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Sudip Sanyal

The number of views and engagement of content is crucial, but at the same time it is also important to factor in watch time while measuring the effectiveness of content marketing, says Sudip Sanyal, Head of Motion Content Group India, GroupM’s content investment, production and distribution business.

In an interview with BuzzInContent, he said that a combination of units needs to be considered. On digital platforms, apart from the number of views, the quality and the stickiness of the content is also critical from a marketer’s viewpoint.

“Based on some of our shows for a digital platform or an OTT platform, we've been seeing 26-28 minutes of watch time, which is a phenomenal thing. On Vallamai Tharayo, we have a 50% completion rate, which means that for the huge number of audience that is coming in, 50% plus actually finishes that episode. So it's a combination of both, not just the number of audiences that's coming in, but also how sticky is that content for them,” he said.

Brands today want to associate with content that they’re proud of and for them, brand safety is a huge concern. Sanyal says that's the reason they choose to associate with Motion. “That's an assurance that we can give, because we are in this business of brands. Being a part of GroupM, we are very sensitive and we understand the space and how important brand safety is,” he said. 

With an explosion of OTT and content platforms, the audience is now not limited to a television set and has access to a wide variety of options to choose from. So to create brand awareness and brand recall with content marketing, it has become imperative to stand out from the crowd. Sanyal says that in this landscape, the story has become very important in the message.

“One of the key and emerging trends is the rebirth of story. There is so much exposure today that the story has become critical,” he said.

Sanyal highlights another key trend—the ability to enable the content to travel. “How are you taking it forward and enabling your consumer to watch it, whether it's on his mobile, on his television, or on an OTT platform, or on radio or audio streaming? And how are you integrating all those platforms together on one content piece to go forward? How are you adding arms and legs to it for it to travel?”

Some estimates say regional accounts for about 60-70% of all content being consumed across the country. This is a focus and opportunity area for Motion Content in India. Collaborating with Vikatan TV, it has created a Tamil digital daily fiction show called Vallamai Tharayo.

“It's probably the world's first daily fiction on YouTube. We are extending it into the AP-Telangana market as well on the ETV platform. That's been a highlight for us this year in the South market,” Sanyal said.

They had previously collaborated with Sun TV for a Tamil-thriller show ‘Run’. No. 1 Yaari, a multi-lingual talk show, is one of their flagship shows and they are now planning to run its third season. In 2021 also, they plan to go big on regional.

Motion Content India has associated with several brands. They collaborated with Britannia for the cooking show Star Chef. They also worked with ITC on Vallamai Tharayo this year and are currently working on another Yaari season.

Associating with these shows benefits brands extensively as it is an extension to what they are already doing. Sanyal says, “It creates long-lasting equity. They also get the advantage of partnering on credible and different projects. Partnering with projects like Yaari or Critics Choice gives the opportunity for brand stories to really come out and also gives them a platform to reach their key audience and drive home a message.”

They have just concluded the third edition of the Critic's Choice Awards with The Film Critics Guild. Sanyal said, "There was a need for an award where experts choose the best content from the country. The short films space was exploding, but no one knew where to watch it or which ones to watch. And that's how the partnership with The Film Critics Guild and Vistas Media started. And then we extended it to feature films and web series, and now it's just getting bigger every year."