AgTalk | Da Vinci Learning all set to buzz the Indian audience: Mohit Anand

Mohit Anand currently responsible for leading the Da Vinci Media GmbH entry into the important India market brings a rich and varied experience of 20 years to this leadership role. As Country Manager – India for Da Vinci Media, he is responsible for all facets of the business including, Sales, Marketing & Operations in India. He is currently working on setting the strategic framework leading up to the launch of Da Vinci Learning, the flagship TV channel of the company.

The edutainment channel from the Da Vinci Media GmbH stable, Da Vinci Learning which is expected to go on air sometime during mid-2014 will enable its viewers to find answers to their questions through high-quality knowledge programming, presented in a fun and engaging manner for every age and educational level. Targeted at the 4-14 year olds and their parents, the channel’s programming covers a wide array of topics, ranging from physics and chemistry to history and nature, and makes complex subjects understandable in an entertaining way.

In conversation with Adgully, Mohit Anand, Country Manager, Da Vinci Media spoke about his plans and strategies for Da Vinci Learning which is all set to buzz the young Indian audiences soon. Following are the edited excerpts:

Adgully (AG): How would you define your stint with Da Vinci Learning?

Mohit Anand (MA): The stint thus far with Da Vinci has been an outstanding one. As in any start up, every day brings new challenges and milestones that need to be overcome and achieved.

AG: Post your joining Da Vinci Learning in 2013, what are the key insights perceived in the kids genre?

MA: First of all I started in April 2013. For me the top three insights that have hit home are:
1.   There is a huge paucity of quality kids programming in the edutainment space, for that matter I would say that this gap exists for the entire family.
2.   There is a huge appetite with parents to make a channel like Da Vinci Learning available to their families.
3.   The kid’s genre is now beginning to receive focus from the entire eco-system it deserves, in line with the viewership that this genre generates.

AG: Now with the government's approval in hand to air Da Vinci Learning in India, the stage is all set to go full steam ahead. State some strategies that you have in mind to buzz the kids genre space?

MA: The Government approval is actually a multi-stage process and we have crossed 2 of the 3 stages whilst the 3rd one is still under approval from the Government. We have successfully received FIPB approval (which was stage 1) and subsequently established our wholly owned subsidiary (2nd stage) and brought in the requisite funds as per the FIPB approval into the country. Post this we have applied to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, for a broadcast license. Once we receive the broadcast license it will enable us to launch Da Vinci Learning.

AG: What is the exact date and time slot  decided for the launch of the channel?

MA: We would like to launch the channel as soon as possible, but are dependent on securing the broadcast license. We anticipate that we will receive the license in H2-2014 and will subsequently launch the channel immediately.

AG: When we spoke last you stated that your content strategy would be Fun Learning for the entire family i.e. edutainment content. So does that strategy continue to remain the same or do we see it altering with the team’s new findings since then?

MA: Our content strategy continues to remain the same.

AG:  Your channel has a strong brand recognition in Eastern Europe and CIS countries but in India you would be competing directly with big names like ZEEQ, so please could you explain your strategy on that front?

MA: We are supremely confident about our product and the content that we offer and as you rightly point out we are a strong brand in international markets. Building brand recognition in India remains a prime objective and will have 360 degree marketing campaign rolling out in a phased manner closer to the launch, at launch and post launch to ensure that we are able to build the same brand salience that we have built in our other markets.

AG: You have also been in talks with different DTH operators. How has the response been and could you share who are on the final list?

MA: We are in talks with all DTH operators and have received very positive and encouraging feedback towards our content from all operators. We will be able to share more details closer to the launch.

AG: With the channel launch around the corner, which are the media and creative agencies roped in on the marketing front?

MA: As explained above since we are still awaiting the broadcast license it would be a little early to comment on the same. We are committed to a broad outreach via our marketing efforts to ensure the channel and our content reaches as many viewers as possible across India.

AG: As you said earlier the Ad sales in the kid’s genre is pegged at 250 crores per annum and growing, so what is the ad-rate that you have decided for the channel?

MA: We will be able to share specifics closer to channel launch.

AG: Also since the kids genre is one of the fastest growing and evolving genre in television space today, what is the market share that you are looking at acquiring in this genre with your channel?

MA: We are confident that Da Vinci Learning will garner its fair share of the market in the kid’s edutainment space and post launch will emerge as one of the leaders in the space in times to come.

AG: With your channel all set to enter the Indian living rooms, do we see any brand extensions or awareness activities such as partnering with other edutainment outfits like Funskool, Fisher-price etc?

MA: Yes absolutely, we are at an advance stage of negotiations with various partners who share the same values and brand ethos as us. Stay tuned for many exciting announcements.

AG: Having come from a background which is in contrast to your present role at Da Vinci Media, how have you been able to use your previous learning’s at Da Vinci and in genres ranging from youth to a GEC? 

MA: My experiences over the last 2 decades have always placed me at the cutting edge of interactive entertainment and catering to young audiences. I do believe that those experiences have helped me a great deal as we have embarked on our India journey. Also I have been fortunate to have been in startup situations multiple times in my career thus far and that has held me in good stead whilst setting up the organization in India. That said, it is also a huge learning for me every day and I am really enjoying the challenge.


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