Building a profitable OTT company with over 40 million active users, ShabirMomin, MD & CTO at ZengaTV.com, has come a long way. His hands are already full with OneDigital Entertainment, OneAxcess.com (where he holds the same designation as ZengaTV) and Desiredwings.com. Another successful network, One Digital Entertainment, since its inception in 2012, has amassed over 1,900 content creators and partners with over 20 billion minutes of content watched on YouTube. Momin gets talking about Zenga TV’s growth and content strategy, competition in the OTT space, its latest venture OneAxcess and what it holds for One Digital Entertainment with Facebook’s entry in the video content market.
When it comes to your OTT video streaming platform Zenga TV, how hasthe content strategy evolved over the years?
We started with IPL in 2009, when for the first time, a big sports event like IPL was broadcasted in real time to end users on mobile phones (including feature phones with 2.5G network.)In those days, we were just a mobile TV service, eventually moving on to capture all screens and become omnipresent.
Our focus has always been our consumers. Thus, we not only evolved the technology but also the content categories through understanding user behaviour and pattern. We have been using a different matrix to choose the content type and categories. Our capability to stream better quality on lower bandwidth has been our key to success. The reason being, we would proportionately always be cheap on data and make more content available to the user with same amount of money spent.
What’s your growth strategy?
Our biggest reason for growth and success has been free service yet giving premium service. As a result, we went from just a few hundred users to over 40 million users globally. We have a good repeat userbase and the freedom from registration, fees and downloading of app(as a must), has been a great hit with the users.
What's the customer acquisition and retention strategy for Zenga TV?
Our biggest customer acquisition is done by word of mouth, while our marketing has been silent yet targeted to the relevant user base. This has given us great dividends.
What do you have to say about the increasing competition in the OTT space?
Competition is always healthy. It not only shows we are in the right space but also distributes the burden of creating awareness in the market which only helps to grow the market.
Last year, you were aiming to enter Spain, Germany and other parts of Europe and Asia. How has that worked out for you?
The growth strategy forthe international market is playing out great. We have presence through not only content partners but also a large user base from those markets. Yes, we did want to raise some investment during that time but I think the market was not right and didn’t fit into our plan. Since we are self-sustained and profitable, our growth strategy works either way, with or without an investment.
What are your plans for Zenga TV in 2017?
Growth and more growth is always the plan. How and what does it take to achieve the same is what keeps changing. We are launching some new features and expanding our reach through multiple new platforms. There will soon be a one-of-its kind launch that willchange the way people consume content. Some new tech will be launched soon that will improve the user experience. The latter is a constant effort and commitment to our users.
Tell us about OneAxcess. How are you monetising it?
OneAxcess.com is our latest in the video space, which enables small or big creators join and self-serve to grow faster without having to wait for someone to give them a break. This is an era of democratisation of creators globally and OneAxcess helps accelerate the same. We have over 3500 partners on board and not only do they get to create better with tools like edit online, they also get to distribute to multiple platforms and garner collective benefits from all without having to worry about tech, cost and relationship building.
The best part with this platform is that the creator doesn’t have to give away the content license but have full control on the distribution and management.
How have things improved overall in this space?
What are the infrastructure challenges that continue to persist? What can be done to overcome those?
There are and will always be challenges in terms of patches that don’t have good connectivity. Sometimes, content owners have unrealistic expectations but it’s just about time before it gets reduced.
Everyone involved in this lifecycle is doing their best in their own respective deliverables to improvise on the same and it’s not far when these current issues would be a thing of the past.
With Facebook’s entry in the video content market, what does it mean for digital video and creator network like One Digital Entertainment? Are you looking to partner with them?
At One Digital, we are a creator-first company. We not only help them make better content but also help them with better distribution and marketing. For One Digital, all the video players in the market are friends and partners and it would remain that way. We leverage each other’s capabilities and reach to collectively make it bigger.