India: Mobile Content Marketing With A Twist

Welcome to India, where we are reminded that the power of content marketing is not restricted to new media channels alone.

In rural India, power cuts are common, traditional media coverage (TV, radio, print) is as low as 20% and there is a severe lack of coverage in local languages. Mobile phone penetration, however, has seen explosive growth in recent years. To reach these media-dark villages, the large Indian consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever has been tapping into the power of mobile, old-school-style.

Kan Khajura Tesan is a local language radio station. Despite sounding like a pretty standard community radio initiative, there is an important difference: Kan Khajura Tesan is available on-demand via a mobile phone. Users call the station number, hang up and receive a free call back with 15 minutes of listening time. The content includes jokes, music, recipes, Bollywood news – and adverts for Unilever’s products, making this initiative completely advertiser funded. As a consequence, spontaneous awareness of the brands involved has shot up and the channel has registered eight million subscribers in just six months.

While the rest of the media industry slowly abandons the sinking ship that is advertiser-funding, Kan Khajura Tesan makes for an interesting exception to this downward trend.