Tuesday 19 July 2011

Live Darshan, Horoscope..blah blah..on your TV, next what Mr. DTH?

Picture a young person, 22-28 years of age, working in a private firm at an entry level position, modest means, unmarried and living in a big city with shining lights. Call him Shyam.
Picture a person who is 17 -22 years old, just finished school or probably in the sophomore year at the university college in a big city with shining lights, but belongs to a Tier 2 or a Tier 3 town, and is dependent on the pocket money provided by the parents. Call her Shaina.
I can visualize the puzzled look on the faces of both Shyam and Shaina, when they see an advertisement about a particular band performing live at Blue Frog or a Hard Rock Café. Both of them want to be there but are either financially constrained, or being first timers are shy of being in a live music performance club. Probably Shyam and Shaina would have been more comfortable if they had already seen and appreciated the bands belting out one number after another, in these live music performance clubs.
Now, is there a business opportunity here???
According to me it makes a novel offering for subscribers of DTH Operators. DTH being a regulated business, the only differentiators are technology and content. Technology is not indigenous, and what is available to DTH Operator A from a foreign vendor, is also available to DTH Operator B from the same vendor. Speaking of content, the television channels are the same, whether I get them from Operator A or Operator B. To differentiate themselves, the operators are now focusing on extending Value Added / Active / Interactive services to their subscribers to increase their Average Revenue per User (ARPU). DTH value added services is a major thrust area for the operators if one goes by the TV campaigns which focus on value added services and interviews of the top honchos, available in the public domain.
Either as live broadcast feed or as pay per view, watching some of the best bands performing at these music performance clubs / cafes, in the comfort of my home, with the Dolby surround feature of the set top box provided by my DTH operator, is a visual delight.
Everyone is a winner, Subscriber’s aspirational and differentiated content needs are satisfied, Live Music Performance Club gets a revenue share for each pay per view, thus compensating for the content and production costs, it also take its artist management and promotion services to the new level, DTH Operator becomes the first one to offer this content followed by other me too’s, the Band, reaches out to far more people outside the club.   
Once the DTH technology matures and more reverse path (two way communication) applications emerge on the landscape, I can like the band, request a song, buy the album (Television Commerce or T-Commerce), the opportunities are just limited by imagination.
As always, I will request the readers of this post if you have time, please drop a line.

Thursday 14 July 2011

What’s behind the weaving of a film song in the storyboard of an advertisement? – Part 4

Being associated with the publishing and licensing division of a music label during my professional journey, I had the responsibility to drive revenues from non-physical sources (non CD, DVD, & Music Cassette sales) of content monetization, e.g. television, brands, advertising agencies etc. However, driving revenues through licensing of music tracks for synchronization into TV/Radio/Internet/OOH advertisements is a long winded road.
One, you should know your catalogue well and second you should have the idea on how your catalogue of music can help a brand, or does it go well with the brand positioning and messaging. You need to be both a sales person and a creative thinker rolled into one. No brand or agency will entertain you if you are unable to understand the brand and what it stands for.
When I say you should know the catalogue well, it includes your knowledge of the catalogue (including regional languages) and parts of the specific tracks. I remember, I used to listen to each song many times to internalize the music, lyrics, rhythm, kind of genre, mood, emotions invoked, and the product category that it complemented.
Consider the track ‘khairiyat hai..sab khairiyat hai…’. (Meaning – things are well), according to me the lyrics are well suited to personal care and pharma brands. Even the song video showed the lead actor and actress (who played the role of husband and wife) romancing on the beach (with their clothes on :-)) and overall the song had a good feel. So it makes sense to send out mails to brand/creative agencies present in the pharma/personal care category with proactive suggestions on how the song could be tied to the storyboard/brand ethos.
Knowing the catalogue is one part, and the second and the most important part is the communication of the catalogue to brand owners/creative agencies. The agencies / brands should be made aware of any new releases. While communicating to the agencies, one important consideration is the accounts being handled by them so as to highlight the parts of the album that complement the brands handled by these agencies.
However, I think that this activity should be more clinical and the agency/brand owners should be able to sample the catalogue with added meta data elements of mood, genre, and emotions inherent to the song. Usually meta data tends to be factual or quantitative (e.g. Album Name, Song Name, Duration, Singer, Composer etc.), but what I speak of are qualitative elements that’ll aid decision making and requirement matching from a creative perspective. It’s important to understand your audience and audience’s audience!
Just imagine, if I have a password protected website with a neat graphical user interface, where the brand owner/agency can navigate basis the filters of meta data and listen to the audio file/watch song video, chances are that one will have more deal closures. According to me the offline method of sending CDs with a note about the album is not very effective.
Unfortunately low volumes of revenue from synchronization deals don’t make a business case for music labels especially smaller ones to go the high touch and high tech route. But I assume that for music labels that have digitized their entire catalogue for digital sales to consumers, it is an incremental effort to enable a B2B portal.
Indians being music lovers and India being a country with millions of songs released till date by music labels of all sizes, it presents an opportunity for third party cloud service providers to digitize the libraries of existing labels, including the small players and enable a presentation layer for such labels to showcase to brand owners/creative agencies.
This post concludes 4 part series of what’s behind the weaving of a film song in the storyboard of an advertisement?
As always, I will request the readers of this post if you have time, please drop a line.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

