Sony’s N.P. Singh on the state of broadcast industry in India

With a diverse population, keeping viewers from different walks of life hooked onto content is a challenge facing any brand in India. N.P Singh, CEO, Sony Pictures Networks views this as an opportunity to expand its sports offerings and deliver top notch content across multiple sports.

Ahead of his keynote at Sports Matters next week, we caught up with him to understand the challenges and opportunities broadcasters in the market face.

[Meet Singh and other global business leaders from the world of sports at All That Matters. It’s not too late to Register for All That Matters!  Book your tickets here or simply turn up to the Ritz on Monday to buy a pass.]

Branded: The challenge for any TV broadcaster today is to attract the younger audiences, especially at a time they are hooked on to online video platforms. How are you tackling this at Sony?

Singh: Recognizing that India is a young country, we started investing in digital rights for marquee sports events a few years ago. As a result, on our digital platform, SonyLIV, sports contributes to about 40-45% of the overall viewership. Some of the marquee sports for which we have digital media rights include India’s Tour of West indies, Sri Lanka and South Africa in cricket, European Qualifiers for FIFA 2018, LA Liga, Serie A, UEFA Champions league, 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup to name a few in football, WWE in wrestling, UFC in combat sports, ATP and Australian Open in tennis among others.

Branded: In a recent interview you said the future of sports is multi-sport. How challenging is it to achieve this in a market dominated by cricket?

Singh: India comprises of a young population and the millennial population is only growing. We have also witnessed a growing trend in sports viewership, where viewers are sampling other sports beyond cricket and this will only grow further. We envisaged and believed in certain properties, when nobody else did and today they have gone on to become India’s biggest sporting properties. Our corporate philosophy of Go-Beyond, encourages us to be brave, curious, insightful and visionary in everything we do. Hence we want to create an experience which is beyond cricket. Millennials form a major chunk of India’s population and today a viewer wants to see exclusive/ differed content. Therefore, we are investing in sports like football, wrestling, combat sports, basketball, mixed martial arts, etc. to name a few to attract these viewers and deliver a distinct experience.

Branded: As advertisers are moving more and more towards digital, how are you as a broadcaster ensuring the ad dollars for TV to keep flowing?

The ever-growing digital space does not really pose as a roadblock for us as broadcasters. Both mediums have their own revenue generating streams due to the distinction in their formats. One has to understand and appreciate these distinctions in order to use both, the digital and television platforms, effectively.

What are Singh’s views on India’s ever-evolving sports landscape? What is Sony’s plan for India going forward? Join us at Sports Matters to know all this and much more! Book your tickets here or simply turn up to the Ritz on Monday to buy a pass.
5 nights of music, 3 days of conference and one All That Matters experience!

With over 30 Keynotes already announced and more to come, there has never been a more valuable time to be part of Asia’s biggest entertainment event of the year! Join us at All That Matters to hear from and connect with key decision makers from the entertainment industry.

 

Merlin CEO on new ‘streams’ of digital music revenue

There has never been a better time to be an independent label in the music industry. While digital distribution is levelling the playing field, music rights agencies such as Merlin are ensuring indie artists get their dues in what is still a major-label dominated market.

In a recent interview, Merlin CEO Charles Caldas said: “We’ve moved independents from the back of the queue very much to front and centre in those businesses.” And soon after, in what was touted as a landmark day for independent music, Merlin announced its billionth dollar in distributions.

Ahead of his keynote at Music Matters, as part of All That Matters from 11-13 September here in Singapore, we caught up with Caldas to understand the impact of digital on indie labels and what this means for the future of indie artists as well as music rights agencies.

[Meet Caldas and other global music leaders including Cussion Pang, CEO, Tencent Music Entertainment Group; Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music, YouTube; Hartwig Masuch, CEO, BMG; Alex Zhu, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Musical.ly; Joshua Burke, Global Head of Music Sourcing, The Coca-Cola Company; Tom Windish, Senior Executive, Paradigm Talent Agency and many more at Music Matters. Book your seats here.]

“In the digital market, consumers are free to listen to, and discover music they would never had access to in the past. They don’t care what label an artist is signed to, they are looking for music that satisfies their individual tastes, and increasingly, that music is coming from independent labels,” Caldas said.

Since signing its first commercial partnership in September 2008 as a launch partner to Spotify, Merlin has now licensed more than 20 digital music services – including Deezer, Google Play, iHeartRadio, SoundCloud, YouTube Red, Pandora, Vevo and KKBOX.

Over the past five years, annual revenues paid to Merlin members have increased eightfold, while administration fees have dropped almost 80%.

The agency has firmly established itself as a market leader, enabling new-generation services to license – via a single global deal – the largest basket of rights outside of the three major labels, and to access music from the world’s most important, unique and successful artists.

