Vuclip wows women with video…on the go

12 Jul,2012


Text and Video by Shruti Pushkarna


Mobile video portal Vuclip unveiled India’s first mobile video portal for women in New Delhi on July 11. The video portal for women, Mira!, is designed to appeal to the independent women of our times. Mira! draws content from around 30 content providers in India, as well as globally, to offer videos across a host of categories that interest women. The mobile portal will feature content relating to health, beauty, fashion, lifestyle, parenting, cookery, entertainment, astrology and much more.


Launching the portal at the Press Club of India in New Delhi, Chief Guest Prof Kiran Walia, Delhi NCT’s women development minister, said: “Mobile phones are emerging as an economical tool for accelerating mass-scale development of women. Studies show that the mobile phone has helped women feel safer, more independent and connected, and has opened new professional avenues and income sources for women. As India’s first mobile video channel for women, I hope that this initiative will help boost mobile adoption among women, and will encourage the creation of more women-oriented mobile content.”


Prof Kiran Walia, Delhi NCT’s women development minister, with a part of the the VuClip leadership team

Vuclip also unveiled the findings of its global survey in which almost 40,000 women users participated from 176 countries, including nearly 13,000 women from India. The survey found that besides voice and text, 60 per cent of Indian women respondents use their handsets as a primary source of entertainment. As many as 80 per cent of the respondents reported steady increase in time spent on mobile-viewing. Besides movies and music, Indian women also loved watching TV soaps, funny videos, sports, news and celeb gossip on their mobile. Women between 18 to 35 years comprised 65 per cent of the Indian respondents, while 24 per cent were under 18 years and another 11 per cent were over 36 years.


Commenting on the survey findings, Meera Chopra, Vice President-Advertising, Vuclip India, said: “Even as the adoption of mobile among women grows in India, it is encouraging to note that mobile is already becoming a woman’s preferred source for content. While 37 per cent women from India reported that they spend more than one hour daily on TV, print or radio media, a close 32 to per cent women reported that they spend over an hour to access mobile content every day.”


Vuclip’s Global Vice President-Marketing, Judith Coley, said: “In contrast to the developed countries, internet in the developing world is arriving on phones before traditional computers. About 59 per cent of internet users in India get online via mobile phones. We hope that Mira! will help spark a revolution in the way women’s mobile content is perceived – by content providers, brands, and women themselves. Cisco predicts that mobile video will increase 25-fold to account for over 70 per cent of total mobile data traffic between 2011 and 2016.”


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Speaking about the choice of the name for the portal, Ms Coley said, “Mira!’ in Latin is the root word for ‘wonderful’, while in Spanish, ‘Mira!’ means ‘look’. Mira! is also the name of a bright star. The Mira! Woman is busy, engaged, radiant and full of life. She wants to make the most of every moment, and when she takes a break, she turns to her mobile phone for entertainment, news and tips.”


MxMIndia also spoke to Salman Hussain, Vice President- BD & MD (India & Middle East), Vuclip. In his conversation with MxMIndia, Mr Hussain talks about the genesis of Mira!, Vuclip’s content partnerships, the road ahead and more.


Excerpts from the interview:


How did Vuclip decide to come up with a women mobile channel? And why ‘Mira!’?

Vuclip launched in India in 2008 and it’s a mobile video portal. We were trying to get people to watch the videos they wanted on their mobile phones and it’s primarily search-driven. What we saw happening over the past couple of years that we’ve been around was that there were a lot of topics that were being looked at which were women-oriented and that was the genesis for us to create a verticalized portal with women-oriented content on it. The precursor to that was a global survey we conducted, where about 40,000 women responded, out of which 13,000 were in India. We asked these women that if we set up something with the kind of content they are looking at, would that be of interest for you. So that was the genesis for it. And Mira, the name was an amalgamation of the different things it means in various languages.


Have you partnered with a content provider for all the content on the mobile video portal?

