Bhushan Kumar, Chairman & MD, T-Series, talks about bringing Content Innovation, Amalgamations and Diversification as key drivers to attract the Millennials to the Brand!
Great content and good marketing are key drivers to maintain a No.1 position in the Music Business. – Bhushan Kumar
At the tender age of 19, Bhushan Kumar took over the reins of T-Series Empire after the untimely demise of his father Gulshan Kumar, taking it from there to becoming the global leader. Today, T-Series is fast becoming one of India’s leading film production house which has nearly 20 releases in 2019 and happens to be the biggest Music channel on YouTube with 93 Billion subscribers. T-series has gone from being just music company to becoming an entertainment conglomerate, with expansions into music production, movie production, movie acquisition to distribution and marketing.
Challenges and changes
Reminiscing the initial struggles of the game that he had to face Bhushan Kumar said, “I was studying in college when I had to take up a huge responsibility and do business. I had to solve many issues without much exposure to the business but with the help of my father’s blessings and his great team, we decided to fulfill his vision to make T- series a global music company. With his existing team members who still very much are the part of the company I just took over and we continued concentrating on music for films.”
Bhushan talked about the independent music scene and incorporating innovation to the existing catalog “We have a huge catalog already and my father has already explored a lot on every aspect of the devotional music. But this year we are collaborating with many international artists across genres be it Arabic, Sufi, English music. We are working on our own devotional music catalog with all kind of amalgamations to cater to the youth so they also indulge in our evergreen devotional catalog.”
Bhushan also spoke about the company’s focus on content diversification to attract the millennial’s, “Our target is to do 50 singles and content-driven films along with regional content from films to creating singles to Punjabi film songs. T-Series has nearly 20 releases this year all are content driven films ranging from comedy, biopics, thrillers, real-life stories, romantic commercial films, films based on incidents.”
Connecting to the audience through digital platforms
Acknowledging the growth in digital and social media content, T- series has licensed its music with Facebook and Instagram that will enable people to share the label’s music with their communities. Their main revenues come from digital platforms from all the streaming sites such as Gaana, Saavn, Jio Saavn, Hungama Music, Amazon Music, now there is Spotify.
Bhushan said, “The online platforms contribute anything between 50 to 60 per cent to our revenue. A big chunk comes from television, then from radio stations and a very limited number from public performances. We are expecting a robust growth this year and are confident of the content we are backing.”
Bhushan talked about the issues with copyrighted content on platforms like YouTube, “Whenever users upload copyrighted content, they lower the quality which ultimately results in the bad musical experience. YouTube has a content identification system in place which matches UGC content with copyright content owner and applies predefined policies on content.”
But Bhushan said they also also believe people adapting the songs as cover versions, dance videos, instrumental, remixes etc really support in building the reach of content. Especially in recent times, where dance covers are increasingly being consumed, such content can expand the reach among the audience.
On the topic of the net spent and budgets of advertising and marketing by T-Series, he said, “The budgets naturally go up during festive times or if there is a product that competition is launching which is also vying for the same space at the same time. Also, there are times when rates go up. For example, right now since the IPL is on, the rates are naturally higher for TV.”
He talked about how much work including the research and development goes to ensure a song reaches its target audience, “It depends from project to project, from song to song. We ensure every song gets the maximum push it deserves to reach its target audience. Every song is different and will require a different kind of marketing and outreach.”
“Today we are available 360 degrees in all the possible digital platforms in the world for music and films, plus we are making great content across many languages.” – Bhushan Kumar