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Mobile empowers people break queues & forego travelling: Shankar Mahadevan

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Shankar Mahadevan

Shankar Mahadevan

Giving a whole new musical twist to mobile interactivity with consumers in India, popular musician Shankar Mahadevan, together with Hungama Digital, launched a digital talent hunt called MOBIsur. The musical talent hunt was conceptualised to reach out to the length and breadth of the country and, hence, the choice of mobile media. The growing popularity of the medium is evident in the fact that since the launch in July, MOBIsur has received over 4.5 lakh call-ins and more than six lakh entries on the website. Shankar Mahadevan talks to Pitch about integrating mobile media in his scheme of business and plans ahead. Excerpts…

Why digital and especially mobile as the choice for this initiative?
When I conceptualised this property with Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, the thought was to give every Indian an opportunity to participate in a unique contest to try and reach the pinnacle of musical genius. Music is a powerful medium that can come from the most unexpected places. This first of its kind initiative by ITC’s Vivel Face Wash and Hungama opens new doors to a diverse mix of talent across India. By using digital media to leverage the talent in the country, MOBISur has set a new benchmark for talent hunts.

What is the objective of the entire campaign?
The reach of internet and mobile technology in India has grown tremendously in the past few years. Therefore, through MOBISur our objective was to create a talent scouting engine leveraging the growing acceptance of digital platforms, a concept that hasn’t been explored in the past, to connect with a wide audience from the remotest areas of our country and encourage them to showcase their talent. This is purely a platform to scout for singing talent across India. The winner will get a chance to sing in an album composed by me and released by T Series and Hungama.

Is this platform a onetime initiative or to stay here for some time?
This will be an annual property.

Which digital tools are being used to promote the concept?
The hunt is to be carried out digitally in the true sense, with pan India auditions being conducted through mobile and internet. Participants have to dial 546465, record their voice on a unique IVR and send in their entries. Alternatively, they can also log onto the website www.mobi-sur.com and upload their video. To cover all digital mediums, a special entry area has been designed on Facebook.
The finale will be live streamed across various digital touch points.

How is it different from the other reality shows/talent hunts that happen on TV channels?
This hunt enables participation from anywhere in the country; all that a participant requires is a mobile phone or an Internet connection. It is truly unique as it empowers the participants to break the queue and forego travelling to the nearest city for an audition. They can audition right from the comfort of their homes.

In terms of cost effectiveness and reach, how is the digital medium proving more lucrative to you?
Currently we are witnessing a paradigm shift in terms of consumption of digital platforms i.e. usage of internet and mobile phones. Therefore, a proposition with internet and mobile elements at the core will cater to a larger audience with successful participation. With more and more talent shows mushrooming using two principle mediums, television and online; it’s the mobile platform through interactive voice response which will cut across all segments and regions of the country.

What has been the response so far? Which regions gave maximum response?
We have received overwhelming response on MOBI-Sur so far, so much that we had to extend the deadline by two more weeks. We have over 4,50,000 call-ins and more than 6,00,000 entries on the website.

What is your TG for this initiative?
Anyone and everyone who can sing can participate in MOBIsur.

Youth in smaller towns is very aspirational but somehow technology plays a spoiler as there might not be internet penetration there. So how are you tackling this kind of challenge?
Like, I said, the entry is not through internet only; anyone who can sing can dial in through a mobile phone on 546465 and participate to become the next singing icon of the nation.

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