New “streams” of revenue

According to Caldas, Merlin’s members are performing better in the streaming marketplace than they ever did in the physical market, and the smart digital services are realising that, and ensuring that they offer their consumers the best possible choice of music from all labels.

“This has turned the preconceived notions of where value comes from in the market on its head. In a few short years, we have gone from criticising services such as Myspace Music for launching without independent licenses, to services such as Spotify and Pandora ensuring they are in business with us and the majors concurrently,” he said.

The emergence and global growth of streaming services has created a truly global marketplace for Merlin’s labels regardless of where they are from, according to Caldas.

“Not only are we seeing labels from the West discovering significant new audiences in South America, Asia and Russia, we are equally seeing labels in South America and Asia finding audiences in the West,” he said.

While Merlin is only just starting to understand the impact of this global marketplace, Caldas strongly feels that for its labels, the streaming market is delivering revenues from previously untapped markets, and opening the market to new players in a way that is unprecedented in the music business.

What is Merin’s plans in Asia? What the growth markets for Merlin in the region? To know more, join the crucial conversations happening at our biggest-ever Music Matters 2017 presented by Tencent.

5 nights of music, 3 days of conference and one All That Matters experience!

With over 30 Keynotes already announced and more to come, there has never been a more valuable time to be part of Asia’s biggest entertainment event of the year! Join us at All That Matters to hear from and connect with key decision makers from the entertainment industry.

 

 

What will it take for brands to get serious about eSports?

Whether you’ve heard about eSports or not, the industry is set to generate revenues to the tune of $696 million and bring in $517 million in brand investment in 2017, according to Newzoo. With the global eSports audience predicted to reach  385 million in 2017 – comprising 191 million eSports enthusiasts and 194 million occasional viewers – the latest pillar of entertainment is here to stay.

Ahead of his keynote at All That Matters, Kevin Lin, COO of Twitch – the world’s leading social video platform and community for gamers – shares with us what it will take for eSports to reach its highest commercial potential.

[Meet him and other top global gaming leaders at Gaming Matters, part of All That Matters happening from 11-13 September at the Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore.]

Branded: Why is advertising yet to pick up for eSports? What’s the potential of eSports for brands?

Kevin: eSports is a new live spectator experience, one that is truly native to digital media. While endemic advertisers like Nvidia, Logitech, Corsair, Razer, Intel and others have been supporting eSports for nearly a decade, it’s natural for brands that are unfamiliar with the industry, to be cautious while investing in it on longer term basis.

Moreover, eSports is constantly evolving along with the advancements in technology and growth of the industry. This makes it difficult for brands to find a proper entry point, but eSports represents a rare combination of a highly desirable, hard-to-reach audience and authentic fanaticism and hope of an audience that want their passion to reach bigger and more global audiences.

“Non-endemic” brands like Coca-Cola have quickly but carefully entered the space, constantly evolving their marketing, establishing themselves as one of the early supporters of eSports. As both a fan and an industry professional, I offer up our learnings, as I know many in our industry would, to help brands embrace eSports in the best way possible.

Branded: eSports seems to be increasingly expanding to content – through films, TV, etc. How do you see the future of gaming and entertainment converging?

Kevin: The line has always been blurred. Games tell a story through an interactive format, but the characters and lore are as deep as they are in entertainment, whether written or visual. I see companies like Blizzard, who have historically woven amazing heroes and stories into their games, pushing the envelope by blending gameplay with beautiful cinematic experiences, as we’ve enjoyed throughout Overwatch’s development. Gaming has transcended the “interactive entertainment” category that it was previously narrowed into.

While this concept is not new, game companies are becoming better at combining their skills with technologies to convincingly deliver movie-quality experiences. With the numerous successes of comics in theaters, for example, I see this lines blurring further. Already, some of the most recognizable characters in the world are born from games – Mario, Sonic, Master Chief, Steve, Teemo and so on. Tack eSports on top, and I’d argue that there is no line at all.

Branded: What are the most and least promising areas of eSports?

Kevin: This is a tough question, as I see eSports as a truly green-field opportunity. I’d say nearly everything happening in eSports is promising, from thoughtfulness of game companies in their development of new competitive titles to the fervor of the eSports audiences. My primary concern is that with any nascent and fast-growing industry comes frothy speculation. eSports will grow, but it will take both historical knowledge and the openness of new thinking. I caution but encourage folks that are interested in investing in the space to do their due diligence, as every piece of the ecosystem is still in an early developmental phase.

Branded: Which are the high-potential markets for Twitch in Asia?

