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Viacom18, Reliance Jio set for synergies in big data, content and tech

At present, 80% of their revenues come from television, 12% from films and the rest from new businesses

Surajeet Das Gupta  |  New Delhi 

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Viacom18, the 50-50 broadcasting venture between (controlled by Reliance Industries) and Viacom Inc, has identified three clear areas of synergy with telecom giant Reliance — big data, content and

Speaking to Business Standard, Group Chief Executive Officer said: “As we go forward with (the over-the-top digital channel), the big data available with us and the huge amount of data available with about its consumers can be synergised, so that we can use it to curate and create relevant and better content for customers.”

has close to 150 million customers who consume over 1.5 billion GB of data every month — 70 per cent of that is consumed to see videos on mobiles. Viacom18’s OTT platform has 30 million active customers and has an average viewership of 50 minutes every day. It is the data about the consumer’s preferences — what programmes they want to see, which genre is popular, and the pattern of viewing, among others — that can help to sharpen its content strategy.  

Vats also said that Viacom can leverage the available with “As we go forward in live events (a new area of business for Viacom18), we will be able to do things in conjunction with by using like virtual reality, 4K and also live streaming of such events.” The live events are essentially an extension of its brands and characters.  

Vats said that just like in the West and the US where convergence between content and telcos are happening, a similar trend would happen in India and with and them. “I see synergy in the content space. We create high-quality content for the pipe; we have the content machinery as part of the expanded team.” The group CEO, however, also sees a major growth for the digital business and a substantial consumer base paying for the services. 

He said that by 2022, as many as 100 million subscribers to the OTT channel would be behind a paywall, while another 600 million would continue to get content that is free and supported by revenues.

At present, estimates that there are over 300 million customers who see some kind of video on their mobile phones or Net. This number, Vats said, would hit 700 million in the next three years. As a result, would see a change in its revenue mix.

At present, 80 per cent of their revenues come from television, 12 per cent from films and the rest from new businesses like digital, consumer products and live entertainment. 

“This will change in the next three to five years to 70 per cent TV, 15 per cent cinema, 8-10 per cent digital and the rest from others,” Vats said. To achieve its digital objectives, the firm is planning to launch premium as well as a for-pay kids’ channel on OTT by the middle of the next year.

On sports, Vats said that it was a “white space” and while they keep evaluating, the space is still dominated by cricket, which requires huge investments and has a long gestation period. Asked whether revenues will shift from 8 per cent to 20 per cent of the total ad pie to sports after the audacious money paid by for the media rights of IPL, Vats said, “I don’t think can be driven up so rapidly. In 10, the stated figure was Rs 1,200-1,350 crore. My sense is, you can increase it by 10 per cent to 20 per cent. (But) beyond this, it does not make sense for advertisers because there are considerable eyeballs in entertainment.”

He also argued that sports business across the world is driven by increase in revenues and cannot be made up only through


First Published: Mon, December 11 2017. 23:54 IST