APART FROM SUBSTANTIAL NEW INVESTMENTS IN BROADCASTING OUR DIGITAL CONTENT PORTFOLIOHAS BEEN REJIGGED OVER THE LAST YEAR; HERALDING A REVIVAL IN CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT AND AMAJOR LEAP TOWARDS LEADERSHIP.
Network18 is one of the few top-notch integrated TV and digital media companies in thecountry and continues to drive home our advantage in being channel-agnostic providers ofcontent in an increasingly digital world. Across both mediums we have taken active stepsto sharpen our product offering and widen our reach with the aim to integrate ourproperties with the daily lives of the new-age Indian. Amidst choppy advertising marketsin a year of flux we continued to invest substantially into our portfolio to addressemerging opportunities and remain at the bleeding edge of the rapidly-evolving mediaindustry; thereby being trend-setters rather than mere followers.
A new beginning for Network18 digital
Our digital content portfolio has been rejigged over the last year heralding a revivalin customer engagement and a major leap towards leadership for even our smallerproperties. Our digital flagship and genre-leader Moneycontrol's product offering has beenimproved upon through offering deeper insights into news as well as personal finance.Opinions portal Firstpost had a landmark year as its incisive analysis and viewsresonated with India driving it up the rankings charts to just below industryheavyweights with print-backgrounds. The launch of Firstpost Hindi was another steptowards showcasing our vernacular focus. But the biggest change this year was theestablishment of News18.com as the single digital destination for all news by rebrandingof national news portal ibnlive and merging regional news into it. The relaunched portalhas already witnessed a smart gain in trafic as a result and we believe that News18.comshall be a significant driver of engagement and revenue-growth in future.
Creating umbrella brands and integrated platforms
Mirroring the digital portfolio we rebranded CNN-IBN (English News) and
IBN7 (Hindi News) channels as CNN- News18 and News18 India respectively with acomplete makeover. The idea behind the rebranding of national news was to create umbrellabrands which can dominate mindshare and steer growth across segments. In line with thisstrategy we shall also transition the ETV regional news channels to the News18 brand.Operationally we integrated regional news into the national platform in the last yearand have also taken approval to merge the entity handling regional news into TV18. In thesame vein the integration of our regional entertainment bouquet into Viacom18 was alsocompleted during the year in review after having transitioned them to the Colors brand inprevious years. This shall yield financial and operational synergies apart from theinherent content and brand synergies.
Focussing on the vernacular opportunity in television
In regional markets we launched 3 news channels namely News18 Kerala Tamil Nadu andAssam/North-East; taking our regional news portfolio to an industry-leading 14 channelscovering 26 states. We also added 4 secondary channels (including 3 HD feeds) in regionalentertainment; substantially increasing our footprint to 9 channels across 5 states. Goingforward we shall further accentuate our regional focus and add to the languages wealready cover; to deliver to the under-served audiences content that resonates with themin the language of their choice. I feel this will help augment our consumer connect todrive growth in the years ahead.
A major leap towards digital broadcasting
Even as we build on our strengths on the traditional platforms we are cognizant of theimportance of expanding our digital offerings in order to harness the new-age industryopportunities. Our platform-agnostic approach coupled with our technological prowess hasenabled us to build a powerful and scalable OTT platform VOOT which can deliver anywhereanytime content consumption. Apart from a library of our entertainment shows VOOTdelivers original content (targeted at the urban millennial) syndicated kids content(making it a one-stop shop for kids) and behind-the-scenes/uncut content from ournon-fiction properties as well. With sticky usage of 40+ minutes per day per user VOOThas emerged as one of the top online video destinations in India and won awards andaccolades in its first year.
Finding niches of growth
In addition to our regional thrust we are also aggressively looking at _lling thewhite spaces in our entertainment bouquet. Our forays into Hindi movies through RishteyCineplex and into Bollywood music through MTV Beats were aligned to this approach and insync with the growing free-to-air opportunity. Another such foray targeted at a nichewas the launch of our lifestyle channel FYI TV18. It opened to great viewer response andrankings and is on the upswing. We are continuing to look at other opportunities toexpand our bouquet of channels.
Creating a legacy of excellence
It is my strong belief that our ability to identify and harness future opportunitieswill continue to be one of the biggest enablers of our growth as we map new frontiers ofsuccess. Cognizant of the criticality of our people to our growth plans we arecontinuously working on nurturing an environment of collective progress where everyindividual is empowered with the wherewithal needed to grow on a personal and professionallevel.
I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to every employee of this organisationfor their deep-rooted commitment and consistent hard work. Let me also take thisopportunity to thank all the Directors and other stakeholders for their unrelentingsupport and trust in the organisation.
With best wishes