Virgin TV deal ups choices for diaspora


The new Desi app will include VOOT’s hit show
Feet Up with the Stars
The new Desi app will include VOOT’s hit show Feet Up with the Stars

by LAUREN CODLING

STREAMING platforms and cinematic experiences can co-exist, the CEO of a major Indian TV
network has said, as the company launched the UK’s first on-demand Asian TV apps pack earlier this year.

Sudhanshu Vats is the group CEO and managing director of Viacom 18. Since joining the network in 2012, Vats has seen its growth and progression.

In February, Virgin TV became the UK’s first Pay TV provider to add an on-demand library of
films and shows through two Asian entertainment apps. The Desi App Pack combined two of India’s biggest entertainment apps – Eros Now and Voot – on one platform, offering entertainment to the Indian diaspora.

VOOT is a digital video-on-demand streaming service from Viacom 18.

Sudhanshu Vats is the group CEO and managing director of Viacom 18

Despite the success of streaming networks, however, Vats does not believe the popularity
marks the end of the traditional cinema experience.

“India is an ‘and market’ not an ‘or market’,” he told Eastern Eye. “People consume content
across media for the experiences the platforms provide.

“Therefore, in the near to medium term I see traditional and streaming services co-existing as far as movies are concerned.”

Admitting he had expected the success of streaming platforms, Vats believes the entertainment forum has “empowered” customers by providing them with a wide variety of choices to satisfy their needs.

Now, around 77 per cent of Indians in India consume entertainment on their smartphones
via the internet.

By 2022, around 500m Indians will be online and 77 per cent of all mobile internet consumption will be video.

“Consumers are no longer tied down to traditional mediums,” Vats said. Right pricing, relevant content and apt user interface are rendering streaming platforms to be successful, he said,
and the arrival of video streamers with a refreshing content library is getting users excited.

It’s Not That Simple is another of the VOOT original shows available for viewers 

“The fact that streaming platforms would come to permeate the content distribution system was never a doubt,” he added.

Referring to the UK as a “priority market,” Vats hopes that Desi App Pack will open up a new horizon for audiences who reside in Britain.

“Our recent collaboration with Virgin TV’s Desi App Pack allows us to reach out to this
increasing diaspora with our vast content library,” he said. “It is important to curate the right kind of content and we believe with VOOT, we have just the right mix of Indian content that will appeal to the Indian and Asian diaspora in the UK.”

There are more than 35,000 hours of content for viewers to watch – available in more than 10 languages – including VOOT original films and series, such as Feet Up with the Stars.

The pack will also offer television shows that have already aired on TV, including reality shows like Big Boss and Khatron Ke Khiladi.