Archive for April, 2007

Chat with the founder and CEO of Seventymm

Written by: Madhur

On Apr 22nd, 2007

[Update: Seventymm has given a special discount code for the readers of iLeher. See how to avail the offer at the end of the post]

Bollywood is big. It produces more movies than Hollywood. It sells more tickets worldwide compared to Hollywood. It has more more than double the annual growth rate compared to Hollywood. It was only a matter time that someone took notice of this and did an Indian version of Netflix, the online DVD rental service. Well as it turns out, several did. Seventymm is one of the largest and most VC funded players in this space. We profiled another company few months back on iLeher. There are several others trying to make a mark in this seemingly lucrative space. And just when you thought the market is getting saturated, the Indian behemoth Reliance announced its entry in this space with Did someone say bubble? Well we’ll see who (perhaps there is room for more than one?) emerges out as the winner but the activity in this space is peaking because of combination of several factors including growth in Internet penetration and usage, growth in the installed base of DVD players and burgeoning venture funding scene in India.

We talked with Seventymm on various aspects of their business including market stats, competition and what we expect to see from them in future. Here is what Raghav Kher, the founder and CEO of Seventymm had to say. Also they were kind enough to give our readers a special discount code to try out their service for free. Find the code at the bottom of the post.

1. Seventymm is obviously the most well funded company and has the largest footprint in India. Do you mind giving us some quick stats on number of subscribers, number of DVD’s it has in the collection, current market share etc.?

Seventymm has a library of over 15,000 films in Hindi, English and 12 other regional languages like Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telegu, Bengali, Marathi, Bhojpuri, Rajasthani, Assamese, Oriya, Punjabi and Gujrati. The home video market in India is still skewed towards VCDs and so a large part of our inventory are VCDs. Approximately 30% of the titles are available in the DVD format. Currently we have a subscriber base of over 16,000 subscribers across Bangalore, Delhi & Mumbai. Our target is to reach 50,000 members by the end of 2007 across the top 10 cities in India. This has so far been a largely unorganized market and we are the largest player in the organized sector, both in terms of content and number of members. We are no doubt the market leaders by far.

2. We have spoken to Madhouse and other DVD rental companies that have plans of making the service available via phone, local shops, etc. What is Seventymm doing to address the needs of customers who do not have access to Internet?

We have tried to make the online process very simple, as simple as using e-mail. However those who are not familiar with the internet have the option of ordering DVDs either by calling our customer care even by sending a sms.

3. There are these often quoted issues around logistics of delivery, cheaper rates at local shops due to piracy etc. How does Seventymm deal with this?

Seventymm has set-up an efficient logistics infrastructure to support the service offering. We have an army of 125 delivery boys across to support the demand. Consumers are getting sensitized to the issue of piracy; one of the key reasons for accessing pirated copies was the lack of a credible option. However now they have a choice in players like Seventymm who are not only credible but also capable of catering to the needs of consumers in terms of choice and convenience.

4. Seventymm has this referral program where you get 1/6th of your rent off for every new customer you bring. How useful has been the referral program so far? Is this going to continue forever?

In India movies are a religion and people not only love to watch movies but also talk about them. Our referral program provides an opportunity to our members to talk about a service like ours to their friends and relatives. This not only helps in brand proliferation but also sign ups. Our referral program has been very useful in meeting these objectives and we wish to continue the same as a brand strategy.

5. Any potential threats from Moser Baer (they recently announced selling Hindi DVD’s at less than Rs. 40, which is less than the cost of the rental)

The entry of Moser Baer and low priced CDs & DVDs is a positive sign as the movie consumption will grow and so will the overall market for home video. However we do not perceive it as a threat at all because consumers may not like to buy all content even if they come very cheap. Consumers still buy content which they want to treasure or share, but predominantly rent.

6. What innovations, new services are we going to see in the future from Seventymm?
We will be present in 10 cities across India very shortly. In the next few years the speed of broadband will go up to one megabit per second. Once that happens we will start distributing movies digitally.

