Interviews

MTV Beats’ Vikas Boni Talks About Interactive Content

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Vikas Boni has over a decade of experience in P&L Management, Programming, Business Planning, Content Acquisitions, Business Strategy, Music Programming, Budgeting, Partnerships, Talent Management and more. He is one of the key persons behind the launch and development of Viacom18’s first 24-hour music facing Indian brand – MTV Beats.

In less than a year, Vikas has lead a diverse range of business roles at MTV (which includes talent acquisition, music licensing, monetization, programming and content development). He has a huge hand in shows like Coke Studio@MTV, MTV Unplugged & all the flagship reality TV shows on MTV that have multiple seasons. He launched MTV INDIES followed by MTV BEATS, which has registered a 160% viewership growth since inception and is home to the runaway hit shows around Bollywood & Music. In an industry which has been constantly innovating, Vikas continues to drive growth through his passion and acumen.

We interacted with Vikas Boni, Head – MTV Beats, Business Planning & Content Partnerships, Youth, Music & English Entertainment, Viacom18, after his panel – Bring Music Alive Through Social Video Experiences – at Music Inc, to talk about MTV Beats and their collaborations.

In Picture: Biswamitra Ray, Nirali Kartik, Vikas Boni, Shreyas Srinivasan, Bindu Subramanian
  1. What was your take away from Music Inc 2.0?
    • As India’s largest music business marketplace, the second edition of Music 2.0 was instrumental in identifying and bridging the gap for the music industry to integrate with brands and evolving technology. The event was an initiative towards creating a global impact through the power of music. The biggest takeaway from Music Inc. 2.0 has been the need to unleash and discover music in its diverse forms and reach the music lovers through innovative formats of consumption and delivery, cross platforms.
  2. What do you think is the state and scope of music in the present scenario in India?
    • Through its vast changing landscapes, talent and technology have been the key handlers of the state and the scope of the music industry in India. The booming medium of television and internet gives artists the opportunity to connect with audiences across languages and cultures. With changing times, awareness of the increased consumption of streaming services enables the artists to determine and examine market visibility. The rapid increase in the revenue of streaming services has, in turn, led to a rise in smartphone penetration and low data rates. The ever-increasing subscriber base in the world of internet restores our faith on the scope of India’s music industry, which is evidently on the rise.
  3.  How do you think different industries/government can contribute to the music culture?  
    • Amidst the evolving pattern of data consumption, piracy continues to be an issue. While the Government has been a consistent supporter, there still is a strong need to crack down piracy. The need of the hour is to improve our efforts on the anti-piracy front and make the music culture flourish across the country.
  4. How do you think live music can be integrated into different sections of the industry?
    • As one of the world’s largest music markets, in the last 10 years, India has witnessed an emerging culture of live music, DJ’s, music festivals, along with increasingly independent and international touring artists that enjoy a significant fandom across the economic strata. The live music culture will take its own sweet time to penetrate within the smaller local audience subsets. Having said that, the change looks remarkably promising. Moreover, a lot of independent bands/musicians playing across locations these days are generating a positive response, especially from tier-II and tier-III cities. Hence, this widespread expansion is across different mediums of music and locations.
  5. What direction do you think the music industry is heading in, in the future?
    • With about 1.3 million music lovers, the value of music in India is expected to double by next year. A country that boasts of a history of cultural innovation driven by necessity, there is potential for further collaborations, emerging talents and stronger music-based properties on television and digital platforms. This will significantly have an impact on bridging the gap between the demand and supply of music. There will also be an exponential rise in vernacular music since the wave of internet nowadays can predominantly be seen from rural India. With the fine line between Bollywood and Non-Bollywood gradually diminishing, the independent form of music will be one of the drivers for the music industry.
  6. How is MTV BEATS  playing a role in pushing technological innovations and integration of interactive content in the music and broadcasting?
    • For India to become a global music hub, innovation plays a significant role. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and even Tik Tok have now become an extension of the musicians themselves, especially for most of the independent artists who use these mediums to share their piece of work for a widespread reach. Interestingly, music channels these days are promoting technological innovations, creating new content and music formats for emerging and established artists alike. With an intent to push the boundaries, MTV BEATS, the 24*7 Hindi music channel, promotes this innovation with artists through fun techniques and interactive shows such as Dil Beats, Swag On, and House Party. One of our recent properties, ‘Sound Date’ has been developed in collaboration with Facebook with some of the best artists from the industry like Darshan Raval, Ash King, Aastha Gill, etc. who get a chance to perform live and interact with their fans.
  7. How was the integration with Facebook and Vh1 conceptualized and what was the idea behind doing it?
    • Vh1 India and MTV Beats are the powerhouses of music and have known to stay ahead of the curve through specially curated formats and programming innovations. The intent of our integration with Facebook was to celebrate music and highlight the importance of World Music Day, across languages and countries. The channels came together to present India’s first-of-its-kind 24-hour online music festival. Through this incredible feat, the intent was to celebrate #LongLiveMusic, an emotion that brought together 40+ distinguished artists to perform live across different genres, on a Facebook Live. This clutter-breaking digital concept brought fans together to celebrate diverse music genres under one roof and turned out to be a grand success. The event garnered a reach of 28MN+ of which for the LIVE itself we garnered 10MN+ impressions, 7MN+ video views, and 3MN+ engagement.

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