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India is a virgin market for crowdsourcing and opportunities here are endless

Reliance
Entertainment Ltd., the flagship media and entertainment arm of India’s
Reliance Group, in October 2011, had made a strategic investment in
California-based creative crowdsourcing platform TalentHouse Inc and has formed
a joint venture, TalentHouse India. Arun Mehra was named to spearhead this
business as the CEO of the company.
Mehra’s
last stint was with Zapak as the ‘Chief Operating Officer’, which he co-founded

Reliance
Entertainment Ltd., the flagship media and entertainment arm of India’s
Reliance Group, in October 2011, had made a strategic investment in
California-based creative crowdsourcing platform TalentHouse Inc and has formed
a joint venture, TalentHouse India. Arun Mehra was named to spearhead this
business as the CEO of the company.
Mehra’s
last stint was with Zapak as the ‘Chief Operating Officer’, which he co-founded
in November 2005 as ‘Chief Marketing Officer’. Arun is an Entertainment
Industry veteran with over 18 years of experience, he started his career with
O&M and moved to MTV. Post MTV, he moved to Indiatimes.com, a Bennett and
Coleman Group. His next stint was with Shringar where he re-launched the Fame
multiplex brand. 
In an exclusive
conversation with AlooTechie, Arun Mehra discusses his plans of growing
TalentHouse platform in India.

What was the objective behind entering a JV with
TalentHouse Inc and launching TalentHouse in India?

Reliance’s credentials in the Indian film industry, where it
is the largest player in production, distribution and exhibition and its
significant alliances with a number of Hollywood studios was the reason for
entering in a JV with Reliance. TalentHouse leverages and democratises artists.
TalentHouse India was launched to connect up-and-coming, seasoned and
world-renowned artists through collaborative projects and provide these artists
a potential ‘shortcut’ for their career. These projects will give opportunities
to the creative community to gain recognition and increase their social reach
by connecting them with established artists, brands and industry icons.  

What do you expect
from the Indian market as compared to TalentHouse’s performance in other
markets?

Outperformance is what we are gunning for and are confident
of getting given we are operating in a space of over 1.2 billion people. We
believe every one of us has a creative streak in us. We’ve had a fantastic
launch with a band hunt to ‘Open for Metallica’ that ran for a week and got us
over 250 entries from across the length and breath of the country. The quality
of entries received for all Creative Invites till date have been outstanding and
nothing pleases us better than seeing great talent gaining recognition and
getting rewarded.

Are there are similar
models existing in India. How do you plan to face the completion?

We have a first-mover advantage in India. There are no holistic
models existing here that cater to the creative genres of film, music, fashion,
photography and art connecting filmmakers, photographers, musicians and artists
on various collaborative projects.

How are you promoting
the portal and reaching the TG?

We have a 12 member outreach team whose primary task is to
reach out to talent across the country and invite them to participate in the Creative
Invites thrown open on our website by mentors, brands and industry icons. Their
modus operandi includes on-ground as well as online initiatives for
communicating with artists and enabling participation. The platform is unique
because it is free for any creative artist who wants to come aboard and
showcase their work.

Talent in India
remains scattered in numerous rural areas where internet is still a rarity. How
do you plan to penetrate those areas?

Participation for any of our Creative Invites in India or
abroad is primarily online. However, given India has over 800 million mobile
subscribers and the recent availability of 3G, we are looking at developing a
mobile model to broaden our penetration scope. 

Here has been an
issue of over-supply of portfolios online. What is your take on this and how is
TalentHouse going to address this?

TalentHouse is committed to giving an equal chance to every
creative artist looking for a platform to showcase their work. We are a company
created by artists, for artists. We understand the amount of dedication that
goes into every submission. Our dedicated team therefore reviews all entries
(no matter how many are there) to shortlist exceptional submissions from the
rest.

What are your
partnership plans in India? What are TalentHouse’s India specific plans?

We have recently partnered with a host of mentors and hosts
from the Bollywood and brand space. Some of them are Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rocky
S, Rajeev Surti, ZOD!, Micromax, Opium, Elite, etc. And this is just the tip of
the iceberg.

What is the primary
revenue stream for the website? What are your revenue expectations from India?

Sponsorship is our primary stream of revenue. India is a
virgin market for crowdsourcing and the opportunities here are endless from
mentors as well as brands.

Are there any plans
of having paid profiles on TalentHouse?

Not thought of it currently.

What are your global
operation plans as of now?

As of now, we want to concentrate at India. We
already have other offices in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, New York and London. China
would be our next target.

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