7. Anything else you would like to add for our readers?
We would like to welcome your associates and readers to try our service and have a special offer for them. We wish to discuss this with the concerned person in your team to execute the offer at the earliest. Please find the discount code below.

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Widget Marketing: Can Dhingana pull it off?

Written by: Madhur

On Apr 17th, 2007

[Update: Interesting discussion in the comments section! Added a sample live Dhingana widget. ]

A recent case study on YouTube emphasizes the role that widget marketing played in the phenomenal growth of YouTube as a destination site for video sharing. YouTube was not the first mover in its space, but in a market that was fragmented and plagued with sites with poor user experience, it quickly made inroads with its innovative widget based marketing and social networking features.

Dhingana is one site to watch out for in online Indian music streaming space. We mentioned briefly about them here. The current incumbents Raaga and MusicIndiaOnline (both among most visited Indian sites) hardly seem to be doing any innovation at all. Dhingana is a refreshing change in this space and with their simple interface and rich features that promote stickiness and viral spread, I think they are moving in the right direction. Although a word of suggestion for them is it would be nice to avoid displaying those bright flash ads smack in the middle of the page that according to me hurts the otherwise nice user experience that they provide.

Talking about the new features, at Dhingana you can add tags, categories on songs, create smart lists. Another cool feature is their recently launched widgets which users can put up on their sites and share their smart lists with their site visitors, just like people share youtube videos on their blogs/sites. This is one viral feature, which if takes off can go a long way in making their brand a common place and eventually help make Dhingana a destination site for all Indian music needs. From the point of view of business, this also helps them create an infrastructure which can be useful to do deals with other sites that wish to provide streaming music on their site and even make money (with revenue sharing deals). We talked with team dhingana about some of these features. Find a below a quick excerpt from the talk we had with them around their launch of music widgets. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions about Dhingana’s strategy as they will be happy to answer some of them for us. Here is a sample widget

1. Can you give us a quick overview about how the new widgets feature that Dhingana is launching will work?
Dhingana’s 360Widget is like a sleek battle tank . It ‘s designed to be extremely light but at the same time loaded with a lot of features. 360Widget is a plugin that users can embed in their webpages/ blogs to showcase personal favorite songs as well as current chartbuster Indian songs. Visitors of the pages can listen to these songs if interested. Thus, web page owners / bloggers can express their musical likings through the widget at the same time, potentially make money out of this. More details here.

2. Are you doing deals with any Indian sites to use your widget and do revenue sharing etc.?
3. Why would users want to use your widget on their sites/blogs? Are you targeting any particular group of people/sites? What rate of adoption from users do you expect?
Let us answer 2. and 3. together. Well, Dhingana is a site where you can musically entertain yourself, it caters to your musical buds. Our 360Widget will allow a site or blog owner’s users to do the same. So by embedding this widget on your blog or website, it can add a new dimension to your blog, where people might like to listen to the owner’s SmartLists or some nice music while they enjoy reading your blog or website.
One can compare this widget with Flickr’s Photo widget or Yahoo’s news widget. People normally embed a Flickr Photo Widget to showcase their own photo albums. Similarly like-minded people can choose to embed 360Widget to showcase their own SmartLists and in turn allow their users to share songs and smartlists with their friends.

Second reason, which is the more interesting one, is moving forward we have a revenue model in the making where the blog owners can choose to embed audio ads in their widgets. Once they do this, Dhingana can share some percent of the revenue from these audio ads with the bloggers. However, we are still researching around this model and depending upon its feasibility, we positively plan to integrate it in our 360Widget. Once this goes through, we definitely plan to partner with other sites.

4. Infrastructure can become the bottleneck if this feature really takes off and spreads virally. I am sure you realize this – how do you plan to address this?
We always make sure that we operate at 50% of our streaming bandwidth capabilities. This means that if our users are consuming 1000GBs per month, then we atleast have 2000GB bandwidth capability. This allows us to be always prepared for sudden growth or surge in user base.

