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As the creator economy blooms in the digital era and with-it branded content gains pace, identifying and providing platforms to fulfil all possible needs of the creators has helped One Digital Entertainment in becoming a full-lifecycle media group that it is, as per Gurpreet Singh, its COO and Co-Founder.

With the eye for expansion being ingrained in their DNA, One Digital has taken several steps to foray into the Web3 ecosystem and reassert its position as a global lifecycle media company while staying true to the digital ecosystem.

Elaborating on the future acquisition plans for the company, Singh said that anything in the digital ecosystem which has to do with content creators and the communities are the places that One Digital is eyeing to acquire. “What helps in such acquisitions is the fact that we cater to content creators’ every single need, from planning and strategizing video content to production, syndication and distribution of the same. So infusing creators, brands and platforms into our ready stack of services and capabilities happens seamlessly’, add Singh.

“Since the time One Digital Entertainment was launched, which was in 2012, I have been very bullish as I knew how things had changed in the previous decade. We had faith in ourselves that we will be one of the front-runners in the country and wanted to jump into it right away, and so far, it has been faring out well as per our plans,” stated Singh.

He also shared that One Digital Entertainment currently manages over 15,000+ content creators, across music, fashion, food, Bollywood, comedy and lifestyle genres and partners with over 20 billion minutes of content watched on YouTube as the largest certified multi-channel network in Asia and possibly one of the largest, globally.

Furthermore, he also went on to highlight that what has worked for One Digital Entertainment in the past decade is their understanding of the relationship between content and audiences which ultimately charters an effective growth path that leads to monetisation. Singh commented, “We’ve always believed in tracking talent very closely and making them superstars, because the growth in the number of connects and the type of connections that any creator would have with her or his fans should become naturally stronger which can be monetised against real value creation for our brand partners.”

Singh also pointed out that One Digital Entertainment had started building the creator economy, a decade ago, when this current buzz-word was not even coined.

“Once we start grooming and building content creators into mega superstars, it helps in building IPs and brand extensions because one needs to have all these communities to consume content, be it on creators’ platform or even on your owned media platforms,” he added.

“There are creators behind whom we have invested time, capital and energies for years, before we even started monetising their presence, Content creation journey has its own pre-revenue gestation period and we knew this very early on,” he stated.

Citing an example of Prajakta Koli aka MOSTLYSANE, Singh asserted, “Prajakta is one of our very proud and successful stories. We scouted her when she was working at a radio station and from there, we started building her digital presence and later her brand. Our focus was to first build the creator along with their content and then build communities around them. In Prajakta’s case the journey continues with not just monetisation but also with global associations with likes of United Nations Development Programme and The Gates Foundation amongst others.”

Furthermore, he also highlighted that initially most of the revenue for digital content came from Platform Ads and since then it has now shifted to a mix of both ads and branded content.

“When brands started integrating their content on the respective channels of the creators, then branded content started constituting a larger chunk of revenue generation for the creators and other opportunities account for nearly 20-25%,” Singh stated.

Singh also went on to point out that One Digital Entertainment through their PR machinery also ensure that their content creators are being seen and spoken about, followed by One Digital’s Sales team who pitch concepts to brands and crack deals with them for the creators.

With a vision to open up further engagement and monetary avenues for creators from their communities, the digital media company also launched an e-com merchandising marketplace - MerchGarage - that is uniquely placed to offer Artists with a product portfolio of more than 100+ products that can be customised and sold on the respective creator site on their platform. The platform has been built to handle high scalability and enable multiple custom creator ecommerce stores to operate simultaneously.

“We started this venture because we know that all the creators are what they are today only because of the people who are watching them and since the connection between them is very strong, the creators don’t want their fans or communities to feel that something is not of utmost quality. Hence, we control the entire experience through MerchGarage,” asserted Singh.

Furthermore, social commerce has also seen a significant uptick in the merchandising ecosystem, and will be one of the major revenue pillars of One Digital Entertainment, as per Singh.

When asked about what helps MerchGarage stand out from other social commerce platforms, Singh replied that since they are at the cusp of talent, tech and media and are now powering an end-to-end product business with full-scale capabilities where they own the complete value chain, it will be a gamechanger in the social commerce space.

Additionally, keeping the creators’ needs in mind, One Digital Entertainment has also launched their own podcasting platform- ‘Pod.One’, wherein they provide the entire creative, production, outreach and marketing support for the creators who wish to run their own podcasts and help them commercially board on to major audio streaming platforms like Spotify, Audible, etc.

When asked about how does One Digital Entertainment manage to do a plethora of things in the creator ecosystem, Singh highlighted that it is possible because of the team which consists of a mix of cross-functional as well as compartmentalised resources spread across multiple departments like artist management, creatives, production, studion, sales and marketing. Each of these departments have further division to improve precision of tasks and distribute focus on core objectives.

On a concluding note, Singh also pointed out that even though One Digital has existed for a decade, he feels that they are still getting started and the goal is to stay true to their ever-growing vision to become what they aspire to become.