Mansi Jain: ‘Roposo plans to groom the top 1,000 live commerce creators in the country’

Roposo – launched in 2014, and acquired by Glance, a subsidiary of InMobi – has been on an upward swing for the last few months. Recalibrated from a short form content app since its inception, Roposo was launched as India’s first digital destination for ‘creator-led, live entertainment commerce’ in October 2021.

With monthly active users amounting to 30 million, the app’s parent company, Glance recently received an impressive shot in the arm worth a reported $200 million from Jio Platforms. This, as per the SoftBank-backed InMobi’s co-founder and CEO Naveen Tewari, will help achieve synergy between the company’s offerings. Furthermore, Tewari revealed plans to reach one billion users in the next couple of years through partnerships and overseas expansions.

Music Plus has an exclusive chat with Vice President and General Manager of Roposo, Mansi Jain to understand the pivoting of short form video and the future of social commerce. Jain heads the overall live entertainment and commerce business across Roposo and Glance, leading the strategy and overseeing the business development.

What has Roposo’s journey been like competing in a space that’s crowded with homegrown players?

The journey so far has been quite interesting. Like most players, we saw growth in short-form video content during the pandemic and post the Tik Tok ban in the country. However, we were ahead of the curve in realising the opportunity for live entertainment and commerce in the Indian market which led us to evolve from the short video format to be a creator-led live entertainment commerce platform.

Our vision was to enable consumers to shop for top-notch products in real-time with some of their most loved creators while taking part in entertaining, contemporary pop culture, within a LIVE, ‘virtual mall’ environment. For example, through Roposo, brands are able to connect with GenZ or ‘Gen Now’ as we like to call it and leverage the skills of hundreds of top creators who are not just great sellers but are also great entertainers. Within a host of homegrown short video players in the country, we stand out for bringing together live commerce and live entertainment.

Via Roposo, artists also get a stage on Glance, the lock screen content platform with over 163 million active users in India, giving them the potential to reach millions in real-time. They can also get the opportunity to further monetize their expertise through paid masterclasses, ticketed live events, and commerce.

Consumers in India are just starting to experience LIVE entertainment and commerce. While it is still early days, the initial response to LIVE has been encouraging.

Recently, the Indian Music Industry (IMI) said that the country’s music ecosystem has been losing money due to unauthorised music on SFV apps. Roposo and others have taken a step towards regulating this issue. How will content creators benefit from such partnerships?

Roposo has around 30 million active monthly users and we are committed to our creator community. All our creators enjoy massive scale and reach across both Roposo and Glance platforms along with great monetisation opportunities. However, it is imperative that their interests are safeguarded while they showcase their talent to millions, be it through live entertainment. While we have partnerships in place with various music labels, we have also ensured that artists and creators are both well protected through our partnerships such as IPRS providing publishing and performing rights.  These steps ensure that our creator community has a plethora of options when it comes to music and there are no constraints to their creativity.

There are various kinds of rights required for video content creation. These need to be sought from an industry body like IPRS in addition to music label partnerships. The partnership with IPRS is meant to safeguard and promote the interests of artists and creators. We get publishing/performing rights for distribution of the IPRS music repertoire on Roposo which benefits our entire creator community. And in return, the songwriters and composers who are members of IPRS would not only be able to potentially get their music out to millions of our users, but also receive royalties from the distribution of their repertoire on Roposo.

Is there a focus on the genre or category of music that Roposo is interested in?

We are building Roposo to be the number one destination for LIVE entertainment and commerce – music plays a major part of pop culture and hence Roposo as well. As mentioned, we have partnerships in place with various music labels and IPRS, which allows our creators to use music across different genres that would connect with a GenZ audience like Bollywood, independent music, indie pop, hip-hop amongst others. 

One of our ongoing efforts is also to identify different genres, artists and subcultures that will help niche music segments explore new avenues and monetise their work. We aim to encourage original and upcoming talent by providing them with a platform that potentially reaches millions of people and helps increase their fanbase.

For instance, in December last year, we became the live entertainment commerce partners for Musicathon – a two-day music festival that took place in Bir, Himachal Pradesh where prominent indie musicians such as Rahgir performed.

Recently, we partnered with Rawdust to present the second edition of India’s biggest beatboxing competition The Battle of Beatboxers 2.0, which was judged by beatboxers D-Cypher, BeatRaw, and Dilip Sakhrani. The shortlisted 32 beatboxers became a part of the growing Roposo creator community, while the winners of the competition received unique partnership opportunities with Roposo.

We have built properties like StarTrack and Indie Rhythm to take the artists LIVE on Roposo, interacting and engaging with their audience directly. Till date, we have had leading music artists like Hardy Sandhu, Ash King, Akriti Kakar, Sona Mohapatra, amongst many others and popular bands like Euphoria and The Yellow Diary on the platform doing live shows. Artists like Ed Sheeran and Coldplay have also associated with Roposo in the past for their song promotions.

Roposo is becoming a launch platform for the music fraternity, both independent artists and music labels, to promote their new releases. In the last 2 months alone, we have promoted releases for 17 music partners including international artists like HRVY.

Can you tell us a little bit about the state of social and live commerce in India currently?

The live commerce format has seen massive success in markets like China and US. It is nascent in India and SEA but gathering steam.

As India witnesses innovative ways to shop, we expect live commerce to become a big part of e-commerce in the future and India to become the next big hub for live commerce. Live commerce depends heavily on the creator economy as it relies on creators and influencers to drive the buying decisions of consumers. We are very excited to be one of the first major players in the market.

How much value can social and live commerce add?  

Live commerce has the potential to become the predominant revenue stream for SFV apps and could even surpass advertising in the near future. This trend has been observed in other geographies where transactions including both physical and virtual goods have become a bigger contributor than advertising.

What can we look forward to in the creator-led, live entertainment commerce space?

Some emerging trends we have noticed are an increased focus on creating LIVE, real-time, entertaining and interactive experiences for consumers, and leveraging direct-to-consumer brands to drive creator commerce. Enabling consumers to discover the content they love through AI will continue on the tech front.

What has Roposo got in the works at the moment?

For us, 2021 was about laying the groundwork, creating the right user experience, finding the right creators, grooming them, etc. We are striving to be the platform of choice for live entertainment commerce – for users and creators both. We expect many more collaborations on the entertainment front and more artists and music creators on the platform as we move forward. We also plan to help groom the top 1,000 live commerce creators in the country enabling them to establish their own identity firmly in this rapidly evolving space.

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