Q] Tell us about Fandrum, and what exactly does the platform offer?
Fandrum celebrates fans. Today, nobody wants to celebrate fans, there’s no validation done for them, especially in Bollywood. In South Indian industry, the fan culture exists, but it is completely fragmented. Though fans have more power these days because of social media, still their voice is lost. Fandrum is a place that wants to give fans the voice and power. Fandrum itself means fans becoming influencers and active participants in the whole content ecosystem rather than just remaining as passive followers. So we are trying to segregate fans from the audience to build an out and out social media platform for fans.
Q] What was the purpose behind launching Fandrum? How did you get the idea?
I have been in the media entertainment ecosystem for close to 20 years now. I sat through a lot of board meetings, where everybody kept discussing the audience and audience measurement system. 20% of people give you 80% of viewership, so why are we not loyal to that 20%? Who will make sure that their 20% word-of-mouth makes it a success or a flop? It’s all about converting the word-of-mouth into social equity. That’s where we realized that there has to be more to do with fans than just branding them as an audience. We want to really disrupt the whole content making ecosystem by involving creators who watch and understand content in the media and entertainment industry. So it’s a creator’s market and economy, we want fans to be a part of that greater economy.
Q] How is it different from other fan clubs and communities that exist on different social media platforms?
Communities were never supposed to exist on these platforms. Facebook was for family/friends, LinkedIn for professionals, Instagram was a photo sharing platform. However, the need for such people coming together and sharing common interests exists. So that’s why it found its place on these social media platforms. So if there is a need, why not give them an exclusive platform to just do this? Unlike other communities, on Fandrum there will be one community for one actor and the more you engage, the more points you get. Fandrum is for every media content, except politics. There are fan clubs of characters, actors, movies, music stars and almost everything. Ours is a platform where everybody can join us as an audience. The more they engage and create, the more they’ll get viral on the platform. It’s a seven stage journey, and in the last 3 stages you become a superfan, and a moderator. These are the people who will get real power to influence their community in terms of points and rewards.
Q] What is the source of revenue for the platform? What kind of growth do you expect to achieve by the end of this year?
Right now we are at about 100,000 users without any marketing and we’re still running in the beta version. So the idea is to help broadcasters generate better content for the fans. We provide data for the entire ecosystem to have a two way communication for broadcasters and content producers at a subscription model. We want to be the entertainment wallet for the entire entertainment industry, be it for buying a movie ticket, subscription, mobile data pack, or even buying whatever you see on the television. Two years down the line, we’ll make sure that we have a full television commerce platform (T-commerce) on Fandrum itself, building a complete fan economy.
Q] As it’s a new platform, how will it benefit brands and advertisers? What are the ways in which brands can leverage Fandrum?
Firstly, we have to get our fan quotient right. We will be able to tell by the psychographic analysis of these fans that this brand is good to be associated with this fandom. For example, Shah Rukh Khan endorses Tag Heuer, Hyundai i10 or Byju’s, but not all of them fall into the same segment. But they are all SRK fans. We can flag who are the keen buyers and prompt them to own that. So brands get a real tangible value through content. Through content we know about the fans more than the fans know about themselves. The content grows on the person and we are able to map that.
Q] Can a user/fan monetize on Fandrum? What rewards can a fan expect from the platform?
For rewards, we are trying to tie up with all the biggest production houses and content producers. Luv Ranjan is the first to partner with us, and willing to spend on fans. So fans will have access to all of his films, there will be celebrity meet and greet, they will also get the opportunity to walk down the red carpet, get premiere tickets, have access to costumes, props and everything in that movie. Luv has not only partnered with us but invested in us to make this a successful venture.
We are creating a fan value index that measures the value that a fan is generating towards a particular brand, character, celebrity or a show. We have spent two years to come up with this psychographic profiling of the user. This fan may exist on any ecosystem or any social media platform, and we will be able to analyze and identify the fan, generating his or her fan value index.
Q] What is the way forward for Fandrum? How do you plan to bring more engagement on the platform?
Right now the whole idea is for the industry to know that there is a platform such as this. The industry should know that the biggest differentiator between the South Indian film industry and Bollywood are the fans. Everybody is wondering in Bollywood why films from the South are working, the answer is because in the South they’ve built programmes for their fans. The idea is to really first convince the industry that there is a need for it, and we are shouting out loud that there has to be a voice for a fan more than a voice of a celebrity or a content producer. At Fandrum, we believe if content is king, then fans are King Kongs.