By Meghna Sharma
Picture this: Your favourite artiste is performing live and you manage to get a few not-so-cheap tickets. You stand in a long queue hours before the gig starts, but all you get is a glimpse of your demigod. The experience isn’t satisfying and leaves you wanting for more. But no such worries will plague you at a webcert (web concert).
The Hungama website www.artistaloud. com – which launched webcerts last year – has tied up with Nokia for six WebCerts in Season 2. The property will be called Nokia SmartNights WebCert. The unique feature is that there will be a simultaneous videocast online (at www.artistaloud.com) as well as on mobile, via an application developed by Nokia for their smartphones.
The monthly series of webcerts will see well-known Indian artistes in action. The second season will start with Shankar Mahadevan. This will also be his first foray in the digital media space. “I’m really excited about it. I have performed in so many concerts, but this is going to be a unique one,” Mahadevan says.
The concert will not be performed for live audiences, but for those watching in the comfort of their homes or offices, or for those on the go, thereby taking digital media to another level. Viral Oza, marketing director, Nokia, believes that digital media is the future. “Digital media is still considered small by a few people. One must realise that with more and more subscribers coming online, it will only grow manifold. It’s an important medium and slowly, many companies are investing in it,” said Oza.
Neeraj Roy, managing director and CEO, Hungama, agrees. He adds, “When we did the first set of webcerts, it was driven by the fact that there is more and more video consumption happening online today. And there are shades of social media which impact it, as now people can share things in real time and even comment on them. We won a FEMMY for the most innovative mobile service globally, last
week for it. So, the next step for us is to take that learning to the next level. We want to do it in a bigger and better experience. And what’s a better way then to make it available in a person’s palm?”
Explaining the tie-up with Nokia, Roy says, “There is a beginning for everything. And, when you have a leader in the category taking an initiative on something like this, it only makes things easier. Nokia has had a history with music, OVI Store, so it makes sense for us to join hands and take it forward.”
Nokia has created an application that embeds a link that will take users directly to the WebCert. The application will be available on the Nokia OVI store in the next week before the concert goes live. And, with the advent of 3G and faster data speeds over mobile internet, consumers can explore a new level of interactivity and user experience. The application is free of cost and can be easily downloaded.
Explaining why a property like webcerts will do well, Roy says, “According to recent reports, the digital media will see an increase of around 500 million subscribers in the next few years. And by 2013, 90 per cent of the traffic on the internet will be videos. Webcerts give a person the chance to watch a performance not only live, but through achieved library as well.”
The concept has taken the music-listening experience to another level in India, providing the ultimate in private concert-viewing to the audience. An important idea behind this initiative is also to eradicate piracy from the digital music domain. Without any extra expenses on sponsors, it gives singers and performers a different platform to reach out to the widest audience possible, introducing to them the sheer magic of live music.
But what about the ‘high’ an artiste gets from a live audience? Says Mahadevan, who will perform his popular songs for webcerts, “A real artiste can get a high even if one person is listening to him/her. Every feeling is different. One cannot compare them.”
The WebCert property in Season 1 was a huge success and if one needs proof, then a look at the number of followers on social media sites – over two lakh – will explain it all.