Kevin: South Korea has long been a hotbed for talented eSports professionals, with dominant players in many of the top eSports games. Thus, it’s no surprise that our audience loves tuning in to watch top Korean players streaming and sharing their thoughts and strategies.

Japan, a country that changed the way we play games and continues to innovate in ways that help connect cross-generational gamers, is an obvious market for Twitch as well, already being home to many of the top Fighting Game players. Taiwan is already one of our biggest countries, with approximately 25% of the population tuning into Twitch on a regular basis.

We are seeing more talent rise out Southeast Asia, with a healthy PCBang/LAN Cafe scene helping connect gamers around competitive passion. And of course, China is another source of both top games and top players, with heavy investments from China’s top companies helping to grow the industry both in China and worldwide.

How is Twitch diversifying to tackle competition? Where does it see real competition coming from? Hear Kevin answer all these questions at Gaming Matters on 13 September at the Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore, along with leaders from brands such as Ubisoft, Bandai Namco, ESL, Riot, 4:33 Korea, Gamevil, Intel and others.Book your tickets and join in the conversations shaping the industry globally.

5 nights of music, 3 days of conference and one All That Matters experience!

With over 30 Keynotes already announced and more to come, there has never been a more valuable time to be part of Asia’s biggest entertainment event of the year! Join us at All That Matters to hear from and connect with key decision makers from the entertainment industry.

 

How Heard Well is making music truly social

In just two years of its existence, Heard Well has revolutionised the way audiences discover emerging artists. Established in 2015, Heard Wellis an innovative music label which partners with social tastemakers and their communities to curate playlists of emerging artists.

Ahead of his keynote at Music Matters as part of All That Matters, we spoke to co-founder Jeremy Wineberg to understand how social  is driving what people listen to and what this means for a new type of label like Heard Well.

[Meet Wineberg and other global music leaders including Cussion Pang, CEO, Tencent Music Entertainment Group; Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music, YouTube; Hartwig Masuch, CEO, BMG; Alex Zhu, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Musical.ly; Joshua Burke, Global Head of Music Sourcing, The Coca-Cola Company; Tom Windish, Senior Executive, Paradigm Talent Agency and many more at Music Matters. Book your seats here.]

“We have created a unique bond that brings together fans and music in a way that is new and unique. Our creators curate their playlists with music they discover and then we license it for their fans to experience.” Wineberg said.

“We work with creators that love music and are passionate about finding new emerging artists that they want to promote on their platforms. It’s a very authentic relationship,” he added.

Most recently, Heard Well partnered with Sony/ATV Music Publishing as part of which Sony/ATV will sign emerging artists who have built a following through Heard Well as well as provide a pathway for Sony/ATV’s own songwriters via compilation albums released through the label.

Over the past two years Heard Well has released over 20 compilations that have all charted on the Billboard and iTunes Top 10 charts in specific genre categories – a majority of those releases went to #1.

“These compilations were all curated by our influencers and included music from dozens of artists that went off to sign with major labels. Observing this pattern, we began to position ourselves as more than a licensing business for compilations and actually enter the original space for signing artists and publishing to Heard Well,” Wineberg said.

As part of this new deal, Heard Well will now be able to sign originals and tell a complete story from introducing an artist on a compilation to supporting and signing them to Heard Well. “Our bet is that by combining the strengths of digital and influencer with Sony’s institutional resources and relationships, we’ll be able to break artists in a wholly new way,” he added. Its distributor, The Orchard, is already part of the Sony family.

Asia a key focus for Heard Well

The company is seeing unprecedented levels of success in Asia as well. Most recently, Heard Well topped iTunes Charts across Asia through Filipino YouTube Stars Ranz & Niana, which Wineberg says was a big moment for the company.

“Western-based music companies work tirelessly to find ways to introduce their new artists to foreign markets. Using the power of our social creators, we have taken a compilation of twelve tracks we love, and added the fuel to bring these records to the top of the charts across Malaysia, Thailand, The Philippines, and Indonesia overnight,” he said.

“There is huge potential here to grow our business outside of the United States. It’s just about pairing music with big influencers in those specific territories like we did with Ranz and Niana. I see us building a healthy business in Asia,” he added.

Does this undermine the role of traditional A&R execs then? What’s Wineberg’s view on social tastemakers versus A&Rs? How will Heard Well continue to disrupt the industry as the social media landscape evolves? Join all the crucial conversations around the music industry’s future, growth and innovation at our biggest-everMusic Matters 2017 presented by Tencent.

5 nights of music, 3 days of conference and one All That Matters experience!

With over 30 Keynotes already announced and more to come, there has never been a more valuable time to be part of Asia’s biggest entertainment event of the year! Join us at All That Matters to hear from and connect with key decision makers from the entertainment industry.