Viacom18’s Anshul Ailawadi on Fully Faltoo, KaanPhod, and foray into Metaverse
Viacom18’s Youth, Music and English Entertainment (YME) cluster (comprising MTV, MTV Beats, Comedy Central, Colors Infinity and Vh1) has unveiled its content plans for FY22-23. The cluster witnessed a remarkable growth with 9.8 billion impressions on content across TV, social media, and the network’s OTT platform Voot in the past year. The business unit was also able to draw viewers during non-prime time through exciting sports content.
With fiction, non-fiction, sports, short-format content, and a foray into the Metaverse, the YME division will reinvent. The YME unit recently launched the Fully Faltoo NFT platform that saw more than 3,000 digital collectibles sold out within a couple of hours. The brand will also launch its maiden short-form video offering Fully Faltoo, with over a dozen new web shows.
In conversation with Adgully, Anshul Ailawadi, Head – Youth, Music and English Entertainment, Viacom18, elaborates on the new launches and other details. Excerpts:
What is your vision for your YouTube channel Fully Faltoo, and what are the plans for that?
Fully Faltoo is more than just YouTube. It is across different platforms, particularly shorter video platforms. Two things are happening: one is that the creator universes are growing rapidly and originally we were the ones who created the creator universes at MTV. It is just now that creators are also being discovered on other platforms and not just on MTV. So, this is our attempt at playing in that space. We will also be launching a creator economy.
Secondly, people are consuming shorter video content – 30 seconds, three minutes, and eight minutes – shorter versions with a very different aesthetics and glamour. We understand this very well because we have done this in the past as well. So, the idea was to launch this offline, then rest across platforms, including Voot, Jio, and others with funny and quirky content.
Could you describe the new business division KaanPhod? What do you intend to do with the artists?
We had instances where we had a lot of talent reaching out to us saying we are into music, what you think about it and so on. Though the music was great, there was not much we could do about it. So here, what we said was that we had always an ear for talent, so emerging artists can come to us. We will invest in the creation of the song, in the creation of the music video, and we will co-own the asset and help you monetise it as well by tying up with the streaming platforms, by giving you visibility on YouTube. So, that’s the larger thinking behind it. And also for promoting and playing it on our television assets.
What are the new upcoming partnerships?
We have a lot on our plate currently – Fully Faltoo NFT.com, Fully Faltoo social video content offering and KaanPhod, which is the new business division. We also have ‘Roadies’ happening next month. We will launch ‘Hustle’ after that. So, it’s a very interesting space and time for us.
What about the content line-up for next year?
Next year includes all of these. I think on an aggregate basis, we will do about three times the content we have done in the previous system. So, that’s the scale and ambition from our end. And we will also revamp almost every single property that we have. So, you will see ‘Roadies’ being revamped. You will see ‘Hustle’ in a different avatar and ‘Splitsvilla’ being reinvented. We will also invest in at least two new formats that will be closer to the end of the year, but that will be on MTV flagship. On Fully Faltoo, we have shared that over a dozen web series, close to three to four videos dropping every week, on all platforms. That’s the content on Fully Faltoo.
What about the NFT collectibles in the Fully Faltoo marketplace?
On Fully Faltoo NFT.com, what we are going to be doing is that we are looking at our next property; the first one was successful. We managed to sell off a lot – 3,000-plus in 36 hours. But the next one will be in the next three to four months. We are actually evaluating what we want to bring in the kind of format the NFT will come out with, that’s one thinking and the other is that we are looking at how to dilute the utility value of the NFT, so that what we offer to our NFT buyers is very unique or give them something more than just possession of the NFT.
How has ‘Roadies’ remained relevant for the youth over the years?
To be fair, while we did a lot of digging on that front, we realised what’s core to ‘Roadies’ actually, since the first season on Indian television in 2003. There were three elements to ‘Roadies’ and I think it is about the whole journey. In some cases, it was the physical journey, while in some cases, it was the personal journey, as well as the adventure. And I think in this process, there was also self-discovery. Young people discovered who they were, what they were made of, and I think every edition of ‘Roadies’ has sort of dwelled on these three aspects.
We just felt that so much has happened to us during the pandemic times and how much our lives have changed. The format needs a significant refresh and that’s why what you are seeing is that we have kept the four linear. But this edition of ‘Roadies’, which will go live in April, will be even more relevant and more in line with what we think young people want from content post the pandemic.
Why was Sonu Sood selected as the host of ‘Roadies’? Have you changed the format of the show? What are the dynamics that will go into its mass appeal?
Definitely, the format of the show is undergoing a slight change. It is a new format, a new show and you will hear a lot about it very shortly. Sonu is a real-world Roadie; he is an icon for so many young people. He has done so much good work in his professional life and in his personal life. So, he is the right kind of person to give young people a certain direction and you will see it in this show what he brings to the table. It also adds to the value of the show.