Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Music in India, Channel V and T Series.

Indians love music. Music is a very integral part of our lives... We like to have music in marriage ceremony as well as funeral.. which has been brilliantly portrayed by Anurag Kashyap in Gangs of Wasseypur.

But we dont like to pay for music. That is why music (songs) became an integral part of formula cinema. Music has never done a independent business in India.

In the 1990s, with some technological breakthrough, Channel V launched as a music only channel. MTV followed. At around the same time Gulshan Kumar made a fortune selling pirated music in the form of Super Cassettes and he eventually launched his original music enterprise with T Series.

MTV and Channel V withered away eventually. But, Indians never stopped listening to music, rather millenials got exposed to global music with the coming of internet.

So what were the strategies adopted by music publishers and broadcasters in the new millennium?
Everyone recognised the potential of internet and we saw a series of apps in India.. Gaana, Saavn, Wynk. Soundcloud entered the market almost a decade ago, while Spotify entered in as late as 2019.

But who is winning the music game in India?

It is the 1990s unicorn T Series, whose Youtube subscribers exceed music streaming market leader Gaana's users by a margin. So what did they do differently?

They understood the basic behavior of Indians that we like music (the content) and we dont like spending much for it ... (Even if it means app space in our phone) plus we like videos (colorful ones).

So while SaReGaMa was working on shit products like Carvaan and Gaana buying audio only rights, T Series quitely built a great video library of all trendy bollywood songs on its youtube.. with hand picked playlists.

Everyone including MTV missed the starting gun. Music streaming battles in India will be fought on Youtube. OTTs will remain niche.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Tripura Insurgency | ATTF | Star News - NDTV | Archival Video

This video is one of the few videos available on Tripura's insurgency during the 1990s. An archival document indeed.
But the most important thing is about the report itself.. these were the days when private satellite channels had just started operating and news was just a 30 min slot in a 24 hour all purpose channel.
This report was done by none other than Arnab Goswami for Star News produced by NDTV (which used to be a content provider for channels). Skip to the last few seconds to recognize the very calm and composed voice.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

How Amul used the Covid'19 crisis to maximize its marketing activity.

Amul went against the stream and became the most unique case study of the pandemic. When all other brands freezed their marketing activities to conserve cash, Amul went all in.

The strategy was well thought as Amul having a large portfolio was led by its milk and milk based product line. And the supply chain was unaffected in this sector. While the competitors pulled out of market, Amul didn't change any of its advertising budget. But they revised the strategy.

Since most channels were having a dry spell, they gave the lowest rates possible. Amul invested across genres in TV.. Kids, GEC, News, everything. The BARC numbers of the lockdown actually proved that Indians watched more TV then ever.

The most interesting case is the sponsorship of Ramayan and Mahabharat on DD. They diverted all of their IPL spending on the shows and deployed retro ads from 1970s to 1990s. It is a branding exercise that will give returns for a long time. In quantitative terms, AMUL chief R. S. Sodhi claims that they got 3x value as compared to IPL.

Apart from that, AMUL touched a nationalist nerve among the audience who in times of a global crisis were looking upto PM Modi's nationalistic call of 'Vocal for Local'. 'Humara cold drink' ad is a direct attack on beverage giants Pepsi and Cocacola.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

How Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize

"Tagore's career as an Indian English poet began by sheer accident. In 1912, on the eve of his departure to England for medical treatment, he tried his hand at translating some of his Bengali poems into English. The manuscript, taken to England, was lost in the Tube Railway, retrieved by Tagore's son Rathindranath, and came later to be rapturously hailed by William Rothenstein and W. B. Yeats. The rest is history.

Gitanjali (1912) took the literary world of London by storm and was followed in quick succession by The Gardener (1913) and The Crescent Moon (1913). The award of the Nobel Prize came in the same year. More collections followed Fruit-Gathering (1916), Stray Birds (1916), Lover's Gift and Crossing (1918) and The Fugitive (1921).

By the time Tagore's reputation in the English-speaking world had already suffered a disastrous decline. Only two more volumes in English appeared: Fireflies (1928) and the posthumously published Poems (1942) of which all but the last nine were translated by Tagore himself."

Source: M. K. Naik, A History of Indian English Literature, Sahitya Akademi, 1982.

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