, play, Flyp@MTV will strike as a hangout for young professionals and creatives to work during the day and transform into a place to chill in the evening and a play zone with fun gigs and live events at night. The café will be consistent with MTV’s DNA of being fun, irreverent and entertaining.

“Our aim is to make FLYP@MTV a cult hangout destination across the country. With exclusively designed entertainment, a bespoke menu by celebrity chef Ranveer Brar and engaging touch points using cutting edge technology, FLYP@MTV is sure to capture the attention of the youth across the nation,” said Funbars Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. business division head and co-promoter Viraj Lamba.

Aimed at the young demographic, which also includes students, Flyp @ MTv plans to keep the pricing at an affordable range. “While it will vary from city to city based on its respective cost of living, we aim to keep the pricing for a meal anywhere between Rs 800 to Rs 1200,” informed Lamba, adding that there will be unlimited beverage refills and free Wifi access for all guests.

While the ‘work cum hang out’ space idea has already been tried by popular chains like Social, it is the services that Flyp offers while staying within an affordable range is what gives it its USP.

MTV says that the space will be high on technology as well. Right from the MTV Virtual Museum that will allow guests to experience the  world of MTV in the previous years through virtual reality with head gear like Oculus and controllers, to the standard mobile app  with the added advantage of a ‘Flyp only’ chat engine to network and identify like-minded people within the place.

Adding to the fun and entertainment will be the ‘Book Your Bakra’ service allowing one to book a prank or surprise for their friends. World class cuisine on the menu with a local twist or the ‘glocal’ cuisine, with a play on the words ‘global and local’ by celebrity chef Ranveer Brar, will be customised as per the city and individual.       

“While we can’t say with certainty, but operationally we expect to break even in a year or a half, and over all somewhere close to three year mark. Strategically speaking our target isn’t to start being industry leaders in terms of revenues from day one. It's a more long term plan keeping in mind a scaled economy in both sourcing and content demand. We are not going to cut corners in providing the best under our brand’s name. Having said that, this is a business venture in the end, and we see this venture being sufficiently profitable,” explained Bhowmik.

From a marketing standpoint, MTV plans to deploy all its available resources to promote the new food and beverage property, while also engaging the consumers and familiarising them with the concept through social media and engaging campaigns.

“When we launch you will see a lot of Flyp’s presence in social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc announcing the launch. Post launch too, we have plans to use the digital medium to keep our presence alive, at the same time doing a lot of OOH promotions and on ground activation to engage the youth. Nowadays conventional campaigns like TVCs hardly work with the youth, who are our target group. So we will look into doing our promotions a bit differently,” Bhowmik added.

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