RadioandMusic
| 20 Nov 2019
Saavn giving opportunities to audio content creators; mulls partnering with radio
Vinod Bhat, Saavn

MUMBAI: Innovation is key, and without it, there is no way forward. This is why music service-Saavn, has made up its mind to go beyond music and invest more time into understanding the audio space in the country. The first step to this was the first edition of the ‘Audio On’ Summit which took place in Mumbai recently, to become the ‘Music+’ audio streaming platform.

Saavn co-founder and president, Vinodh Bhat said, “Through ‘Audio On’ Summit, we have started a discussion to go beyond music.” It does not stop at the Summit for Saavn, who has also bagged commentary rights for games played by Mumbai FC, which is first of its kind partnership in India for a streaming service that has always focussed on music. Through this, Saavn has set foot in sports and hopefully there can be more sports content.

The service has also partnered with blogger- Miss Malini, to carry audio content created by them during the course of ‘Bigg Boss Nau’. Bhat added, “There are many content producers in India and providing home to audio formats like commentaries on our platform is a natural fit. We are open about working with a number of existing content producers.”

After understanding the consumption pattern for original content, Saavn will make a move in the market. Bhat stated, “We have not done much in the content generation space, however, we would like to explore opportunities in the space.” The service is mulling over the innovation of three or four projects, and plans to give them a runway of around six months to understand the appetite of consumers. Following the success of these projects, Saavn will tap into its bank account and decide what it wants to invest in.

Bhat revealed that Saavn is also looking at collaborating with radio stations. “There is no discussion going on at this point in time.” He further added that radio stations can partner with Saavn and take this on-air show to digital platform and get traction across platforms. Through this plan, he added, “Both (Saavn and radio) will grow simultaneously.” He also stressed that “radio is under-represented and there are so many other restrictions in India as compared to the US,"

Over the years, Saavn has gone on to add over 18 million users and will continue to grow, going up to 25 million users soon. Apart from user growth, it has also grown in terms of investments and investors. The service has celebrity- Ranbir Kapoor, who has a share in the company, and also former Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin joining as investor and advisor for the company. In July this year, Saavn raised $100 million. If reports are to be believed, the company is valued at $400 million.

With a clear plan in mind, Bhat pointed out that Saavn is planning to further tap into Tier II and Tier III cities. However, the service is still getting traction from these regions in the country. He also added that after it surpasses 100 million users, Saavn plans to invest heavily in vernacular languages. “The reason is simple, the country is very complex,” he added.

Of late, the company has also been seen investing heavily in various proportional activities like partnering with festivals like Nh7 Weekender and Enchanted Valley Carnival, among others.