02 January 2016 07:55:39 IST

Digital entertainment firms tap budding filmmakers to drive video content

YuppTV, Muvizz.com and nexGTV offer online platform to expand content reach

The rise of digital video entertainment platforms such as YuppTV, Muvizz.com and nexGTV is giving an impetus to amateur and small-budget filmmakers in the country.

Until now small filmmakers had been struggling to find an outlet for their creativity but now backed by a healthy tranche of funds and increasing subscription revenue, digital content providers are encouraging filmmakers to create content and upload on their platforms.

For film-makers, this is turning out to be a boon as it provides an opportunity to monetise content and expand their reach without worrying about distributions costs. For digital content providers, it adds one more avenue for original content.

US-headquartered YuppTV introduced YuppTV Bazaar, a platform for premium video content across various genres such as education, short films, web series and trailers.

“YuppTV Bazaar will give a platform to independent video content creators to monetise and market their content. OTT is the future of the entertainment industry. We are one of the largest content providers and want to leverage our platform for creating additional content,” YuppTV founder and CEO Uday Reddy said.

YuppTV, which had raised Series A funding for the India market, said it will be closing its second round of funding to the tune of ₹300 crore by the first quarter of 2016. YuppTV globally has five million mobile app downloads and an audience base reaching over 400 million households. It has a presence in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Trinidad and Tabago.

Singapore-based Muvizz.com, a platform which offers filmmakers an opportunity to create content, is also looking at such opportunities. “Our aim is to provides them not just a platform to showcase their talent but also reach a wider audience through the digital platform,” Abayanand Singh, Founder, Muvizz.com, said.

YouTube space YouTube along with Subhash Ghai-owned film school Whistling Woods International has opened the first YouTube Space in the country targeting budding film makers. “We see growth coming from not just metros but also tier-2 and -3 cities. The headroom for growth from India is huge as net connectivity improves,” Ajay Vidyasagar, Regional Director, YouTube Partnerships, India and South East Asia, said.

nexGTV, a subscription-driven video entertainment mobile app, has partnered with acclaimed director Imtiaz Ali to launch a new project called ‘SPOTLight’. Under the project, entertainers will develop original short videos across a variety of genres including horror, satire, drama, social, poetry, comedy original music, fiction and reality. NexGTV will carry selected videos under the program ‘SPOTLight’ on its established ‘TV on mobile’ platform, which reaches out to millions of users.

Abhesh Verma, COO, nexGTV, said, “Spotlight means centre stage, and that is exactly what we are looking to offer those bitten by the creative bug. We are offering a unique chance to not just independent video content creators but to everybody to discover and showcase their talent.”

Pocket Aces, a digital entertainment company said, also helps film-makers create and distribute relevant content. Currently, the company creates two products: web series (seasonal format shows with 10-15 minute episodes) and shorts (3-5 minute satire, spoofs, and PSAs). Ashwin Suresh, one of the founders, Pocket Aces, said that the company uses data analytics extensively to create and analyse content, understand audiences, optimise distribution, and build community.

Short films Yet another digital platform Youshorts too is exploring the world of short films. Founded by Tushar Shinde, Youshorts is an online platform for showcasing short films across the globe.

Youshorts is providing a platform for short directors to showcase their product to audience. Film-makers can get genuine reviews about their product , and can engage themselves in conversation/discussion with interested people, the company said.

Industry watchers are, however, still divided over monetising such content. They said that the cost per thousand for online video is still low compared with television. Most people tracking the sector pointed that with the rising smartphone use and more consumers willing to pay for content, the space will eventually become bigger.