Lavina Tauro of UTV Interactive on UTV's foray into music marketing in the South
Music forms an integral part of Indian films. The release of songs is an important marketing activity of the production house as it serves as pre-publicity for the film. On many occasions, the success of the songs translates into that of the film. Therefore, all music labels, in conjunction with the production house, ensure there is high decibel activity surrounding the release and marketing of an album.
Projected as the country's first integrated global media and entertainment company, UTV (UTV Software Communications or the UTV Group as it is known), has, over the years, expanded into five verticals — broadcasting, games content, motion pictures, interactive and TV content.
Of these, UTV Interactive is the digital arm of UTV formed in 2008 to carry forward the ideology of content creation for several platforms. The recently formed UTV Music is an integral part of this initiative.
Says Lavina Tauro, senior vice president, Voice & Music, UTV Interactive: “UTV Music will retain the music intellectual properties of all our ventures in the South and monetise on the rights. We will exploit the music to its maximum potential, either directly or by licensing the music rights for limited periods to other labels.”
There are several ways to ensure the music of a film reaches the widest possible audience while at the same time providing adequate returns to the original IP owner. Physical distribution is one of the traditional methods resorted to by a music label. UTV Music, though a label for all practical purposes, will not be involved in the physical distribution and will license the content to other labels for limited periods on a royalty basis.
Some of the other modes of getting the music across to the masses are through radio, mobile, Internet, ground licensing, advertising synchronisation and remixing. Lavina oversees all these operations while planning a major thrust into the south Indian market alongside the group's foray into Tamil and other language film production. “We started our operations with the Tamil film, ‘Muran.' But it is the music of ‘Vettai' that has taken our initiative to great heights. The ‘Papappa' song has stayed at the Number 1 position on the radio network, and has had more than half a million hits on YouTube. In four weeks, we have received 340 rotations across all radio stations in Chennai. We have registered more than half a million downloads on the mobile for the entire Vettai album.”
So, what are the advantages of this unique system of exploiting the soundtrack? “In most cases, we are the producers of the film and have a say in how the music is done, in conjunction with the director and the composer. While we shortlist the label to whom we would be licensing the songs for marketing, we will be in a position to synchronise its promotion and publicity along with that of the film, to ensure optimum mileage for the songs. This in turn will help the film,” explains Lavina. UTV will also ensure that the branding, co-branding, designs and positioning are of uniform quality, thereby ensuring the marketing label and retailer benefit from the publicity muscle.
While UTV has been successful with films such as “Deivathirumagal,” “Unnai Pol Oruvan” and “Vettai,” the group is poised to exploit both the film and the music of forthcoming projects such as Balaji Sakthivel's “Vazhakku Enn 18/9,” Prabhu Solomon's “Kumki,” Sundar C's “Masala Café,” Mysskin's “Mugamoodi” and A L Vijay's “Thaandavan.” A couple of Malayalam films are also on the anvil — B Unnikrishnan's “Grand Master” and Saji Surendran's “Husbands in Goa.” The thrust, which has started in the South, will eventually spread to other Indian languages.