Home » Interview Of The Week » Interview of the Week – Berges Y. Malu, Director, ShareChat

Interview of the Week – Berges Y. Malu, Director, ShareChat

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The Indian short video format app space has witnessed the entry of multiple new players and the race for gaining the maximum users is on at neck breaking speed. 

India has emerged as the fastest growing app market in the world with 19 billion apps downloaded in 2019, up from 6.55 billion in 2016, according to the State of Mobile 2020 report published by analytics and market intelligence firm App Annie.

In July 2020 social media app ShareChat launched its short -format video app Moj and has since gained over 80 million active monthly users. They recently tied up with pop sensation Ritviz for an exclusive short video format album. Moj has been regularly tying up with various artists and music labels. 

In our Interview of the Week, we speak to Berges Y. Malu, Director, ShareChat, to know more about Moj’s modus operandi, his vision for the short video format app market, the benefits to the artists, how can music content creators optimise their reach and more. 

The Indian market is flooded with short video format apps, what do you think makes Moj stand out? Is localisation the key?

Moj was designed to address the vacuum in the video content space. The focus was not just on building an App but building an ecosystem around it. We have recently partnered with SnapChat to bring Augmented Reality into our camera tech, added around 2 million licensed songs to our library, while millions of influencers have joined the platform to create amazing content. Along with all this we are up to times with new market trends. Localisation is essential as people do like to view a video in their local language but video content tends to blur the lines of language to a large extent. 

What helped us reach the number 1 spot in the Indian short video format market is the experience we possess through Share Chat which is part of the family of platforms we offer users, which has been in the content space for the last 4-5 years. The recommendation engine, user interface and the quality of the app has helped us grow very rapidly. 

How does an artist benefit by associating with Moj?

Short video format apps are a great discovery tool. With a 80 million strong user community, Moj is a great platform for artists and music industry to gain access to new listeners for their content. We have the largest amount of licensed content in India. Our music library is curated so a new song is highlighted. This helps the user community to discover new music. Also we have partnered with various music labels, from time to time, to promote their new releases. 

Moj’s associated with Ritviz for five 30-second clips that can be used exclusively by the Moj community. I think the number of artists who make content specifically for short video formats is going to increase. The future is bright so an international tie up can be in the pipelines. 

What has been the impact of this format on the Indian music industry?

The music labels are definitely very interested in short format video apps. The ability to reach such a vast audience which allows for discovery of their entire music library is a very interesting proposition for them.

Between music television channels and the emergence of short video format apps there was a dearth of mechanism to search and find new music. Earlier the user community s had to log into a streaming site and search for a song while now a new song is highlighted on the apps. So it’s a great way for the user communities to discover new music and also for music labels to get their new releases discovered. 

Optimisation is also an important factor. For optimising their reach, the creator community has to understand what works in the Indian context. A song that does well in the United States might not be successful in India. Creating app-specific exclusive content is also a great way to optimise the song’s reach as the  user communities tend to lean towards exclusive content more. Ritviz’s exclusive content on Moj did extremely well. 

Do you foresee artists shunning the longer format in the future?

I don’t think artists will shun the longer format but a lot of them are now creating User-Generated Content (UGC). It wouldn’t surprise me if the artists stick to the longer format but utilise User-Generated Content for it. An artist might create 2 videos, 1 for the longer format and other for short video format apps as it will give them a wider reach. 

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India is one of the fastest growing app markets in the world. How do you perceive the future for short format video apps?

Currently Moj is a 80 million strong user community while India has over 500 million people who use an internet-enabled mobile device. With faster connectivity the consumption of short video format apps is increasing on a daily basis. On an average a single user spends 35 minutes daily on Moj. 

The head-space for growth in India is immense due to the population. Even if half of the population accesses short video format apps, the number of users would be far more than the population of the United States. 

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