The former CEO of iStream.com, Radhakrishnan Ramachandran has set up Studio Mojo, to tap into the fast-growing regional video entertainment market.
The online video market is growing at a frenzied pace in India with over 25 OTT platforms with global majors like Netflix and Amazon leading the pack. And many of them are planning an aggressive foray into regional language programming.
Over the next 4 years, more than a third of the Internet users in India are expected to be from regional languages like Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi. Until four years back most of the videos consumed digitally in India were in Hinglish. But that is the not the case anymore. The top four languages on platforms today are Tamil and Telugu along with Hindi and English.
iStream was India’s leading OTT platform in 2011, after raising 5 M USD from marquee VC investor SAIF. Though iStream had to shut down operations in 2013, Ramachandran is making a come back in the OTT space setting up Studio Mojo.
“ A lot of people have asked me over the past 12 months whether there are plans to relaunch iStream. The product game is over for me. Now it is time to play the content game. Hence Studio Mojo. The goal is to build one of the largest video networks for regional language programming,” says Ramachandran.
Studio Mojo will persue a multi-prong approach to cater to both long and short format content. The company is working with OTT platforms to create original programming in South Indian languages currently. Plans are to get into other regional languages like Marathi, Bengali, Bhojpuri by end of the year. Studio Mojo will also create short format content for platforms such as YouTube,Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Apart from that, it will also be licensing regional language content to Telcos, IPTV players and OTT players in markets such as Middle East and North Africa region and Southeast Asia where there is huge appetite for regional content.
“ We call ourselves a network because the objective is not just to create content but also identify talent with whom we will produce content. The idea is not to just work with the top names in the industry. We need to build the whole content ecosystem - spotting talent and giving them opportunities is equally important. If you look at some of the most creative movie industries like Malayalam the best content is being created by young scriptwriters and directors with lot of new faces,” adds Ramachandran.
To aid this network, Studio Mojo will set up studios in key markets like Chennai, Hyderabad and Cochin.
This is Ramachandran's third video venture after iStream and Pepper Media which is amongst the leading MCN’s (multi-channel network) for YouTube in the country with over 10 million subscribers.