Content Hub 2021: Content marketing - the most efficient tool for brand building

Experts discuss content marketing on the second day of the three-day virtual summit.


Mumbai: With five shows running across platforms, two delivered, and another five lined up for 2021, TVF president Vijay Koshy is looking forward to an exciting second half of the year!

At the fifth edition of the ‘Content Hub 2021 - TV, Film, Digital Video, and Beyond’ being organised by Indiantelevision.com, Koshy along with his colleague and Aspirant’s director Apoorv Singh Karki and Unacademy, senior director – brand, Sonal Mishra spoke about the craft and business of creating branded content. The session titled, ‘Content marketing - the most efficient tool for brand building’ was moderated by IndianTelevision Dot Com Group, founder & CEO, Anil Wanvari.

Keeping ‘Aspirants’ – TVF’s original web series produced in association with Unacademy - as the point of discussion, the session began with Sonal Mishra being quizzed about the brand’s involvement on the creative front. The series or ‘digital original’, as Wanvari prefers to call it, traces the journey of three UPSC aspirants and their friendship against all odds.  Mishra shared that it took almost a year for the idea to crystallise in a way such that it relates to the target segment. “As a consumer-first company, our strength lies in the connection we build with the ‘learners’, so we have to remain focused on their realities and mindsets,” said Mishra.

The panelists unanimously agreed on consumer insight being the most important element in any form of branded content. “All stories exist out there in the real world. Depending on the segment being addressed, the insights and storytelling vary. Therefore, we must be observant at all times,” remarked Mishra. Adding to her point, Apoorv Singh Karki shared that the series writer Deepesh Sumitra spent nearly eight months with UPSC aspirants in Delhi’s Rajendra Nagar (the hub of UPSC preparation) before coming up with the script which was finalised only after about eight or nine iterations.

“At the end of the day our biggest client is the audience. We have stayed true to them while creating content that is engaging. ‘Aspirants’ spoke about essential life lessons with UPSC as the backdrop which is why it resonated with learners across segments,” said Koshy.

Commenting further on how difficult it was to ensure that brand integrations do not turn into intrusions, Karki stated, “One has to develop the skill of finding a common ground for thematic and seamless integrations. While we cannot diverge drastically from the brief, such complexities can be handled through mutual understanding. As one of our finest clients, Unacademy understands us as creators.”

TVF’s association with Unacademy began in 2018, and two of its most successful ‘digital originals’ - ‘Kota Factory’ and ‘Aspirants’ – were sponsored by the brand. With nearly 12.9 million views and an IMDB rating of 9.7, ‘Aspirants’ garnered both mass as well as critical acclaim. Going beyond numbers, the series played a crucial role in building brand salience for Unacademy.

According to Koshy, the significance and success of branded content lies in the area of brand building. “Because digital is an ‘over measurable’ medium, people tend to get lost in the numbers – downloads, views, conversions. Everyone wants to see ROIs, but what about the good old brand building,” he exclaimed. “Performance marketing is non-negotiable as it builds the user base for brands, but even after spending huge sums of money, the efficiencies begin to fall after a period of time. This is where branded content comes in because, ultimately, stories are the best way to get your message across.”

Urging brands across categories to come forward and experiment in the ‘happening’ space, he said, “Until 2019 there was a lot of ‘window shopping’ going on, but branded content is serious business today; even more so after the pandemic. We have onboard partners such as Philips Grooming and a medical brand Pristine Healthcare that were once unwilling to explore the space.”

The last part of the session dealt with the ‘tough question’ regarding the ownership of IP. Gladly fielding the query, Koshy said that the issue needs to be discussed more because not only does it define branded content, but also forms the basis of what differentiates it from advertising. “Advertising is something that brands create depending on their requirement and push it out in the market after identifying the best possible media options. The audience is not actively seeking it; given an option, they will almost always skip an ad. However, with our kind of offering, viewers keep coming back to the platform on a daily, weekly or monthly basis wanting to consume more content. So it is best that the IP stays with us.”

The fifth edition of Content Hub 2021- ‘TV, Film, Digital Video, and Beyond’ is being organised by Indiantelevision.com from 28-30 July, 2021. The three-day summit is co-presented by IN10 Media Network and ZEE5, and co-powered by Applause Entertainment and Tipping Point, the digital content unit of Viacom18 Studios. PTC Network is the supporting partner. 

Centred on the theme – ‘The New Dynamic’, The Content Hub 20201 will witness insightful sessions with industry stakeholders deliberating on how the new forces are transforming the way content is created and stories are told. It will also delve upon the impact of these changes on the business models for the world of films, TV and OTT.   

For more details, visit: https://www.thecontenthub.in/

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