Shaurya Mehta, COO, Living Foodz tells us that Living Foodz’s USP is the original content it airs, even as he charts the future course for the brand to focus on the Regional, Digital and Activations space
BY SIMRAN SABHERWAL
Living Foodz, the premium lifestyle channel from Essel Group’s Living Entertainment portfolio,has maintained its position at the top of the ratings leader board since its launch in September 2015. According to Shaurya Mehta, COO, Living Foodz, the channel’s strength lies in the original content created specifically for the Indian audience. This has not only helped differentiate the channel from competition, but has also reflected in numbers, and as per the latest BARC data for Week 15: Saturday, 7th April 2018 to Friday, 13th April 2018, Living Foodz is the clear leader with 1266 Impressions (000s) (6 Mega Cities: NCCS AB: 2+ Individuals).
Commenting on the performance for the year, Mehta says the channel saw a 40% growth in ad revenues.The time spent by an average viewer on Living Foodz channel is 18 minutes and the channel enjoys a market share of 30% (BARC data: MF 15-50 AB HSM Urban Avg. WK 14’17 – WK 13’18).
Talking about the content that worked, Mehta says Living Foodz experimented with the reality TV format with the first food truck reality TV show, ‘Femme Foodies’, as well as others such as’Utsav: Thalis of India’ with Chef Kunal Kapur, ‘I Want to Bake Free with Maria Goretti’, ‘Northern Flavours’ Season 2 with Chef Ajay Chopra and ‘Rocky and Mayur’s Offbeat Australia’; all of which grabbed eyeballs. Looking ahead, the channel is betting on ‘Station Masters’ Tiffin’ with Chef Ranveer Brar - a concept that explores food through the railway journey lens.
EXPLORING THE REGIONAL AND DIGITAL SPACE
While the urban segment remains thecore audience for Living Foodz, the channel has expanded its reach in Tier II and Tier III cities, as well, and a focus area is the regional markets, particularly the Southern market. Says Mehta, “We are exploring how we can cater to regional markets, specifically in the South. This could be in the form of a language feed and/or unique content catering to specific geographies.”
The other focus area is Digital. For starters, the website Livingfoodz.com, which was launched in January 2017, was recently revamped with a sharper focus on the consumer experience. “The coming year will be a defining year in terms of what we do in Digital. A challenge the lifestyle genre faces is shrinking appointment viewing as the consumption of content is moving towards on demand. This trend, along with the fact that it is snacky content, augurs for better viewing on a Digital platform. Developing content for different screens allows us to broaden our reach to a wider TG.In the coming years, Digital will allow us to reach an audience which TV hasn’t.”
The channel’s Digital strategy has led to increased investments on the Digital front. Living Foodz will create original content specifically for Digital, that includes building original content IPs for the Digital platform. Mehta adds that monetization of revenue is no longer a theory or hypothesis, as there are countless examples in food content where Digital monetization is a reality. “We are looking at a very realistic monetization stream for Digital in the coming year,” he says.
WHIPPING UP THE ACTIVATION SPACE
Living Foodz is also betting on creating engagement opportunities through consumer touch points using on-ground events and brand franchising. The second edition of its B2B franchisee, ‘Epicurean Guild Awards’ - which recognises game changers within fine dine and casual dine establishments or restaurants – was held recently, while it’s second B2B ‘Living Foodz Powerlist Awards’ will take place later this year. Moreover, the channel’s large format B2C event‘Food Fiesta’ and the ‘Baleno Wicked Weekends’– a weekend night club activation, sponsored by Maruti Suzuki Baleno are also making a comeback.
While activations currently contribute to less than 5% of the total revenue, Mehta says this vertical could contribute to at least 10-15% of future revenue. Going forward, plans are afoot to create more IPs and organize multiple activations in the B2B and B2C space, including a food festival that will be launched later in the year.