Sunburn should be glad we came - Jaideep Singh, Sr. VP, Viacom18


When the day dawned o n February 16th, India’s wait for the nation’s very first extreme sports and music festival – MTV Xtreme came to an end. The event also marked the return of America’s thrash metal band – Megadeth – to India. Amidst all the hustle bustle, EE caught up with Mr. Jaideep Singh, Senior Vice President & Business Head, Viacom18, INS to speak about MTV, Supersonic, VH1 collaborations and all that goes into building a youth brand .

VH1 along with MTV has launched a large number of properties within a year. From Supersonic, to MTV Bollyland (EDM mixed with Bollywood music), to Video Music Awards India, to MTV Xtreme, a couple of regional music festivals and a number of other properties in the making, we wonder whether doing so much at one time does justice to each and every property? “Yes, doing so many things at one time can be a boon and a bane. Considering some of the properties were conceptualized for the first time and executed, it becomes a little difficult to concentrate on each and every minute detail,” says Jaideep Singh. If there was one thing that could have been done differently in the past, what would it be? “If given a chance to go back and do something differently, it would be the promotions. We could have concentrated more on the promotions and done them more extensively on social media, on television, on-ground, etc. I believe we lacked a little there. Other than that, every event is a learning experience. We learn something from every mistake we make,” says Jaideep. “But what good thing that came out of doing everything at one time is that now this year, we can concentrate on each and every minute detail. We don’t have to waste time on conception. We know our mistakes, we know our strengths and we know our audience. All that we have to do now is concentrate on solutions,” says Jaideep.

With brand new properties like Supersonic and Bollyland, it is very rare that brand new properties hit the right chord in the first go with their audience. To manage to pull the crowd from the events that they have “tried and tested” and bring them to a brand new experience is a different ball-game altogether. “With Nikhil Chinapa on board, who is more like family to us than anything else, you can rest assured that the event will be a definite crowd puller. He knows his music, he knows what his audience will like and moreover, he has a great following. People trust him when it comes to music. That is perhaps one of the reasons why Supersonic was such a great crowd puller. The response we got is more than we had expected. We differentiate ourselves from the others in a way that our property also believes in promoting our home-grown artists. They don’t get that kind of exposure and through our platform, that’s what we want to provide them,” says Jaideep. So should Sunburn be on a look-out? Jaideep laughs and says, ”Sunburn should be glad we came. There’s so much scope for everyone to be around and the audience is large. We are not eating into anyone’s space. We can all co-exist, and a little bit of competition only means better delivery.”

INS has also launched more properties in the regional segment, to support the network's acquisition of the ETV channels. Another division will work to develop and utilise the digital presences of celebrities. The business division will acquire and build on the digital rights of celebrities, which can subsequently be used as a monetisation tool for the brands and the celebrities themselves. Jaideep Singh adds, "While it is being done to some extent already, it is not been exploited much. We will focus on the second rung celebs, mostly television and sports personalities. These are for the masses." Singh says, "All the brands in the network are quite strong and have reached a threshold. This is the right time to build live events, since last year the country witnessed over 70 events taking place. Plus, INS will provide the best and simplest way for the brands to harness the strength of the network."

Integrated Network Solutions (INS), in India, the new division headed by Jaideep Singh, is divided into two clear verticals, Viacom18 Live and BE Viacom18. Viacom 18 Live will create large format events which will be exclusive Viacom18 properties while the BE Viacom18 sub-division will focus on offering integration opportunities and marketing solutions to brands (advertisers) through the products of Viacom 18 Motion Pictures. Jaideep said, “We’ve been talking to clients about our network-level offerings, and so far we’ve got a very good response. Going forward, as we will launch many content formats and IPs. I’m sure clients will be more than happy to avail our solutions as it’s an offering no other networks in the media space offer.”

Being a brand that is always associated with the youth, how does one always manage to keep the youth engaged. “The youth is like the goldfish. To maintain your position on their minds, you need to be present in all the four spheres of their life – mobile, television, internet and their regular hang out spots. You have to have all the fields covered. You miss out on one – you’re out of the picture,” says Jaideep.

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MTV Bollyland Sunburn Supersonic Vh1

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