How did you come up with the idea of starting a digital venture?
Being an editor & TV presenter for over 15 years, I decided to make the switch to digital simply because the audience preference switched to digital. TV audiences have almost entirely shifted to mobiles and tablets. Even the smart TV consumers are fond of OTT platforms or the YouTube app, which is now in-built, in latest TV sets. Traditional news is also being consumed on digital platforms.
With the launch of ‘Beast Studios’ we are creating engaging content that can resonate with our audience on a personal level. Today, there's no better medium to reach a wider audience other than social media. YouTube enables our audience to interact with the content, this is extremely important for us. At Beast Studios, our main focus is to ‘listen’ and ‘interact’ with our viewers and then curate meaningful content.
What were the challenges that you have faced while launching the sports YouTube channel?
One of the main challenges was to simply build a physical set, a studio in the heart of New Delhi before the IPL began. I remember I resigned on 9th February and started the hunt for a suitable location for the studio. Since we were launching the sports channel first; we decided on getting a gym area, a lounge chat area for the presenters, a chroma wall and a dedicated music area - all on the same set.
Most vendors refused to work on such tight deadline. We finally started the construction work in March and somehow, someway we built the entire set in a month. IPL 2021 launch day i.e 9th April also marked the launch of our studio, it was our first live transmission from the studio and it was very well received. Garnering traffic on our YouTube page was another big challenge. Today, viewers have many options to choose from. Our strength is our team of experienced journalists, producers & technicians who are simply the best in the business. Our core team Manoj Dimri, Rohit Juglan, Dheeraj Singh & Shashank Yagnik worked tirelessly. The IPL season, or half of it, proved to be quite fruitful for us. ‘Sports Yaari’ our first youtube channel crossed 100k subscribers in just 2 weeks of its launch and showcased strong viewer analytics.
How will IPL Suspension impact the growth of the channel?
As far as views and impressions are concerned, our daily LIVE chats and news reports are getting similar numbers, so the postponement of the IPL hasn't affected us much. Sports Yaari is a 360-degree sports channel. Our audience has diverse interests and loves variety in content. Hence at Sports Yaari, we incorporate news stories around less talked about sports as well.
What are your expansion plans? Will you be launching another digital channel through Beast Studios?
After the successful launch of ‘Sports Yaari’, we’re planning to come up with an entertainment channel and a few chat shows too. We are also seeking to expand the team and join hands with people who have a similar mindset for journalism of the future. Content creators and journalists are always welcome at Beast studios.
Advice for the budding entrepreneurs?
I would urge youngsters and budding entrepreneurs to follow their ambition, but first do your math religiously. When you take the plunge from the creative side to the business end, you have to focus on your numbers and targets. This includes a clear roadmap for at least 3 years, set realistic expectations and your main aim should be to simply break even in the first two years. Anything else should be considered as a bonus. Needless to say with the pandemic the economy has taken a very big hit, thus you need to make sure that you plan your every move meticulously.
Lastly, believe in yourself and follow your dream.