What’s behind the weaving of a film song in the storyboard of an advertisement? – Part 3

FICCI Frames held every year in Mumbai, India during the last week of March, is the biggest convention of Media and Entertainment in South Asia, attracting speakers and delegates from across the globe in the domain of M&E. Apart from the opportunity to listen and network with some of the brightest and biggest minds in the Media and Entertainment space (not to mention sumptuous lunches and cocktails), my biggest takeaway from the event is the FICCI-KPMG Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report. Structured into different segments of Print, Radio, Television etc. it’s a must read for anyone related to the Media and Entertainment Industry in India.
Off late, I’ve tried to squeeze time to go through the latest report of 2011 (182 pages) and was naturally interested in the segment devoted to the music industry. It validates that the music industry is moving towards digital distribution of content and digital distribution overtaking physical (CD / Tapes) distribution of music. Split of revenues from different sources such as Physical, Digital, Radio &Television and Public Performance.
However what I expected to see from a detailed treatment of an Industry was how much the synchronization licenses contribute towards the kitty of a music label. Lack of detail on this aspect in the report could have been because of the accounting treatment of such revenues by the music label and how it is clubbed with other sources of revenues in the books of account.
For the readers of this post, I’ll try to provide some numbers that’ll help you to make some guestimates.
Typically a music label can charge anything from INR 50,000/- to INR 10,00,000/- for a synchronization license, depending upon the elements required by the advertising agency, such as media vehicles, campaign duration etc.
Depending upon the catalogue of the music label (catalogue equivalent to the album / titles / singles owned by the music label), the music label can strive to cut a bare minimum of four such deals in a year. Assuming that the average deal size is INR 2, 50,000/-, annual revenues on account of synchronization license can be INR 1 million. Assuming there are more than 200 music labels in India with  around 50 music labels having a good catalogue of over 100 titles, the cumulative revenues for each of the 50 music labels will be INR 1 million * 50 labels = 50 million = INR 0.05 billion. This is 10% of the public performance revenues earned by the music companies. As per FICCI KPMG Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2011, Public Performance contributed 0.5 billion to the kitty of the music companies in the year 2010.
However these two sources of revenue flow are not correlated, but yes in terms of profitability and overhead costs, synchronization license as a revenue source is a winner to me. Now if the question is, how the music companies increase revenues from the grant of synchronization license? Well this will be covered in one of my next post.
As always, I will request the readers of this post if you have time, please drop a line.

What’s behind the weaving of a film song in the storyboard of an advertisement? – Part 2

In my earlier post what’s behind the weaving of a film song in the storyboard of an advertisement?-I touched upon the consideration points of a Music Label for providing a quotation to the advertising agency to incorporate a film song in an advertisement.
In this post I will list few more factors that could affect the quote to an ad agency for movie song synchronization in an ad.
What if the creative ad agency wants to use only the music minus the lyrics of a song?
The agency may just want to use the music and overlay it with its own lyrics (as part of the advertisement story line). In this case the agency might require the unmixed sound track. A mixed track is the combination of multitude of recorded sounds and an unmixed track is the opposite of a mixed track. An unmixed track enables the advertising agency to play with elements like pitch, timbre, harmonics, loudness, and rhythm of the song to gel with the storyline of the advertisement. There can be innumerable instances where the ad film director will try to make a better use of the licensed song rather than use it as it is.
Unmixed track also means just the soundtrack minus the vocals a.k.a minus one track. In all probability the agency would require the unmixed or the minus one track. In case the music label is unable to provide the mixed / minus one track, it may mean one of the two:
·         The music label does not have the unmixed track, maybe it’s a song from the 70’s.
·         The music label may not have the publishing rights. In this case the agency will need to get in touch with the song publishers / composers. Publishers will grant the reproduction rights to the advertisement agency, provided they have it.
If the music label owns the publishing rights and doesn’t have the unmixed track, the advertising agency should negotiate accordingly to bring down the price quoted by the music label.
If the music label does not budge on the quoted price, perhaps the agency can look for additional sweeteners to be included in the deal, such as:
·         Autographed Song CDs, for its client.
·         Additional license duration, media vehicles, etc.

Sometimes this happens, for example in case of telecom operators, the telecom operator will request the synchronization right of a particular song to be provided free of cost. The reason cited by them is, ‘it helps the music label popularize the song, enabling greater download of the song as caller ring back tone, ringtone, song video etc. thus making up for the pro bono license’. Well it’s the discretion of the music label and how entrenched they are vis-à-vis their relationship with the telecom operator. There are no thumb rules in this case and the music label should abide by their corporate policies in this regard, provided they have one!
In case there are still questions in your mind that remain unanswered after going through this post, please write to me with your email id and I’ll try to give a satisfactory answer. As always, I will request the readers of this post if you have time, please drop a line.