Our focus is to scale & aggressively grow the business: Anuraag Srivastava, Rainshine Ent.

Srivastava, COO, Rainshine Entertainment, delves into the restructuring of Culture Machine and the strategy ahead for the newly formed entities

e4m by Shikha Paliwal
Updated: Oct 24, 2019 11:02 AM
AnuraagSrivastava

Only two weeks back came the surprise announcement by Rainshine Entertainment about the strategic expansion and restructuring of Culture Machine, the digital media company under its umbrella, into two focused businesses - CM Studios and Lightstream. Sameer Pitalwalla moved from his role as CEO of Culture Machine to an advisory role with Rainshine. exchange4media caught up with Anuraag Srivastava, Chief Operating Officer, Rainshine Entertainment, to better understand why the company felt the need for restructuring and their plans for the future.

Excerpts

Rainshine announced a strategic expansion and restructuring of Culture Machine. Can you share with us the reason for this and shed light on the growth strategy?

Culture Machine is a leader in the industry with its prowess in content creation, both long and short-form, as well as brand servicing, with a focus on targeting millennial and Gen Z audiences. The digital video market is showing accelerated growth across India encompassing all consumer segments, posing a long-term opportunity for Rainshine Entertainment to evolve and adapt to the new market of 2020. We recently announced the expansion and restructuring of the company into two focussed businesses – Lightstream and CM Studios. This re-generation of the two new organizations is an endeavour to bring together the company’s strengths – our brand solutions acumen through Lightstream and storytelling prowess through CM Studios-- and take these businesses to the next level. We have brought on board an extremely dynamic team of talented individuals to enhance the team’s capabilities and fortify our offerings for audiences across the country. The next few years will see us further accelerate the growth trajectory of the company, and I'm excited for what’s in store.

Can you elaborate on how CM Studios and Lightstream will be restructured, and what will be their key focus areas?

Lightstream and CM Studios will have separate focussed teams and priorities. Lightstream, evolving from the active digital publishing space, is uniquely positioned to work with brands to create tailor-made short form content and digital solutions. With services like Digital Content Marketing, Digital Campaigns and Digital Services, this division will help brands reach out to the wide span of consumers in India. At Lightstream, data analytics, audience targeting, and consumer insights will come together to deliver the best brand stories told through content.

The team is led by Cyrus Oshidar and Bala Iyengar. Cyrus, who will develop ideas that harness consumer insights to delight brands, will work closely with Manisha Gulati, in charge of overseeing all content and production. Bala, on the other hand, will create innovative content opportunities for brands to dominate the consumer's minds. Divya Radhakrishnan also joins the team and will manage a large customer base of government, quasi-government, public sector, and NGO businesses. She will also work with the Rainshine Entertainment team to develop an international distribution and syndication business. CM Studios, led by Ruchir Joshi and Russell Pinto, will produce long-form content and audio podcasts for streaming platforms. The company is focusing on the young adult segment and genres such as crime, thriller, and romance. CM Studios has already partnered with Amazon Prime, NBA, Eros Now, Dailyhunt etc., and has launched six shows. Five more are currently in production.

What will be Rainshine’s monetization strategy for the businesses?

In India, Rainshine Entertainment is focused on harnessing the new revenue growth opportunities of digital content, digital communication and digital socialization domains. While Lightstream has been created to offer custom, high-impact digital solutions to brands, CM Studios is producing long-form content and audio podcasts for streaming platforms.     

Rainshine has been aggressive about acquiring a stake in media/content companies. They have recently acquired ATS and FirstAction too, how has that benefited the business? Any other acquisitions planned for the future?

Rainshine Entertainment has always believed in bringing new stories, formats and experiences for audiences worldwide by investing in the company’s existing brands as well as creating new ones. The company recently acquired significant stakes in All Things Small (ATS) and FirstAction and has collaborated with them to offer strategic direction and drive growth. While ATS marks our foray into real-life storytelling, FirstAction is our official entry into South Indian content. We’ve also created Rainbox Studios, a new internal division at Rainshine Entertainment, which will focus on developing and producing cutting-edge game shows along with high-end non-fiction and fiction concepts. Having pioneered franchises like Ulta Fullta, India’s first cricket digital game show unveiled during the Cricket World Cup 2019, and VotesUp, the world’s first election fantasy league launched around India’s recent General Elections, Rainbox will continue to create inspiring and emotionally engaging content for Indian as well as global audiences.

Earlier this year, Rainshine Entertainment also acquired significant stakes in Kinsane Entertainment, a global digital entertainment company focused on creating great IPs for 2 to15 year-olds and families, and Weirdass Comedy, the foremost comedy content studio and consultancy in India. With Weirdass, we are focused on developing and producing original content, driven by a pool of writers, directors and talent across languages and genres. We have an extremely broad portfolio of services including diverse content, across formats, genres and languages, and a dedicated brand solutions division through Lightstream. We will continue to partner with world-class content creators and develop cutting-edge formats and experiences that enthrall audiences across the globe.

Can you share any upcoming projects/tie-ups?

We’ve had a great year so far. Our focus right now is on building our big initiatives across the group, to scale and aggressively grow the business. Spanning a variety of formats, we have many exciting projects, original stories, and compelling narratives coming up for consumers across the globe. It includes award-winning movie, Humble Politician Nograj, which is returning as a web series, Jestination Unknown, a first-of-its-kind comedy travelogue original series by Vir Das, which will soon be streaming on Amazon Prime Video, and Hasmukh, a comic thriller, helmed by Vir Das and Nikhil Advani.

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