Vijay Subramaniam of Disney India talks about why advertisers are betting big on branded content. Saurabh Doshi of Facebook talks about Facebook Bandstand and how artistes can use it to engage with fans while also making it good for advertising in the future
THE TIME IS RIGHT TO START TELLING STORIES THAT ARE SHORTER, BUT JUST AS IMPACTFUL: VIJAY SUBRAMANIAM
Riding high on the success of its short form series - Girl In the City (Season 1) and The Trip, Vijay Subramaniam, VP - Media Networks, Disney India tells us about the response and why advertisers are betting big on branded content.
On the short form series: As a brand, we are always in touch with consumers and glean a lot of information from the conversations. Millennials are becoming increasingly adaptive to all formats of content and while they are consuming traditional long form content, they are also consuming a lot of shorter duration, highly impactful, serialized content. So, we felt that the time was right to start telling stories that are shorter in duration but just as impactful, flexible and can be binge-watched.
ON Response TO IT SO FAR: It’s been fantastic and we have seen impressive numbers. Girl In the City (Season 1) has seen 53 million views till date (including all the micro-content, episodes, live interactions with the cast). The Trip has seen 20 million views till date (including all the micro-content, episodes, live interactions, trailers for seven episodes aired out of 10). What’s also impressive is the engagement that the content has created, the number of conversations stimulated, the likes, the shares, etc.
ON Advertiser integration: Castrol is returning as the presenting sponsor for Girl In the City: Chapter 2. We have also got brands like Titan (Tanishq Mia) and Zydus (Everyuth) coming on board. Brand owners are recognizing the fact that we can create really solid engagement through pure form story-telling. The integrations are woven into the story and feel seamless and experiential for consumers. If you take ‘The Trip’, Ford Ecosport was part of the entire journey and we also had Lakme, Myntra and Whisper. Our best validation is that we have a growing roster of brand partners, and some of them are now willing to sign up annually with us for branded content.
Interplay between Television and Digital: Firstly as a philosophy our story-telling is omni-content, multi-platform and omni-platform. We have to window it smartly, because there are some who prefer to consume these stories on TV and a different set who consume it in the digital environment. We look at each platform and the strength it carries and programme pieces of content taking advantage of that.
ARTISTES LIKE TO VISIT THE FACEBOOK OFFICE, AND WITH BANDSTAND THEY CAN DO FUN THINGS: SAURABH DOSHI
This week, Facebook launched ‘Facebook Bandstand’, a new tool to woo celebrities and public figures across media, entertainment and sports verticals to interact with their audiences in real-time via Facebook Live. The launch of Bandstand comes at a time when the uptake for live video conversations on Facebook has seen a sharp spike. Saurabh Doshi, Head Media Partnerships, Facebook tells us how artistes can make the most of this tool to engage with fans while also making it good for advertising in the future.
CELEBRITIES WANT TO GO ‘LIVE’ RIGHT FROM HERE: Facebook’s Mumbai office sees a lot of Bollywood A-listers walking in and out of its premises with a clear-cut objective of wanting to boost engagement with their fans and followers. Although Facebook provides a plethora of tools for mass engagement, queries on effective implementation of these tools is what Doshi’s team is constantly tasked with. “We’ve had Deepika Padukone, Hrithik Roshan, Sonakshi Sinha and many other prominent figures visit us wanting to know more about our services, and once acquainted with the Live feature, they all want to go Live from our office itself. Catering to that excitement, Facebook Bandstand will give that touch of creativity and colour to artistes who would like to add a little authenticity to their fan engagement,” Doshi says.
WHAT IS BANDSTAND ALL ABOUT?: The dictionary definition of Bandstand is ‘an outdoor arena for bands to perform’ and along with its parlance of being a popular celebrity residential destination in Mumbai’s Bandra suburb, it became just the right term for Facebook to pick for its in-house celebrity chat room. According to Doshi, “A lot of thought went into naming and designing this product. Since artistes like visiting our office, it was necessary to design a space in which fun things could be done. The four walls of our special room exhibit distinctive characteristics - one can choose from a natural setting with lush green trees as the backdrop or go with the quirky Lego theme. There are a few props too to make artistes feel at ease and add energy to the interactions all at the same time.”
ADVERTISING ON LIVE CONTENT: Content creation is an expensive affair, and Facebook believes that advertising on live video will create a revenue stream for artistes and incentivise content creators. “Content producers put in a lot of resources to create engaging video content, be it Live or VOD and there should be some return on that investment. There is a model for ad breaks in live videos for which the ad revenue can be shared with the producers. However, advertising options are still being explored, tried and tested in the US before it reaches India,” Doshi sums up.