www.Spuul.com is a cloud-based streaming video service that provides On-Demand Access to Bollywood Movies and TV Programs, letting Consumers Watch Premium Indian Content via the Web, Mobile Devices and Connected TVs. Incidentally, had been in stealth mode since 2010, and was founded by seasoned industry and technology entrepreneurs. Sudesh Iyer, who was a co-founder of Sony Entertainment Television in India, and S. Mohan, Founder of Palo Alto-based Accellion, buUuk and a number of other technology and venture companies.
Mediavataar.com spoke with Prakash Ramchandani, South Asia Head of spuul.com about its offerings, its market potential, what it offers the consumer and the Bollywood and television fraternity, why he believes they will support it, and more. Excerpts from the conversation
1. What is Spuul.com? What are the numbers and business potential that enthused you to launch Spuul.com?
The industry’s premier legal video streaming site dedicated to Indian content. Spuul is a cloud-based streaming video service that lets consumers watch premium Indian content via the web, mobile devices and connected TVs.
2. What is the USP of Spuul.com?
User experience, world-class infrastructure and tech partners, and the premium content are amongst the key USPs of Spuul.com. There is a strong focus and emphasis on presenting the overall offering from the customer’s perspective.
To ensure the ultimate end-user experience, Spuul.com offers viewers a unique resume capability which allows users to watch a movie on one device, hit pause, and then pick up where they left off on the device of their choice.
That apart, there is a variety of premium content from multiple distributors by language and genre, and we are committed to providing more.
The convenience of watching films via multiple features and devices, and at affordable price points complete the loop.
3. Why do you think the customers would choose Spuul.com over other similar websites?
Our user feedback from our customers has been extremely positive, and we listen to them. As I mentioned earlier, our content, user experience and commitment in the game provide our loyal users with a superior entertainment option. I wouldn't like to speak about 'competition'; all I can say is we're confident that spuul.com's USPs and constant costumer focus, plus our ongoing content acquisition, will help us grow in strength to remain within the consumer mindspace.
4. Why do you think film producers will support spuul.com?
We believe they would because spuul.com not only helps them with a new monetisation model and help on the distribution front, but also combats piracy.
Spuul.com provides a new monetisation model for producers. The spuul model taps new markets -- unique users within the households as well as on the go. In addition, especially in the overseas markets, those users who are not able to reach theaters and have a broadband connection.
Our model also helps smaller budget films on the distribution front -- they can look at the platform to reach out to markets outside India without disturbing the terrestrial distribution there.
And Spuul helps combat piracy, thanks to its ironclad DRM features, which now makes it possible for film producers to monetise their content legitimately and not be forced to give it away. We want to support the industry, and believe the film industry will support us too.
5. What help will Spuul.com give to the producers of new films?
Definitely give them new markets, and through newer mediums and smart devices, help them attract smart (eye) balls.
6. What help will Spuul.com give to old or retro film producers?
We will help them increase the shelf life of their content across segments, which is still much in demand.
7. What kind of partnerships are you looking at with Bollywood film producers and distributors?
We'd like to partner them for simultaneous worldwide online release of new films. It would would help monetise new films by giving them a much better opening through a new pipeline of delivery, and helping the opening keep up the momentum for longer than it could without all the smart mobile devices.
We could help them make their product offering visible and interactive, and work on innovative ideas with producers and distributors to keep it top of mind.
8. Why do you think customers would pay and watch movies when there are good quality movies available for free download? Will Spuul.com compete with the TV at home?
Great service through convenience and quality user experience of good watching excellent content will always tell. It's a evolving process and we see it increasing in India, just like one has seen it do in the West.
Spuul will enhance the existing TV-watching experience. TV is another device. Spuul will provide you with more options and more content.
9. Will Spuul.com pose as a threat to movie theatres?
The idea is to provide more monetisation models and revenue to producers and not eat into the existing pie. Every model has a place for itself in the market.
10. Is Spuul.com available in Blackberry and Android phones?
At present, it is on iOS devices. Android is under development.
11. What is the revenue model for Spuul.com?
Premium movies and television content delivered legally across multi-devices catering to the Indian community across the globe and India. Where there is a massive potential audience that loves Bollywood films, is eminently mobile across a gamut of mobile devices ranging from smart phones to tablets, ipads, laptops... and even have smart TVs that can stream video content, with the convenience of seamless pause and resume across devices.
The revenue potential is via its Freemium model, ad supported, subscription video on demand and pay per view specials.
Freemiumcontent includes access to more than 100 free movies, Specials are PPV movies at US$0.99 per movie for 72 hours of unlimited views, and Premium subscriptions that provide access to the very best of Bollywood for a month at US$4.99 a month.
12. Who are your primary target group?
Going by the potential users I mentioned above, I would say it’s a very broad base across the globe who consume Indian entertainment. It's evolving as we go.
Just look at the way the new media markets are expanding, whether it is mobile and wireless connectivity or internet and broadband connections. Let me share some figures from the KPMG report for 2012, which says Internet connections in India will grow to over 400 million in 2016, from the around 88 million in 2011, by which time the wireless connections will make up around 90 percent of the total. Even broadband connectivity is expected to grow from under 15 million today to around 51 million in 2012. And if you consider multiple users for each wireline connection, we were already reaching 132 million internet users in 2011, and this will go up to 500 million users by 2016. That will be around 40 percent of the country's population, and very significantly, around 70 percent of total TV viewers by 2016. The number of internet-enabled smart phones in India is expected to rise from the 10 million they were pegged at in 2011 to around 264 million by 2016.
No wonder they entitled the report 'Digital Dawn', saying the metamorphosis begins. It is well and truly under way, and we believe that smart mobile devices like smartphones and tablets will drive the consumption of media online. Which is where we are supplying the kind of entertainment content that constitutes a national passion -- film and television entertainment. So, considering we are a global provider of content on new media that is growing exponentially, our primary target group and potential sources of revenues will be massive.
13. And how will you communicate with them? What kind of marketing strategy do you have in place?
Our marketing strategy is obviously a very proactive one, and we are initially concentrating on online, but you’ll see us around across markets. Our biggest asset is our consumers - if they are content, half the battle is won. But we shall proactively analyze, learn and leap.
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