Bollywoodlife leapfrogs into leadership league

17 May,2012

By A Correspondent

 

Arvindra Singh Kanwal

Entertainment, perhaps, remains one of the most sought-after domains inIndiafor those seeking to venture out with an online enterprise of their own. Proof of its popularity could be gauged by the presence of umpteen number of Bollywood portals that have surfaced in recent years, and continue to hold fort despite the tough business environment plaguing the outside world.

 

Amongst the newer lot of entrepreneurs who have made a mark with their product offering is one-year-old entrant, bollywoodlife.com. The portal is part of India.com, founded by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited and Penske Media Corporation, USA with United Internet Germany. What is noticeable about bollywoodlife.com is that barely a few months since its launch, the portal went on to lead the category, overtaking some known leaders in the process.

 

Throwing light on the genesis and journey of the portal so far, Arvindra Singh Kanwal, CEO, India.com, said: “Bollywoodlife.com was launched in May 2011 and follows the theme and design of its very successful parent site Hollywoodlife.com, owned and operated by our JV Partner Penske Media Corporation. Barely a few months since we launched, around November 2011, the website started being ranked as the No 1 Indian movie property in entertainment on comScore ahead of an old established player like Bollywoodhungama.com. It’s been at the top since.”

 

Emphasising on the growth being registered since then, he said, “On comScore, we have been growing 3 per cent month-on-month, whereas other sites have been flat or negative. We are confident of accelerating this growth as we keep updating our offering.”

 

Adding on the journey, Mr Kanwal said that most sites at the time they launched were very movie review-oriented. “We focused on content around Bollywood and Southern movie lifestyle. At a time when most portals tend to be biased towards Bollywood or Southern-based content, we pride on offering an offering that is well balanced.”

 

The credit, according to Mr Kanwal, goes to Ramya Sarma, the editorial head of the portal who brought her own variety of conversational and photo-essay style essence to the product. “This approach has made it a leading destination to follow celebrity actors and entertainment news for style-minded men and women aged 18-35. Over time, we expect to see a spike in the women audience as the editorial style is tilted towards conversations they engage in,” he said.

 

On what makes his portal unique from the others in the space, Mr Kanwal said that bollywoodlife.com’s uniqueness lies in providing content that is original, showing breaking news in a conversational fashion and having a multimedia editorial approach.

 

“We also have transaction content sites in Auto, Education andMobilewhere we deliver news in English, Hindi, Marathi and Bengali. We rank No1 to 5 in every vertical category we represent. We expect our mobile offerings that are to be launched soon to take us closer to our vision of beingIndia’s premiere digital and mobile platform.”

 

Divulging on the reach, Mr Kanwal said that worldwide it reaches around 15 million users per month (as per Google Analytics). “InIndia, we reach 12 million users of which bollywoodlife.com reaches to 2 million users worldwide and 1.6 million users inIndia.”

 

On the growth strategy for india.com, Mr Kanwal said that, as a portal, India.com is barely 10 months old but is already ranked No 7 (March 2012, comScore) just behind in.com and AOL aggregate sites: “We have grown at a pace of 7 per cent month-on-month versus the market rate of 2 per cent. We are growing faster than all others. In fact in.com is in the negative zone and we should catch up soon going by our current pace.”

 

On the scope for online players catering to the M&E industry, Mr Kanwal said that currently, the digital entertainment market is not built for local original licensed content. “There are a lot of sites that offer aggregated, undifferentiated and unlicensed content e.g. songs.pk, torrentz and others and this is the reason that advertisers have stayed away from advertising on them. But the time spent in this category is growing versus other media options. Also, internet penetration is expected to grow from 5 to 30 per cent by 2015. So quality content, multiple multimedia formats, time spent and high reach will make us and others who invest in this segment very valuable media assets.”

 

According to Mr Kanwal, the plan going forward is to be seen as “a premier destination for users in every category that the company is present in.” This is what will make the company stand out and be counted as a “great” product, compared to the other good ones from the lot.

 

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