Absolutely. Vuclip in India works with almost 80 content partners. We work with the large movie production houses, someone like a UTV. Then we work with television channels like a NDTV. We also work with a lot of regional players, like MAA TV down in AP, we also work with quite a few local news channels as well.


So what about the content on Mira…

Mira sort of becomes a subset of what’s happening on Vuclip. If you look at the Mira portal, you will see there are various kinds of content available, like the traditional entertainment genre, there’s also news so somebody like an AP (Associated Press) becomes a partner for that.


If you could also share some mobile viewing trends in India indicated in the survey conducted by Vuclip.

Vuclip is doing more than 4 million video views a day in India. We have an audience of more than 10 million unique users that are coming on to Vuclip each month. To talk about the kind of categories that people are viewing, they range from the typical movie related content, astrology, cricket and so on. But that’s not the only thing people watch. For example, you’ll be surprised that one of the big things that people look at is animation and nursery rhymes.


Are you looking to launch any other channels apart from this women’s channel?

Yes, there is a huge roadmap we have in terms of content that’s coming up. It will cover all genres. So there’s sports, music, devotional, cricket, health. It’s always going to be an ongoing process.


Is this going to be an Instagram for video?

Not really, because Instagram looks more at user generated content. In this case, we are more search-oriented, where we are saying that there is some curated content that’s available. But I think we’ll sort of move towards that phase eventually because while it’s easier to do that for images, it’s a lot tougher to do the same for video. Right now there is a huge demand for watching video content. I think as the space evolves, since video is still very nascent in Indian market, we will see folks starting to generate more video content. And that’s when we will see a video for Instagram sort of thing happen.


Is Vuclip only for airing proprietary content? Or is it also into social video sharing?

You know social is a very large aspect of why Vuclip grew in the first place. So if I watched a video which I liked, the biggest advantage that Vuclip brought to the table was that I could just forward that very quickly via Facebook, or tweet it or sms it to my friend. So that virality is what helped us grow in India. An interesting stat I want to share, when Vuclip started, 65 per cent of views came from search. But in the last four years, more than 65 per cent views come from people sharing. And that’s been the trigger for our growth.


What are the infrastructural obstacles that something like Vuclip faced in being able to deliver bandwith-heavy content quickly? And what are the ways in which you worked around them?

That is our USP, that’s really what we brought to the table in the Indian context. We have our own proprietary technology, whereby we can take a video and in real time make it match the handset which is requesting for it. Today we support more than 5,000 different kinds of devices and that has been our biggest strength in India. We have grown with the growth of mobile internet in India. With the advent of 3G and 4G, I think it’s only going to help us grow in a much faster manner.


Will Vuclip be open to partnering with niche content producers to create subject or domain-specific content channels like this women’s channel?

Absolutely. We are seeing content providers in three categories right now. Someone like a UTV is a much more tech-savvy partner who knows internet and mobile, and already has curated content. So it’s easier for us to work with them. But if you look at more regional content players, that’s been our focus for the last one year. And as we talk to them, they have great aspiration in terms of going mobile but they don’t know how to. So we are working with them, educating them and trying to get them to edit and tag their clips. From our perspective, we are a great distribution partner for them.


Do you have to partner with each carrier?

Not for Vuclip itself because if you are able to go on to a rediff or a yahoo on your phone, you will be able to go to Vuclip, it’s an off-deck site. And it’s free to the consumers, so there’s no billing integration required. But we are aligned with all the major carriers in India and that’s because we believe that the more we get to know about the consumer, the better product we can offer. Similarly, it’s a two-way path for the carriers as well; we provide a lot of insight in terms of what the consumers are watching. We are also able to tailor the experience for individual carrier depending on the kind of networks they have and depending on the kind of regions their audience is in.


And how is it in terms of revenues?

We are looking at two revenue models. We are looking at advertising increasingly becoming a larger play for us. I think it’s still in the nascent stage. What we have also been able to establish in parallel is like a ‘freemium’ model, where we take a subset of the audience that comes to us and up sell them on some premium video content for which they explicitly pay, and we proactively push out that content to them on a daily basis.


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