Online video streaming platform Dekkho is going aggressive with its partnerships with Zee Music Company, 9X Media's SpotboyE and OML. Launched in beta version in December, it has currently over 10,000 hours of content from around 80 digital channels with the likes of AIB, Miss Malini, East India Comedy, Culture Machine and Sony Music, among others. The advertisement-driven platform has worked directly with 20 brands such as Killer Jeans, Astral Pipes and Asian Paints. Its ‘window concept’ feature which allows it to exclusively premiere short-format content from major blockbuster films and popular international artists on its platform for a duration of 48 hours to 7 days, has worked in its favour. We spoke with founders Vinay Pillai (VP) and Tanay Desai (TD) on Dekkho’s USP, aggressive tie-ups, marketing strategy, funding, competition with YouTube, its target and future plans. Excerpts:
What’s your differentiation point?
VP: We play in two different spaces. We are a different video service from produced content perspective. Unlike Hotstar and Sony Liv, we are catering to the market of those creators who make high quality premium content and have a large fan base but not large enough to run their own OTT.
TD: Hotstar and Voot predominately have production driven content which takes anywhere between six to 12 months to produce. It’s 15 per cent of the production market. Independent creators like Miss Malini or AIB, take about 85 per cent. That’s the mass market Dekkho is catering to.
In that case are you competing with YouTube?
TD: To a certain extent, yes. This is because the content creators we speak to are also on YouTube. Having said that, the latter is an open-ended platform as they allow anybody to upload and consume video. Our entire differentiation is the curation aspect. We are never going to be an open ended platform. At the end of the day the brand stands for entertainment. That’s how we are different from YouTube.
How’s your revenue-sharing-model with content creators different from that of YouTube?
TD: The content creators have a certain level of guaranteed views and payouts. If they get a specific number of views they earn a guaranteed payout irrespective of whether we deliver ads. That way they feel secured on Dekkho as opposed to them relying on field and ad rates on other platforms. If you compare on a per view basis we give anywhere between 2x and 4x of YouTube on average. It depends on whether they are exclusive for two days or seven days.
Are you planning to experiment with original content?
TD: There are four shows in the pipeline, which will go on air in July, we are doing it with Multi-Channel Networks (MCN), music labels and brands (mostly FMCG, retail and accessory). They are branded content in the form of web-series, mainstream music video featuring a big artiste and a short-format video.
What kind of marketing has worked so far?
VP: We are not doing a lot of spend-related marketing. Content creator-related marketing has worked for us. When the content is exclusive with us for a week we run contests around it. The creators also promote on their social media like we do on ours. All the combined efforts of promoting a piece of content together have worked really for us. Whenever a new movie comes out we run campaigns, meet-and-greet competition, Facebook Live and Twitter contests. 35-40 per cent of views for all creators come in the first 72 hours on an average. We do premieres for over 50 per cent of our catalogue.
TD: We did that with Aamir Khan for the track launch of ‘Dhakkad’ from Dangal through Zee and Arjun Kanungo for his track through Sony Music. It was exclusive with us for five days. We have done marketing and interactions with Vidya Balan and Tapsee (Pannu) through Times.
What’s the target? When are you looking to break even?
TD: In the next 10 months we are targeting five million monthly active users. With regard to tie-ups the goal is to reach 200 channels in the next one year.
Breaking even depends on how soon we raise the next round and invest our capital on original content and operations. Unit wise we are profitable.
VP: We want to be the default destination for short format (between 3 and 20 minutes) premium content.
What’s the curation process?
VP: We have grown from 44 to 80 channels across genres. In three months we have grown twice in content creation. 50-60 creators apply on a weekly basis out of which we select two. The curation is done on the basis of quality and nature of content, Facebook and YouTube likes. Besides that we also reach out to top content creators whom we like.
When are you planning your next round of funding?
VP: When we are going to raise is derivative of how fast we grow. Depending on the growth maybe end of year. When the next round takes place we will focus on global. Currently content is accessible globally but marketing is more India-driven.
TD: Currently we have nine angel investors from financial institution, ex-telecom, ex-pharmacy professional and FMCG. The first round was for initial content licensing, technology, developing the whole product, team building and scaling up (in terms of partnership and views). We have achieved most of it.
Are you going to stick to AVOD?
TD: India is going to be Rs 20,000 crore digital ad market by 2020. Right now they are at Rs 8000 crore. So it’s a lucrative space to be in right now.
What are your future plans?
VP: We will roll out a recommendation feature in a month which is currently being tested. Lot of roll outs are happening in term of integration with a lot of partners. We are working with telecom players to figure out content synergies and distribution strategy.
TD: We will figure out larger format integration like Amazon Fire TV. We are still prioritising which devices to go on. We are now looking at Android TV app. We are working with large scale partners at a global level. We are speaking to Roku and Apple TV, amongst others.