'Future is about being boutique'-Subramanian Iyer CEO Believe Entertainment

By Ojasvi Kapoor
January 05, 2023
'Future is about being boutique'-Subramanian Iyer CEO Believe Entertainment

Subramanian Iyer, commonly known as Subu is CEO at Believe Entertainment. His previous venture Entco was acquired by Believe Digital in 2019. Subu has spent over 15 years in the experiential media & music business, including 7 years as sales head at a leading experiential company prior to founding Entco. He has turned the business into a multi-million dollar venture with offices across Mumbai, Delhi & Dubai & operations spread across India, Middle east & South-East Asia.

Believe Entertainment has recently been associated with No.1 Yaari Jam powered by Mc. Dowell's No.1 Soda who is hosting a multi city tour across Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh & Assam headlined by Farhan Akthar Live, Rapster Naezy the Baa, singer-songwriters Armaan Malik & Nikita Gandhi and the ever-soulful Papon with Taba Chake. 

Offering a multitude of services in the space of live shows, concerts, and artist performances, Believe Entertainment has been host to a lot of unique IPs like Managniyar Seduction, Ranthambore Music and Wildlife Festival, and have worked in collaboration with other artists like Ayushman Khurrana, Farhan Live, Sachin-Jigar, Rochak Kohli, Chavvi Sodhani, Rasika Shekar, Hardeep Grewal, Balraj Singh and many more in the past. 

In a freewheeling chat with,He talks about current situation of event and music business.

Tell us briefly about your journey so far and how did you happen to be associated with Believe in this tenure?

Believe acquired my company Entco in 2019. After the acquisition, the business was rebranded as Believe Entertainment and integrated into the system in India. I am currently on the India leadership team of Believe, building the non-digital business and supporting other business lines via strategic projects.

How do you perceive the shift of perception in events post pandemic?

There was no question that the events and live business will be back with a bang post a hiatus of 2 years. The question was when. While the industry has had a great FY-22, I feel FY-23 will be a defining year for the overall entertainment business in India and will see various models that will take shape which will redefine how this business operates in India.

Nowadays we are seeing a sudden rise in physical events, multi city tours with greater engagement and experience. With the fear of COVID coming back, what do you think will be the new strategy for events?

We will have to remain positive that Covid will not come back in the way it did in the previous years because unfortunately, there cannot be any strategy if it comes back in a big way. My sense is we must plan quarterly, keep clients, sponsors, partners appraised during the closure of projects, build in a cancellation fee wherever possible and importantly be ready for any eventuality. Having said that the industry has already seen the worst and faced this once in a 100-year situation very bravely and with all its might. There is only one way to go from here and that is ‘UP’.

What were your learning of 2022 on the business front?

Of course, business has been excellent because consumers and clients are spending and looking for entertainment, and we are right in the middle of it. For us, the last six months have been the busiest ever. Many lessons learned, but I'll list the three most important ones here:

  • Don't try to take all the business that comes your way just because you must cover for the past years of lost business. Servicing the client is going to be the key differentiator & hence it is important we over deliver on what we have in hand.
  • Plan your workforce well, else there will be a real issue of burnout & attrition.
  • This learning might be different for different companies. I think the future is about being boutique. Focus must be on mid to large scale projects that can drive better margins and importantly drive the right perception for the company. One of the ill of the business that we are in is whether you do a small project or a large-scale project the efforts are the same. You focus your energies on the projects that excite you, and importantly also make sense P&L wise.

With so much technology and now with metaverse how do you think we can make events more personalised and experiential for consumers in 2023?

My personal view on Metaverse is that it will take another 5 years to take shape & also generate revenue which is meaningful. The event industry has always been on the forefront of showcasing need-based technology and all enhancements in this space is further going to boost consumer experiences which is what we all strive for.

We heard that No.1 Yaari in association with Believe Entertainment is a multi-city tour to restrike the chords of friendship. Can you tell us more about this campaign?

No. 1 Yaari Jam is one of the most prestigious Music IPs of Brand McDowell. We won the project this year and it has been extremely exciting to work on the project. We have released a Music Video on Yaari which has already crossed 25 Mn views in 5 days and we are doing 5 large concerts & other engagement activities across the country. It has been exciting to see large crowds turning up for the concerts and the focus has been on taking the IP to the next level from a consumer experience perspective.

What is in line for Believe Entertainment in 2023? or what are your key goals for the next year?

At believe we always have tremendous opportunities that keep coming our way. In our mission to serve artists & labels the priority is always going to be to bring opportunities to them over & above the digital revenues & importantly offer this at scale. We have some aggressive plans for FY-23, and it is going to be an exciting year for Believe.

Believe acquires Indian events company | Complete Music Update

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