OTT space big enough to accommodate many competitors: Shantanu Gangane

OTT platform Vuclip announced its first ever integrated brand marketing campaign for Viu – ‘Kaafi Feels Bro’, which aims at building Viu as a go-to destination for the most compelling and engaging content. Viu is present in 15 markets throughout Asia and the Middle East. ’Kaafi Feels Bro!’ encapsulates the very essence of the brand that delivers fascinating stories to today’s young and digital-first audiences. While showcasing an array of genres that viewers can choose from, the campaign focuses on riveting, fresh and original stories available on the platform, including movies and Korean shows. The 360-degree marketing campaign will be rolled out across TV, Print, OOH, radio and social platforms ensuring buzz for the highly captivating content that the OTT platform has to offer. 

The campaign was created in two languages, Hindi and Telugu, signifying the availability of multilingual content on Viu, both original and licensed. Aptly titled ‘Kaafi Feels Bro!’, the brand film echoes the essential intent of offering content that appeals to consumers’ emotions in a variety of genres such as horror, drama, romance and comedy on Viu. The TVC shows people who are immersed in the viewing experience to the extent of feeling they are a part of the story, going through the fears and joys the show has to offer. 

Commenting on the launch of brand campaign, Shantanu Gangane, Head of Marketing, Viu India, said, “At Viu, our endeavour is to offer great viewing experiences and riveting content with a dose of local flavours to our audiences. With compelling content that is bound to evoke various emotions from viewers, our first brand campaign is a reminder of the diverse genres, moving stories, interesting and original content available for our viewers on the platform. With the ‘Kaafi Feels Bro!’ campaign, we aim to connect with our audience in their lingo, which to them signifies the range of exciting content.” 

VS Srikanth, CEO, Bates Chi & Partners India, which has worked on the campaign, added here, “It was a great experience to co-create this communication with Viu and we look forward to many more such experiences. The collaborative effort of the Viu and Bates teams has led to this piece of communication; a perfect representation of youth and their viewing habits. We knew we had a winner when we first presented the line ‘Kaafi Feels bro.’ After much deliberation, testing and market research, here we are today. The rest, as they say, is history.” 

Speaking to Adgully, Shantanu Gangane elaborates further on the latest campaign, the OTT landscape in India, original programming, tie-ups with channels, competition in the OTT space ad much more. Excerpts: 

How has the performance of Viu been in India in terms of ad revenue and subscriber base?
The journey and performance has been fabulous in terms of organic growth, and our brand scores have moved tremendously. It is very heartening and encouraging for us to move into the next phase, which is launching more originals and coming up with new mass media campaign. 

Please tell us about the latest campaign?
The campaign comes deep rooted with the ideology of what you want to promote and how you want to promote it. From a metric’s standpoint, we are not promoting a single content piece, but our entire platform and trying to build a certain loyalty and an affinity towards the platform. When a brand builds affinity, there are better chances of the app staying in the phone and not getting uninstalled, and having a returning Daily Active User (DAU) which shows the stickiness of our content and the loyalty of our brand. That’s the genesis of why we have done the campaign rather than what we have done in the campaign. 

Any more campaigns lined up?
Yes, we do have more campaigns lined up over the next few months with new content coming up on the platform. 

What are the new shows in the pipeline?
We have four shows lined up. The show ‘Social’, which is a social media thriller, will launch in September, where Rana Daggubati is presenter of the show and Naveen Kasturia is the protagonist. The show will have 13 episodes. The other 3 shows are still in the pipeline and they are in fiction zone. We are looking at them through research lens currently. 

Where do you see most of your viewership from in India?
Because of the size of our population and off take of internet usage and video penetration, we are seeing Delhi and Mumbai as the markets which contribute heavily, but as and when we launch more specific content pieces, we get viewership from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune and the Southern markets. It all depends on what content piece is being released and the way it is marketed, although we don’t look at it just from an app download point of view. 

How are you scaling up your regional content?
We are looking at Tamil as the next market, while other languages are in the pipeline and are being evaluated from an ROI and penetration point of view. So, it’s too early to comment on it. 

How do you perceive Netflix and Hotstar as competition in India?
We look at them from a market standpoint rather than what our competitor is up to. The way India and OTT penetration is shaping up, there is need for a lot of players to enter the OTT market. There is positioning and content creation options because of different target groups lapping up different kind of content and using different kind of technology. The market is so huge that you can co-exist with a lot of competitors and each of them has their own unique positioning and set of audiences as well. We look at it from a complimentary and co-existing standpoint rather than mere competition. 

Your view on the OTT industry in India and how it is shaping up?
We (OTT industry) have just started and there is a long way for us to go. The industry only has 7-8 players who are really visible, but it is a much more complex market than what it is right now, with telcos looking at it and also celebrities getting into it. It is going to be a longer journey, but there will be consolidation after a certain point of time and there will be viewers who will have limited bandwidth to consume and so many eyeballs to juice. There will be an evolution that OTT will go through like any other media has and it will be scalloped in terms of the time it takes. 

Vuclip has recently tied up with Gemini TV in the South, where the content is simulcast on television and the OTT platform. What kind of opportunity do you see in simulcasting feeds?
There is an opportunity for viewers who like that kind of content which is fairly mass and natural, and the beauty of it is that the viewer can be funnelled back to Viuclip after having a certain sampling point on a certain general entertainment channel, which will be fairly large in number. It works really well for the television medium and our platform and is a complementary model. 

Could you elaborate on your recent tie-up with Zoom?
We have just started that and it is a reverse model of TV to OTT. The more our content is known to more and more consumers, we are completely open to doing that as we are a multi-nodal platform and we don’t have a baggage of not being partnered with anybody. Zoom is a great fit in terms of millennials coming there to watch music and Bollywood content, and it adds to their kitty of wide offering and it adds to our overall mass appeal and mass reach. 

Will we see any more channels following suit?
We have a few more tie-ups with channels in the pipeline as this model has caught the eye of many more broadcasters, but it will be purely into original content space. 

How are you scaling up your regional content and what kind of scope do you see in that space?
We look at India as many Indias. HSM is a very big block and a large market, where every player needs to be and VuClip is also present. From a regional standpoint, we see a lot of offtake from a consumer standpoint on regional offering rather than looking at it from a one market point of view. We will continue to invest in that far and wide, be it Telugu or the upcoming markets.


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