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Why Sooperfly is making a strong case for its Asia ambition

Late last month India-headquartered The 120 Media Collective and UK-based Diagonal View joined forces to leverage the growing online video play in Asia. The proposition, Sooperfly, that will delve in digital video creation and distribution, was based not only on the growth that the online video market is witnessing in the region, but it also looks to contribute to this growth by unlocking the value for talent and publishers in the realm of video content creation, distribution and monetisation.

At present, Sooperfly is calling out all the right words – content/video, online including mobile, distribution, audience building, and its plans appear ambitious given that it is targeting to lock 200 partnerships in 2015 itself, and will take its offer across Asia that has some intense content markets such as India, China, Hong Kong amongst others. What works in its favour though is the experience of the two companies and the manner in which their expertise complement each other.

Of content discovery & distribution
Building online audiences is an area of expertise for Diagonal View. In a conversation with DMA, Matt Heiman, Founder, Diagonal View explained that the web had more than its share of under-discovered and under-loved content platforms. The idea behind Sooperfly was to bring in efficiencies and global best practices to not only create content that would eventually help marketers in connecting with consumers in contextually relevant and engaging ways but to also make incremental difference to existing online content players. “There is massive hardwork involved and for seven years, we have honed our practice to be able to produce digital content and build audience,” Mr Heiman explained.

Diagonal View is known for growth in subscribers, views and engagement time delivered to brands such as Sony Music, Comedy Central and CBS. Its own properties on YouTube such as AllTime10s and TheFootballDaily are examples of smart audience management.

Another aspect that encourages Sooperfly is the content distribution ability in the media landscape today. “Digital has allowed us to take content brands direct to audience,” stated Roopak Saluja, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, The 120 Media Collective, adding, “For Sooperfly too, while the initial manifestation will be on the likes of YouTube, we are essentially going to be a channel agnostic business with a holistic approach.”

Of leveraging partnerships & expertise
Where Diagonal View understands audience building, The 120 Media Collective has proved to be an expert in content creation that resonates with audiences in its thought, presentation and overall packaging. The challenge ahead includes ensuring content quality across the region, some of which is new to both companies. Mr Saluja explained here that India would be the market that Sooperfly will begin with but for other markets of interest, the joint venture would seek out, and enter only after identifying, strong local partners.

An interesting area that Sooperfly wants to make a difference in is working with existing brands and helping them in building audiences and in monetising, an area that continues to be a challenge for many online players. The duo explained that the key here was the management of professional channels, in a structured way. Mr Heiman cited the example of Olympics and Comedy Central, each of which has its content scale and duration, its own specific requirements and a role for marketing and sound practices, which when addressed grow the reach and longevity of the content. The platform looks to employ of some of this experience and customise the approach for different players depending on the need.

The digital-first DNA
Even as Sooperfly’s entire play is made for digital, one area that the company is not losing sight of is the mobile-first consumer. “India is a terrific market. Just from a sheer size, content richness and rate of growth viewpoint, it is a great starting place, and mobile is already mainstream here,” observed Mr Heiman.

Seconding the view, Mr Saluja added, “Everyone is looking at mobile. It is the true personal, lean-in device and of great importance to brands for the kind of audience engagement it provides. We even hired the lead for Sooperfly from a mobile company. We are very conscious about the role that devices are already playing in not just India but across the region. This is also on reason why we have designed ourselves to be platform agnostic.”

The company already understands the importance of differentiating the mobile, web and TV screens in its conversations with existing content players. One competitive advantage that Sooperfly has here is because of the nature of companies behind the JV, it has the ability to move quickly and embrace new trends rapidly. Sooperfly’s offer keeps the tech savvy consumer in mind, who has become both significant and difficult to connect for brands. In the process, the company looks to build a video network that will create, and help in discovery and monetisation of, high quality content.

Noor Fathima Warsia

A veteran journalist in the Indian marketing, media and advertising fraternity, Noor Fathima Warsia took on the role of Group Editor -– APAC for Digital Market Asia in May 2013. Noor has focussed on tracking trends and developments in the Indian media industry.