The Eight Network, a first of its kind audio streaming platform, is disrupting the way Indians consume audio content and engage with the artists, just the way they are currently doing on video platforms. Pegged as an ‘Open Interactive Social Radio Platform’, The Eight Network is co-founded by Mohit Paliwal (IIT Kharagpur), Yugal Tamang (Ex Amazon) and Mohit Goswami (IIT Kharagpur) and is driven through user-generated content. This enables anyone to become a broadcaster by creating their own station and inviting others to enjoy the live stream. In line with this objective, they have launched a virtual talent show ‘Unmute’ from 4th February – 6th February 2022 which will exclusively be hosted on The Eight App. This event is designed to provide a platform for upcoming Voice Artists across categories such as Storytelling, Poetry and Singing. Unmute is also India’s first Mobile only reality contest that offers participants the opportunity to win prizes up to Rs 1.5 lacs.
The Indian audio listenership has been growing steadily over the past few years, moving away from traditional radio to podcasts and on-demand OTT Audio streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple podcasts, Gaana etc. With a total of 600 Mn internet users, close to 250 Mn form the streaming Audio apps segment, making it a lucrative and fast expanding market. However, these OTT Audio platforms predominantly focus on creating individual, on-demand audio experiences that encourage private listening behaviour, neglecting the engagement gap between the artists and fellow listeners. Eight has been built to bridge this gap by providing a Social Radio experience. The app serves as a live streaming platform for audio creators and listeners, to engage in a fun and refreshing manner, while also exploring fresh content by independent content creators.
Speaking about the innovative format of the platform, Co-founder and CEO, Mr. Mohit Paliwal said, “Audio content consumption is on the rise because of ease of access, portability, deeper internet penetration and the ability to consume content in the background. Unlike other forms of engagement online, audio content doesn’t add to the growing problem of visual fatigue amongst consumers. While on-demand streaming was a step up from traditional radio, there was a need for a platform that allowed easy engagement between audio content creators and their audiences. We aspire to bridge that gap by building the ‘YouTube’ of audio entertainment through The Eight Network. Launched three months ago, we have grown organically with 2X growth in total minutes of content streamed on the platform. Last month, we saw 1 million minutes being streamed with close to 500 new stations being launched organically. Users are streaming content across categories such as poetry, sports discussions, podcasts, talk-shows, storytelling etc. with horror shows as one of the most popular genres on the platform. In the second quarter of 2022, we aim to reach 1 million listeners.”
The Eight Network is primarily targeted towards providing audio artists like singers, storytellers, poets, and even virtual DJ’s, a platform to showcase their voice and content in a very portable and hassle-free environment, helping them become Audio influencers/celebrities. Listeners, on the other hand, can tune in at any time and get access to original music or choose from the list of on-boarded artists, start a podcast themselves, voice out their opinions, or just simply share their thoughts. Currently, The Eight Network is the only UGC platform in the Audio space that is focussed on content creators and allows anyone with quality content or voice, to create a show on the platform.
Their three day Audio reality show, ‘Unmute’, India’s first, Mobile-only audio reality contest, is a step in the direction towards inviting and engaging with fresh and talented audio creators to come on board The Eight Network. ‘Unmute’, is designed to provide a stage for upcoming Voice Artists across categories such as Storytelling, Poetry and Singing and also gives an opportunity to the participants to win prizes worth Rs 1.5 lacs. Unmute starts from Feb 4- 6th Feb, 2022 and will serve as an opportunity for listeners to engage and interact with their favourite creators.