RadioandMusic
| 19 Nov 2017
Saregama MD Vikram Mehra on bringing it back to profitability

MUMBAI: Saregama India’s Q2 results witnessed an upward curve with113.40 per cent jump in its consolidated net profit at Rs 4.46 crore for the quarter that ended 30 September. A lot of factors have contributed to this number but to understand this better we at Radioandmusic connected with Saregama India managing director Vikram Mehra.

“The results are very positive our topline has grown by 76 per cent in the quarter in y-o-y basis and our profits have grown by more than double. Overall, we are comfortable that the changes that we are trying to bring in and the new initiative that we are rolling in the company are paying rich dividends,” said Mehra.  

He further added, “Our B2B revenue has grown 19 per cent y-o-y which is a very substantial chunk. All the initiative that has been carried in the last three years be it digitization of content, putting metadata in everything all of that is paying rich dividends.”

The recent product that made a huge contribution to Saregama’s Q2 results is Carvaan. This idea that germinated in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh (UP) on one of Mehra’s research trips lead to the birth of this successful product. “I remember roaming around the markets of UP in 2015 talking to customers along with my research agency. This is when an old lady in Kanpur said, ‘hamare zamane mein Vividh Bharti pe gaane aate the. Mein bethi rehti thi, hamare gharpe kaam hote raheta tha, aur gaana bajte rehta the’ (In our times Vividh Bharti used to play songs. I used to sit and listen to it and the work wouldn’t stop). That thought stayed and that kept playing and that’s the genesis of the concept Carvaan. It’s paying great dividends in terms of the income coming to the company, but more importantly, it is reintroducing the magic of that era of music,” stated the MD.

Saregama’s conventional to digital transformation of content too has a huge share here. “Each one of those 120,000 songs that we own, have been digitised. They are available on major OTT platforms. So, we have ensured that if you are a customer and you’ve liked a song of Mohammed Rafi. It doesn’t matter which platform you go to my song will be available there. All this is paying us very rich dividends. Topline and bottomline growth is there right now,” explained Mehra.

Most Indian music firms believe that the Indian customer does not want to pay for music, but Saregama. The music label firmly believes that if you offer value product and service, the customer will pay. “There is always a wrong perception that Indians don’t want to pay for anything. I vehemently disbelieve in that. The definition of value for an Indian customer will be different from a definition of worth for a western customer. But you provide the customer value and he/she is going to pay.”

He further added, “We are realising that with digitization initially, piracy became a huge problem. Now more and more people don’t want pirated content. We are getting all the content in a proper fashion on a Ganna, Saavn or Amazon. Why should I go back to pirated content? Carvaan is a good enough example. The content may be available in a pirated fashion but people are ready to pay because it is curated properly. The song quality is of very high fidelity.”

Saregama’s Q2 results also have a lot to do with their belief as a company. “Rather than being defensive that people are not going to pay for music Saregama’s entire company philosophy is bringing the right value to the customer. That’s all that the success is about,” ended Mehra.