‘Mainstream TV offers better monetisation opportunities & greater content visibility’
The founders of the company S Siva and Jayakrishnan tell us about Mainstream TV's vision to be the go-to app in South India for both content creators and viewers
Mainstream TV -- a new video streaming platform was recently launched in March with an aim to nurture regional content and content creators. Catering to the South Indian audience, the OTT platform will feature long format and curated short-format videos. It has a range of offerings such as movies, web series, short films, documentaries, kid’s animation and fresh original content. Founded by S Siva and Jayakrishnan, Mainstream TV aims to be the go-to app for everything video in South India for both content creators and viewers.
Speaking about the idea behind the platform, S Siva, the Founder & CEO, says, “Mainstream TV is a platform that was started to create regional content. We started with Malayalam content because the founders hail from Kerala and it is easy for us to curate the content as we understand the vibe of the people.”
He adds, “Our prime focus is on creating a regional content-based platform, engaging the content creators and creating a better monetization option for the content creators. Currently, we are a free (AVOD) platform and eventually might migrate to a subscription or hybrid model. We aim to stream movies which have not had a theatre release and are in talks with the concerned people.”
Mainstream TV is available on iOS, Android, Fire Stick TV and Android TV devices, making Mainstream TV the very first Malayalam OTT platform to be available across all devices.
Amyum Pillerum: The First Original Series
Mainstream TV launched its first original series for the Malayalam Audience, Amyum Pillerum, on Vishu, with actor Vinitha Koshi playing the central character Amy. The series has been produced by Mainstream TV Original, the company’s original content production wing, which will produce web series and short-format content of 5-15 minutes duration.
Digital is being used extensively to market the web series with social media and influencers, such as Noorin Shereef, being an integral part of the mix. The company is also evaluating the use of Digital Radio and Television –- news and movie channels -- where it could look at short bursts of 3-4 days to promote the new show.
Filling The Need Gap
Currently, the platform’s library consists of over 700 Malayalam movies and over 3,000 plus short videos that showcase content around cookery, comedy, film reviews, sports, etc. The company says that the competition currently only offers movies and dubbed content and Mainstream’s USP will be original content, like web series, in Malayalam.
“There is a huge gap between Netflix and Amazon. There is content which has not been touched at all by the big OTT players. Also, the small content creators cannot approach the major players. These players generate revenues only on Youtube and we can help market their content, offer better monetisation opportunities and content visibility for creators,” observes Siva. Mainstream is also looking to monetize through video/ display/ native contents and brand integrations.
Adds Jayakrishnan, Co-Founder, Mainstream TV, “We are providing the small content creators a platform to portray their work. We are planning to focus on short snackable video formats. A challenge for us is that while regional platforms like us are ready to pay more than what YouTube offers the content creators, they are still reluctant to join us for long-form or short-form content”.
So far, the app has been downloaded by 10,000 users and the co-founders expect this figure to 50,000 by the end of next month. The average time spent is around 10 minutes, which has gone up to around 20-30 minutes during the lockdown period.
Marketing Mainstream TV
Elaborating on the marketing strategies to promote the platform, Jayakrishnan says, “We are working with a lot of mobile retail companies in exchange for ad space, ad inventories etc. We plan to get their help in installing Mainstream TV app on each phone they sell. We are focused extensively on digital marketing -- especially on Facebook -- and tying up with influencers.
Another way we are marketing the platform is by putting up posters. For example, when we launch a movie on the platform, we will put out a poster like in olden days, which announces the release of the movie. Mainstream will also look into advertising in regional newspapers.”
The Road Ahead
Going ahead, Mainstream TV is planning to expand to a Live TV application, which will be soon made available on smart TVs. The platform is also looking to tying up with TV channels, which don't have an OTT platform, to stream their TV series as catch-up content on Mainstream TV.
In fact, the company is also in talks to showcase Mainstream TV’s digital content on TV channels. The firm is also in talks with the Kerala Film Producers Association to see how the two entities can work together, especially at a time when movie releases have stalled.
While the content on the platform is currently only in Malayalam, Mainstream TV is aiming to enter the Tamil market in six months, after which it will look at Telegu and Kannada. On a final note, the company which is a bootstrap, is looking for investors to scale up the business platform.
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