Jaldi 5 with Martin da Costa: Time is perfect to roll out ticketed IPR events

14 Dec,2012

While the last two years have been rough for the Events & Experiential domain in India, it has been smooth sailing for 70EMG that has managed to beat the odds and register good growth. According to Martin da Costa, CEO, 70EMG, the growth has been possible due to its focus on IPR development and experiential investment.

Martin da Costa opens up to MxMIndia on what was the year 2012 like for his company and what is in store for 2013.


01. As 2012 draws to a close, how would you define the growth journey for Seventy EMG this year? Anything you were particularly proud of?

We’re looking at 15-20 percent growth over last year. Nowhere near the 50 percent plus levels we experienced up to 2010. The last two years have seen the Events & Experiential business largely flatline – a trend 70 EMG’s been able to beat through IPR development and experiential investment.


The development and launch of the India Bike Week Festival brand with Fox TV as a major new festival for India’s huge community of bikers and bike fans was a unique experience.


As for the business, it has performed more or less as expected. The IPR development business has exploded into action this year. We’re seeing a dramatic increase in paid experiential & entertainment activity.


02. What are your expectations from India Bike Week that’s scheduled for Feb 2013?

The biker profile today is wildly different from the late 90s. Harley-Davidson has changed the face of Indian leisure biking. The Superbikers, the Ducati dudes, the Japanese speed fans, and the Vintage bike collectors are growing at an incredible rate. And when you add in the 80 odd Bike Clubs that we’ve contacted so far, together with the astonishing fact that there’s over 30 bikes on the road per 1,000 Indians, that’s when the spectacular idea of a bikers festival hit us hard and you can agree that we have got something of a winner on our hands here.


Basically, IBW will be a ton of fun, and a festival which we think will grow and grow in India.


There are many elements to the weekend – a Vintage Bikes Concours, Superbike & Customization Stages, Stunt Arena, 3 Music Stages, great F&B, MMA Fight Stage, Open Gym, Cigar & Whiskey Club, a non-commercial Bike & Biker Flea Market, Speakers Corner, Biker Journey Cinema, Pimp My Bike & The Fixer Zone, Brand Exhibitor Zone, Men of Steel Parade & Ride of the Heavies (650CC plus bike parade through the center of IBW).


As for the plans of taking it forward, we are hoping to see an exponential increase over the next 3-5 years as the festival matures and develops. And in future there will be plans to extend the Bike Week concept to other Asian markets but not before the brand have been established over three years in the Indian market.


03. What are some of the hurdles that crop up while organizing large events in India?

Venues, infrastructure, government licenses, local licenses – all the usual culprits. However, they’re tempered somewhat by the fact that 70EMG has had over 15 years of experience in this field. That we’re perhaps the largest festival planners in the country (Goafest, IndiaFest, The Kala Ghoda Art Festival). And finally, that there are so many areas of entertainment and cultural experience that are still untapped for live, ticketed events.


04. How does the Events industry look like in India? Do you think the market is cluttered or is there scope for more growth?

It’s looking increasingly robust. Unsurprisingly, given its relative youth. There’s scope for growth in almost every field of the Indian event and experiential business I believe, and whilst in the short term margins will be squeezed, this year and next will be the perfect time to roll out ticketed IPR events and experiences that will then reap the advantages that the eventual upturn will create.


05. What is the current market share you occupy in India so far? What is the growth spike (in percentage) you hope to see for 2013?

We’re not in the game of assessing market share – we don’t compete on the btl activation business for example, and we’re very circumspect about both the business we do, and the clients we work with. We’re very firmly a Festival and Special Events business – with the accent being on large format, high-end, well produced, well planned execution. We’re certainly large enough to be placed in the country’s top ten experiential agencies – but it’s probably not a fair comparison given the limited type of high-end / large format events and brand experiential work we like to do, and the fact that most of the other nine agencies in the top 10 compete in the BTL & Activation space.


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