TikTok Rival Lomotif expands business in India with Viacom18 partnership

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India’s expansion plans for short-form video platform Lomotif are well advanced through a partnership with billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s media conglomerate Viacom18.

The partnership kicks off with the 10-episode science reality series “The Inventor Challenge,” which is set to debut in April, with the option of a second season. The series is based on the Emmy-winning PBS series “Everyday Edisons,” a format developed by Edison Nation, a company now known as Vinco Ventures. It will air on Viacom18’s linear channels and the company’s Voot streaming service. “The Inventor Challenge” will then air on Lomotif. Budding scientists will be encouraged to upload their inventions to Lomotif ahead of the streaming show on the platform.

Another partnership is in the works with Asian streamer Starz’s Lionsgate Play for a reality format, the details of which are currently under wraps.

In 2021, Zash Global Media, backed by early TikTok investors Jaeson Ma and Ted Farnsworth — the American financier who sparked the meteoric rise of MoviePass, before its dramatic crash — agreed to acquire Lomotif, a video-sharing company. Singapore-based music videos. . The deal was coordinated with Zash Media’s reverse merger with NASDAQ-listed Vinco Ventures. The company’s pitch was that Zash-Vinco would become a pure social video company that could be compared to ByteDance-owned TikTok, NASDAQ-listed Bilibili, or Kuaishou, the direct competitor to TikTok’s sister operation. , Douyin, Mainland China.

Zash’s overall ecosystem has 100 million active users globally, according to Farnsworth, while Lomotif has 41 million active users in India.

Lomotif’s push in India comes amid a consolidation in the short video space after the government banned TikTok in 2020. In February, Times Internet’s MX TakaTak and ShareChat’s Moj announced a merger, creating the largest short video platform in the country. The combined TakaTak-Moj MX platform has 100 million creators and over 300 million monthly active users (MAUs).

Farnsworth described the investment in India as “millions of dollars”. Lomotif uses several approaches to grow its footprint in India, one of which is working with marketing company Social Kite, which has over 100,000 micro-influencers on its roster, to build brand awareness.

“It’s a tricky market, most people think they’re just going to go there, it’s billions of people, and it’s going to be easy, it’s going to be a home run,” Farnsworth said. Variety. “But it’s a tough market to break into.” Rather than going with big influencers, Lomotif opted to target the market community by community using micro-influencers and the tests worked well.

Another market approach is to leverage Zash Media’s IP on Lomotif.

“We’re taking a different approach where we blend the two universes, taking the linear TV that we own, reality TV, different movies that we own and creating content, but also allowing creators to create content from the material that we also have,” Farnsworth said. “So all of a sudden we’re giving creators their own material, which is fully licensed by us, allowing them to do things.”

In February, Vinco completed the acquisition of advertising technology company AdRizer. The focus is now on deploying AdRizer’s technology platform to monetize Lomotif’s content creation and streaming capabilities. A platform has been developed over the past year, with a beta expected in 90 days, where a portion of gross digital ad revenue will be used to pay content creators.

Another initiative that attracted Indians to Lomotif was the “You’ve Been Scouted” global talent hunt, which was won by Indian Yatin Kumar, who landed a $250,000 album deal. Kumar is in Africa, recording with Grammy-winning producer Teddy Riley, who has worked with Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Pharrell and BTS.

In October 2021, Lomotif hosted special guests Lil Nas X and The Kid Laroi at the Electronic Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. The performance was hashtagged Lomotif on TikTok and Instagram. Lil Nas X has attracted millions of views on TikTok for content tagged by Lomotif. “That’s how we disrupt and really look for different things that we approach on the marketing side, for different benefits,” Farnsworth said.

Lomotif deploys the same strategy with Indian short video platforms and sees it as a branding opportunity. “I see it a little differently. Everyone thinks you have to have everything on Lomotif, I don’t believe that,” Farnsworth said. “I believe you really want to meet the consumer where they are, whether that whether it’s Instagram, whether it’s Snapchat, whether it’s TikTok, whatever it is, and you go on all the platforms.”

Patrick Frater contributed to this report.

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