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#Fame plans to start regional-language beams and travel overseas

MUMBAI: #Fame will start regional-language beams and has plans to go overseas, a top executive of the company said.

#fame-logoThe talent-led digital entertainment network will launch in Tamil and Telugu languages soon. #Fame is also testing in Thailand and in Indonesia.

“The plan for those markets will be similar to India, which means a strong focus on local talent and creating content for the digital platform. Regional beams will launch in the coming months. Tamil and Telugu will be the first priority,” To The New Ventures CEO Puneet Johar told TelevisionPost.com. To The New Ventures has invested in #Fame.

The approach in those markets will be desktop and mobile. In India, a desktop app will launch in due course. Other markets that #Fame will target include Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.

#Fame is investing $10 million and expects to breakeven within four years. “Right now, our priority rests on scaling up and on growth. $10 million is being invested in #Fame. We expect to achieve breakeven in three to four years,” said Johar.

Mobile app and #Fame Talent League

Encouraged by the response to its mobile app, #Fame is also launching #Fame Talent League on 5 December. The company had launched the app in May 2015, which it says has since been downloaded two million times and has attracted 30,000 performers.

Johar said that the aim is to triple the number of performers and content creators so that there are 100,000 of them on the platform over the coming months.

Puneet Johar“Our TG is the 16–27 age group and the core TG is 18–24. When we launched the company, we saw that content consumption in this age group was increasingly moving towards the mobile. Our aim was to give an innovative video platform. For young content creators, it used to be a painful experience dealing with things like post production. Now through our app, talent can switch on their smartphone and beam live to an audience. The fact that we have 30,000 content creators shows that there is latent demand for content. We want to triple this.”

Through gamification, talent can benchmark their performance in the app in terms of popularity and interaction. Based on views and likes, performers will get ‘ftl’ points. Winners will be selected on a daily, monthly and seasonal basis. Prizes worth Rs 10 million will be offered over three months.

After creating the platform the company did three things. One was to hold workshops to explain to content creators how #Fame works. At each event, 200–300 content creators would show up to learn. The second thing done was to create marquee events like ‘Lakme School of Style’ and ‘Close-up WebSinger’. Now the third big thing is the upcoming talent league.

“People can win prizes and test themselves. As a platform, #Fame is a great combination of the engagement of social media with the power of live video. Users can go live on a simple click of a button on their mobile without the hassles of production,” Johar says.

In terms of the kind of content that works, he points out to music, Bollywood, astrology, love and relationships, technology, health, wellness and masala themes.

Revenue model

The revenue model for #Fame is advertising. Premium content, according to Johar, is still one to two years down the line. For him first one needs to build critical mass, consumer affinity and relationships with them. “Peak time usage for the app is 2–5 pm and 7 pm midnight. Our TG has Wi-Fi access. With 4G coming in, access will be even easier,” he adds.

The app launched with a partnership with Iifa that took place this year in Malaysia. “Iifa was a good way to demonstrate the app’s functionality. Iifa is high traffic and high involvement. We will look to partner more entertainment events. We will look at the college space, food and fashion.” He estimates that out of the user base five to 10 per cent are active content creators.

#Fame has 25–30 advertisers. The aim is to double the client base. “We do sponsorships and brand associations. We will be using a different avenue in the near future. Advertisers want more engagement on live video. Users spend 15–20 minutes each time they use the app.”

He notes that advertisers understand that digital is a content-led medium. So it is not about a 30-second TVC or an insert in a newspaper.

“Content integration is of paramount importance. The metrics for online measurement has evolved. Advertisers use the digital medium for frequency and impact. For reach, they still go for traditional mediums like television,” Johar explains.

The content language

Saket Saurabh#Fame CEO Saket Saurabh notes that digital is no longer seen as a support medium. “OTT is rising. Digital has its own content language. You cannot always just put TV content on the mobile.”

He says that with different digital platforms coming up competition will be constructive and not disruptive. Comparing the current online scenario to what Indian television was in the late 1990s, Saurabh says, “With the #Fame Talent League, our aim is to reward performers who do well. This is India’s biggest talent hunt. High-quality performances will be incentivised. It took us six months to build the #Fame technology and backend.”

He adds that a monetisation system will be offered in due course where revenue can be shared with content creators.

He notes that when #Fame launched the definition of a smartphone was changing. “There was a pent-up demand for original content. AIB’s success represents the pinnacle of a paradigm shift. When we launched, content for digital was being made elsewhere. We felt that content should be made for digital. The hashtag in our company’s name stands for sharing and inclusiveness. When we launched, we did not foresee that there would be so much traction.”

He adds that there is variety in content creators from celebrities to college students to tarot card readers. The company gets beams from over 100 cities. He mentions that filters are in place to prevent objectionable content. Among other things, there is a functionality to report abuse.