Road to 2020: What the new year withholds for LIVE events industry?

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Swaroop Banerjee LIVE event industry

Swaroop Banerjee, COO & Business Head, Zee Live lists some pertinent trends for the Indian LIVE events industry that will be shaping the road to 2020.

Goa’s Vagator and Anjuna beaches in the late 80s, 90s and early 2000s saw innumerable events where DJs would spin electronic and trance beats and organizers, artists and tourists would get together to celebrate music and art. Come 2007, Percept, a then advertising and communications agency, decided to set foot on Candolim beach armed with the blueprints of what today is India’s most popular music festival – Sunburn.

Suddenly, the live IP industry in India jolted to life. There were already successful IPs like IIFA, the Jaipur Lit Fest and the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival during the time, but Sunburn awakened that whole lot of ticket-buying audiences that traveled the world over to attend music festivals and watch their favorite artiste live.

In just a little over a decade, independent promoters, boutique agencies, and multi-million dollar corporations have conceptualized, executed and invested in live IPs. According to FICCI and E&Y’s Indian media and entertainment 2019 report, even though live IPs still comprise only 1% of all organized events in the country, they provide for around 16% of the total revenue. Over 19 million tickets are purchased on Bookmyshow every month, around 20% of which are for live events.

As we enter the new decade, this industry that not so long ago jolted back to life is entering its teens. Globally, and here, we have observed certain trends emerge, that look like they’re here to stay.

Live Original Content

A recent survey conducted by Skift for The Science of Experience Design showed that 83% of the surveyed event professionals believe that Content is the key ingredient in building a successful live property. To engage an audience just isn’t to hold their attention but to hold their attention for a thoughtful purpose. All our IPs at Zee Live are curated keeping in mind the shelf life and relevance of the content that is generated out of it.

The phenomenon called Livestreaming

Up until not too long ago, it was considered counter-intuitive to live-stream one’s festival. It used to be all about the experience, which it still is, but live stream kicks in the FOMO. Which in turn, converts into a larger ticket pool for the festival in its forthcoming seasons.

A study shows that 63% of the people that consume an event through Livestream are more likely to purchase a ticket to an event similar in nature. What started with Felix Baumgartner’s Helium Jump for Red Bull is now a $10 billion dollar industry globally, with over 43% of all live-streamed content being entertainment.

While such kind of content consumed in India is still largely sport-centric, we have seen festivals like Sunburn, One Plus Music Festival and even some of our brands like Arth and Zee Educare, making its ways on Zee 5 and YouTube. With digital media growing at 41% CAGR, a little over three times the media and entertainment industry average of 13%, this content integration will be a game-changer for the live IP industry in the near future.

Mid-size cities will continue to make moves

We launched Supermoon to house all single day entertainment formats mid last year with Russell Peters, where we toured with him to the usual Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore. During this tour, we noticed that smaller cities did have pocket sizes as large as our metros and were extremely hungry for entertainment options.

A dipstick into these markets later, we brought Russell Peters back to the country a couple of months later and ran a house-full tour across Pune, Ahmedabad, and Hyderabad with him. Similarly, 8 out of the 11 cities we toured with Prateek Kuhad as a part of the Supermoon ft Prateek Kuhad Winter Tour were tier 2 cities including Surat, Jaipur, and Chandigarh. As a result of bettered infrastructure, the next 300 million middle-income consumers for most brands are expected to come from semi-urban areas.

Also read: Road to 2020: Content-driven Marketing for Senior Housing players

More live entertainment opportunities for children

With about 27% of India being under the age of 14, the opportunity to create live entertainment opportunities for children, apart from a handful of festivals and flea markets in the metros remains untouched. While the older sibling has over 30 festivals to pick from, options for the younger sibling are extremely limited. The Windmill Festival, BookMyShow’s Avenger showcase, and the latest, Jio Wonderland have been some steps towards filling this need gap, but genres like science, tech, gaming and education remain unexplored.

Encouraging inclusivity

Globally, festivals are becoming more and more diverse and inclusive. The women, the queer community, indigenous communities, are more represented than ever in live entertainment. Indian festival promoters too, are following the global model.

Vh1 Supersonic has always had bars that are exclusive to women. The last edition of NH7 Weekender claimed to be a safe space for sexual minorities – with members of the transgender community running sections of the festival to experts educating festival-goers about gender sensitivity.

Spoken Fest maintains to be a safe space for all by including storytellers and spoken word artists from across religious, caste, sexual and demographic identities in their programming. Zee Live is also contributing to the trend with an all-women gig soon to be announced, the largest one in the country in the league so far.

Sustainability is a non-option

We create small, temporary, purpose-built communities at each festival we produce. Without a doubt, we generate tons of waste, use up large quantities of energy and create extremely massive carbon footprints each time we do so. But that’s not to say that it’s impossible to rectify.

Multiple festivals across the country are taking zero waste extremely seriously. Some are getting creative with using renewable sources of energy. A few effective steps Zee Live has taken in the direction include a ban on all single-use plastic and replacing flex with fabric across all show decor.

This article piece is authored by Swaroop Banerjee, COO, ZEE LIVE.

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