Television

In10 Media's Adita Jain talks content acquisition & syndication during Covid2019

She says it’s challenging to operate a business virtually in the absence of physical markets.

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MUMBAI: Today, more than ever before, there’s a huge demand as well as outflow of Indian content in the international market. This has opened up avenues of content acquisition and syndication and broadcasters have leapt at this opportunity to boost their revenues. Media reports state that internationally, the market for content syndication is expected to be around Rs 1,700-1,800 crore and is growing steadily.  

One such player is In10 Media Network, which is actively looking to adopt content syndication as part of its revenue model. The network is seeing a lot of interest from partners across the world because its primary target is the Indian diaspora which is interested in history and mythology, as well as those who desire to know more about India. Apart from developing original IPs, the network is also delving into content syndication. However, as the Covid2019 crisis continues to have a material global impact on the media and entertainment industry, it’s challenging to operate business virtually in the absence of physical markets. In an interaction with indiantelevision.com’s Shikha Singh, IN10 Media Network syndication & acquisition AVP Adita Jain spoke at length about the network's plan going forward, newly acquired content, demand for Indian shows and much more.

Edited Excerpts:

On physical markets not being there
Due to the pandemic, physical markets are not there and it has definitely impacted us because, in the physical market, we directly interact with each other.  When you're sitting across face to face, there's a better understanding and communication, rather than that on email or on video call.

It's just a time-consuming process which has hampered the overall deal-making process.

In terms of syndication, it has been a challenge to generate new leads. Earlier, we would get a fresh set of leads or at least contacts through various markets and exhibitions. Even after the deal is finalised the process gets stuck at operational level.

On how the business functioned in 2020

In terms of acquisition, we already launched two channels and revamped Epic On. We are also coming up with our third channel Ishara TV. So, there was a lot happening in terms of buying content, licensing content, acquiring in terms of syndication because shooting was halted.  Our new IPs were also stuck because either the post-production was taking time or the new content was not being shot. At the same time, our previous ongoing deals were renewed, there was a demand for content from all the platforms. It also pushed us to bring back our library as there was a surge in content consumption. We saw a mixed business because no new content was added, the incremental was not there, but used a lot of previously done content and built on that.

On the overall market sentiment

I think this year was all about collaborations. New partners who had never thought of collaborating in the Indian market are now working with us for a dubbed Hindi content.

So, the overall market sentiment is very encouraging for international players to enter the Indian market. They are more flexible, more accommodating and they want to expand in Indian territory not only in Hindi, but in other Indian languages too. There is so much content to pick and choose from.

On latest acquisitions

We have acquired content from across the globe including Korea, Russia, UK, Singapore, Italy, Spain, and European markets. So, it's a mix of various territories. Therefore, it was a very extensive exercise and we wanted to bring a lot of global stuff to India.

It was a very long drawn process, after evaluating thousands of hours of content across categories like gaming, animations, and wildlife before finalising the pipeline. However, it was both time consuming and a slow-moving process in terms of partners getting back to us.

On demand for Indian content in the international market

Currently, we are syndicating Epic TV’s nonfiction content. All the docu-series and a documentary on Indian travels and Indian stories is something that has been constantly demanded from our network through the Epic TV channel. Because from earlier on, we have been in a limited series format. As it is easy to package and sell the content because no player has to commit to longer series. Generally, it is a 13-part series or 26-part series. So, it's a perfect combination for binge-watching. The latest from 2020 production was Regiment Diaries season two.

On introducing any discounted rates in the new market

We didn't go through any discounting. In fact, the only possibility was that we were able to bundle the deals a lot. So, if we were looking at one season, we could bundle two seasons together. Because for the longest time they knew that they could not shoot anything. So, it was a constant requirement.

On its deal with Epic On and DocuBay

DocuBay is a global documentaries platform that we have expanded in the second half of 202O. Earlier, we were a feature documentary channel, but recently we have announced that we will be looking at series.  We will soon launch a linear channel of Docubay. When it comes to DocuBay, our deals are mostly with global players for a global offering. So, our deals have been with worldwide rights and it's been for English documentaries. We look at content, which is more relevant and recent in the subject.

As far as Epic On is concerned, we have moved beyond videos, and have gone back to podcasts and eBooks. We started the whole process during the lockdown. It was a big phase that came into our lives of revamping the whole platform and trying beyond videos for the first time since the network was incorporated. So, it's a one-stop-shop in terms of entertainment.

On best-selling product

Currently, a lot of our content is different for different markets. It's a mixed bag, our most popular content would be Regiment Diaries followed by Raja Rasoi aur Anya Kahaniya and Stories of Rabindranath Tagore. 

On mediums that the network is targeting for its shows

We do have a regular demand for in-flight entertainment, there is also demand for other TV channels in different countries who would like to dub the content. We have had some deals internationally while others are in the pipeline.

As far as pricing goes it all depends on how the rights and licensing terms are packaged. If I am giving dubbing rights or whether I am dubbing it for the platform, whether the content will include dubbing and subtitling too,  is it exclusive, non-exclusive or if it is for one year or for a particular one run. It completely depends on the arrangement. It also comes down to how many hours of content I am syndicating. So, there's no standard rate card as such it is all a permutation combination of a lot of other factors.

On whether the prices hardened or softened

During this time we had to bring in new partners with whom we have not worked before and we were waiting to do business so there, the prices have softened but, where we know that our content works really well we are sure of our product and there has been a certain kind of demand so there we have increased the prices. Again, there is no fixed rule, it changes from time to time. There was no such dip in prices at least for the limited series part of the content.

On tools that the network is using for marketing

It would be odd business pages on social media, where we actually make a lot of our announcements. We have a dedicated email marketing team who regularly reaches out to our partners with the new offerings. Apart from that, I've continued to participate in all the markets virtually and have extended my offering through listing on their sites and communicating with them on a regular basis. So, it has mostly been a digital medium.

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