Netflix and boAt have teamed up to launch a ‘Stream Edition’ of audio devices. For the streaming platform, this is the first-ever partnership in the audio category.
According to Srivats TS, Vice President, Marketing, Netflix India, the partnership has a two-fold objective of enhancing user experience and generating interest for the brand in their one of the strongest performing APAC market, that is India.
For boAt, the partnership is a natural fit that taps into the huge demand that streaming services have created in the country post-Covid.
In an exclusive conversation with Storyboard18, Srivats and Aman Gupta, Co-founder and CMO, boAt, talk about the partnership and their plans for the market.
What is the Stream Edition and the genesis of it?
Aman Gupta: According to International Data Corporation reports, we are the second largest audio player globally after Apple, and Netflix is a market leader in its domain. This partnership is a very natural fit and we wanted to come together to launch something which was out of the box. The new limited edition noise cancelling range of True Wireless Earbuds, Headphones and a Wireless Neckband will enable users to enjoy Netflix’s vast catalog of films, series, documentaries, and reality shows on boAt’s immersive audio offering and we are very excited to see how this pans out for both the brands.
This is Netflix's first-ever partnership in the audio category, globally. Why did you decide to debut in India with this kind of a collaboration? How important is the market for you?
Srivats: We all know India is a dynamic, vibrant, culturally rich country, but it's also filled with noisy and chaotic environments. One of the goals that we always strive for is how do we bring and accelerate joy for our consumers. The way consumers consume our content is by watching great titles either on the television or on a mobile phone and a lot of those environments like I mentioned earlier tend to be a little noisy and a little chaotic. So what better way to give consumers a rich experience than watching great titles on Netflix along with an immersive audio experience that the stream edition provides with the launch of these three new products.
We have a two-fold objective with this partnership. One is to enhance the experience and secondly to generate interest.
When two brands come together, there's a certain level of interest, conversations and intrigue that's generated with consumers. There's a certain excitement that both the fans feel as well as newer members who are going to enter the ecosystem because of these conversations they are hearing from family and friends.
India is a critical market for us. It is in fact one of the strongest performing APAC markets for us.
It's a market that is rich with colour and stories and if we can figure out a way to generate more joy for our members, it's a perfect win-win for both Netflix and boAt and also both of our consumers.
While innovation is the key to the success of a product, sometimes after the initial mileage provided by novelty and quirkiness, the excitement around some products fizzles out. How has your experience been with the past special editions and how is this special edition going to be different from all your past collabs?
Aman: I am personally a Nike fan and if we pick up special editions they have, for instance the Nike-Jordan partnership. Its more than three decades old and it still has one of the hottest items in the sneaker space.
When partnerships are a natural fit, it works its way through. We’ve partnered with IPL but it was not a very natural and seamless integration. But this was an ideal partnership for both us and Netflix because Covid has changed our lives and streaming is such an important part of all our lives. This partnership made complete sense to both of us.
No brand can work by itself. If we look at Twitter today, if there is a campaign about a certain brand, a dozen other brands amplify it even if they are from non-related industries. So I think partnerships are the way to the future.
We’ve done DC and Marvel editions and we were sold out in the first week and we renewed our partnership for the third year. So I think it's just started. India was never a licensing and merchandising country. It is starting out. We are late to the show but we’ve taken off on a great note.
Netflix is known for going all out on campaigning their new initiatives. Tell us how you would promote this partnership and what are the other interesting campaigns coming up for the India market?
Srivats: We have launched a campaign called, ‘Made for India to Keep Watching’ which is a 360-degree campaign featuring boAt brand ambassadors, actor Kiara Advani, Indian cricketer Shreyas Iyer, fashion designer Masaba Gupta, and boAt Co-founder Aman Gupta himself. It's a very locally relevant dynamic and vibrant campaign that brings to light the colour and the richness in how India works and how India runs. It also does a beautiful job of bringing out the product benefits around immersive viewing experiences. We have influencer activations, you will see spots on TV, on digital platforms. Basically the campaign will be all over traditional media and digital. It is a campaign we are jointly excited about.
We just had a slew of great titles and great campaigns. We rolled out a host of campaigns around our new releases Monica, O My Darling, Darlings, Khakee: The Bihar Chapter. If we move to next year there are three titles we are super excited about. One is The Archies which is a really young, fun, vibrant title. Expect to see a massive campaign around that including some key partnerships etc. Then there will be Raj and DK Guns & Gulaabs. You can expect some fabulous action from the campaign perspective around that. Then one of our key markets is South and we have got a series - Rana Naidu coming up. We will be going big to promote that. These are all big titles that we are focused on from the marketing partnership. We are really looking at how to make the experience better for our audience, how to use partnerships, how to generate interest for the brand and we strongly believe that good content is the conversation starter for all of that.
Even after a double digit growth rate, the audio accessories market in India, especially in the consumer audio segment has a large untapped potential. How are you tapping into this demand? Are you looking at more such partnerships to boost growth?
Aman: I used to joke earlier saying A for apple and B for boAt and that’s actually come true if we see the latest reports. We are the clear number two after Apple. Have you ever dreamt that an Indian company will become globally the second largest audio brand? Even after this feat we believe we've not even scratched the surface. Demand in the country exceeds the supply at the moment. We’ve entered the smartwatch market and while we have three models as of now we’d love for it to become a thirty model line next year. We are doing everything we can to keep up with the demand. We have just acquired a company based out of Singapore, which is only doing wearable technologies for us.
We’ve also been super focused on online selling but we are seeing immense demand in the offline channels too. We’ve made some key hires to head our offline strategy dedicatedly. We are already in 4000 stores but we want to be in 10000 odd stores.
So when I am asked about global expansions, my answer is there is a lot to do but first we must do as much as we can to meet the demand here in India and we will do everything we can in terms of expansion, production and partnership to fulfil that demand.