Why Is ScoopWhoop Investing In Its Video Division - ScoopWhoop Talkies

Sattvik Mishra, CEO at ScoopWhoop talks about the new video division ScoopWhoop Talkies, Baked and The Chair web shows, and the focus on original videos

2015 is the year of video content, from brands to publishers every one is trying to get a hold of it. Either they are producing video content at their end or partnering with new age internet content creators to catch the attention of today’s millennials. Recently Vodafone promoted its Vodafone 3G ‘Speed is Good’ campaign by creating a co-branded content with YouTube channel Being Indian, very popular channel with millennials.

For 18-month-old Indian listicle site - ScoopWhoop (SW) which targets the millennials of the country, investing on original video content is the way forward. “I think any publisher who doesn’t invest in video lacks vision,” said Sattvik Mishra, CEO at ScoopWhoop.

To begin with SW, in association with Pechkas Pictures, published the first web episode of Baked last month. The seven-part original fiction web-series chronicles the misadventures of three Delhi University flatmates who decide to start their entrepreneurial journey - a midnight food delivery service.

What better time to have a web show on a theme like a ‘food startup’ when the entire Indian startup ecosystem has gone gung-ho about it. Almost every episode of the series has gained more than a lakh views and all this has happened with no media push, Sattvik informs.

Baked isn’t the only web show that SW is working on, The Chair is another monologue series where individuals confront their deepest darkest secrets. Launched earlier this month, it has published three episodes which are not cracking like Baked but taking their own time to spread among the millennials.

Due to the sensitivity of The Chair’s content, SW has carefully selected individuals who want to let go of their secrets while giving importance to their privacy. The selected individuals walk into office late at night when everyone is gone except the two video guys. They shoot through the night and leave early morning before the rest of the staff walks in. The latest 4-minute video talks about a guy who lives in constant fear of being arrested by a girl with whom he had had a relationship.

The investment in original video from the second quarter of 2015 is a well thought long-term vision which has given birth to ScoopWhoop Talkies - the video division of SW. “Last 18 months went into making ScoopWhoop.com, the next 18 months will go into developing ScoopWhoop Talkies (our video division). Baked is doing great, the comments under the videos are largely positive. We’ve clocked over 1m+ views combined without no media push.”

Building an exclusive video division is a must if you are reaching out to millennials say the experts. A recent report stated that millennials don’t buy ads anymore and they are sold to true stories. What better way to tell them via videos, we have already seen how last year BuzzFeed broke the internet with the Dear Kitten video series.

Is the focus on investing in original video content also to get rid of the Buzzfeed clone tag? Sattvik disagrees as he thinks that tags are given by less than .5 percent of total users. “We’ve never really cared about tags and names. Having said that yes we brought the BuzzFeed formats to India and that worked beautifully for us. What makes you say listicles aren’t original content? We’ve always done a mix of original content and curation.”

Over the last 18 months, the Delhi-based 80-member young publishing house received over 12 million monthly uniques making it India’s 119th most popular websites, according to Alexa. The quick growth has not only forced traditional publications to rethink their content strategy but at the same time SW sold 36.5% to Bharti SoftBank for $1.6 million (Rs.10 crore)

SW that considers itself part publication and part advertising agency wants to focus now on original content in the form of videos. “When we started the focus was on audience gathering and scaling ScoopWhoop. Now that we’ve done that, the focus is to build A+ original content in the form of videos or web experiences.”

In addition to entertainment, SW is aggressively investing into news with the roll out of a viral news and entertainment site in Hindi - Gazabpost. Vagabomb is another content portal from the house of SW that describes itself as “an amalgamation of contemporary writing for the urbane Indian woman. The quintessential 90’s child. The young, formidable fire of today’s India.”

“If you’re in the 16-25 demographic in India, we want to be the destination for news and entertainment,” Rishi Pratim Mukherjee, ScoopWhoop Media’s 31-year-old co-founder and chief operating officer, told Quartz. “The vision is to provide content to this new generation of online Indians.”

To get more eyeballs for its News division, the publication is producing quick videos on the day’s biggest news into quick consumable formats laced with its own style. The move is a rational one considering the fact that SW receives 75% of its traffic through its mobile site via social media. “We genuinely believe the 18-24 is interested in all kinds of news content and you’ll be seeing SW innovate in those areas both with content type and content format,” added Sattvik.

Going further SW is looking at both YouTube and Facebook as video distribution platforms. However it is investing in establishing itself as a major content creator on YouTube.

The aggressive investment in original video content isn’t hidden from brands who have been doing native content with SW. It is just a matter of time before SW repeats the model of BuzzFeed Videos with an Indian twist. “We are in the business of creating content solution for brands whether it be video, articles or microsites,” he summed up.