In addition, to start with we are just allowing our registered users to embed this widget on their sites and blogs. Once the widget goes out of beta phase, we plan to make it available to non-registered users as well.

5. Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Dhingana’s approach has always been to create a niche for itself through innovation and technology. We want to add value by enhancing the music listening experience of users and add the “feel good” factor to their experience by allowing them to express and share their likings. We know that users like our work, and we are thankful to them for their even greater support as they are spreading Dhingana’s name by the word of mouth.
We love surprises and we are sure our users like them too!  Stay tuned as we have loads of exciting features in pipeline to take the music listening experience to the next level.

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Written by: Abhinav

On Apr 10th, 2007

For those wishing to see more of the Silicon Valley breed of entrepreneurism in India, Motvik would sound like a good example. Motvik was co-founded by Naveen, Deepak, Ramu and Rajan in September 2006. All four of them were working with eMuzed when they decided to venture into the market by themselves and set up Motvik. We spoke to them about the inspiration behind Motvik, their first product – WWIGO, their future plans and the challenges they face as first-time entrepreneurs.

Update: We also asked them about how they deal with the competition and what their USP is. This was inadvertently missed out in the first post.
iLeher: What was the vision behind Motvik?

Motvik: The vision is twofold. To be a part of the compete product and innovation lifecycle and to build an Indian product company in the mobile media space that addresses the global market.
iLeher: Do you have venture capital (or other) funding? How do you run your operations?

Motvik: We are completely self-funded as of now. All of us have put in some of our money to set up this venture.
iLeher: Lets talk about your products. We believe you have a product ready to hit the market?

Motvik: Our first product is WWIGO – Webcam Wherever I GO. This is an application that turns the cameraphone into a webcam. Almost everyone who has a PC also has a cameraphone today and they shouldn’t need to buy a webcam additionally. Using Bluetooth, we can connect the cameraphone to the PC/laptop and stream the video from the cameraphone to the PC and then use this with any application on the PC that uses webcams. For example, you can use WWIGO with Yahoo! Messenger or Skype. Also, you can upload videos to Youtube!
iLeher: Sounds interesting? How do we try this out?

Motvik: We are in private Alpha at this point of time. We plan to launch this to the public in a few weeks.
iLeher: What all platforms do you support?

Motvik: Currently, we support Symbian (2nd edition) phones and MS-Windows PCs. However, we are planning on supporting various other platforms. The porting and support activities are already underway and will be available soon.
iLeher: How can we get our hands on your app? How does the distribution model work?

Motvik: Currently, users can download the application from the web directly. We are also looking at viral marketing using blogs and “word of mouth”, natural search marketing, etc.
iLeher: How about the revenues? How do you plan to make money?

Motvik: We haven’t yet chalked out the revenue model completely though currently we are exploring the “freemium” model having two distributions – premium and basic. The premium version will have some additional features as compared to the basic version and this will be available for a one-time fee. Also, the support for the premium version will be better.
iLeher: What kind of features?

Motvik: We can’t talk about these at the moment but we have some interesting features in the pipeline.

iLeher: Do you have other products in mind as well (besides WWIGO)?

Motvik: Yes, we are basically looking at exploring the whole gamut of multimedia applications on mobile handsets. That is our core strength since all of the co-founders come from a “Multimedia Apps on Mobiles” background and we plan to expand on this strength in the future.
iLeher: What are the challenges you face?

Motvik: Well, there are a number of challenges that we face on a daily basis. One of the challenges is to figure out a way of marketing Motvik on a global scale. There are a number of mobile phones besides Symbian handsets and one of the key things for us is to carry these various apps together. We need to expand our team in order to be able to do that but that’s not so easy since we are all a small startup and we have to compete with MNCs to attract talent. Finding good people is thus a huge challenge for us.

iLeher: How do you deal with the competition? Mobiola and ETI Flycam are similar products. What is your USP?
Motvik: We differentiate from them because of our focus on accessibility (wider reach), usability and wider reach

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