This fort­night...

The Brand Reporter - - EDITORIAL | CONTENTS - Ash­wini Gan­gal ash­wini.gan­gal@afaqs.com

Fate. Serendip­ity. Luck. Watch or read any in­ter­view of Sameer and Venkat, the founders of Cul­ture Ma­chine, in which they re­call the chain of events that, about four years back, put them on the path that even­tu­ally led them to their now suc­cess­ful dig­i­tal ven­ture, and you’ll hear at least two words that al­lude to a higher power. You’ll also spot many metaphors; they fleet­ingly called their ven­ture a dig­i­tal raft-turned­ca­noe-turned-warship during this in­ter­view!

They de­scribe them­selves as a ‘dig­i­tal me­dia com­pany for the in­ter­net gen­er­a­tion’. In­vestors, we hear, call them the ‘web equiv­a­lent of a tele­vi­sion net­work like Star’. Cul­ture Ma­chine has two main rev­enue streams – me­dia and tech; that, in a way, is re­flected in their name.

We at afaqs! be­gan this cal­en­dar year with a mega-event called vdonxt asia, a mas­ter­class on the busi­ness of on­line video. We con­cluded the two-day-long af­fair with a prom­ise to keep a fin­ger on the pulse of the boom­ing on­line video in­dus­try. This in­ter­view with this af­fa­ble and ra­zor sharp duo – (I sourced these ad­jec­tives from the re­porter who met them for this cover story) – is a step in the same di­rec­tion – our ef­fort, as a pub­li­ca­tion, to take note of the go­ings on in the dig­i­tal space.

Among other things, we asked Sameer and Venkat about the on­line video con­sump­tion trends that they think are here to stay. They named live video, ma­chine­as­sisted con­tent and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence-based trends. Cul­ture Ma­chine owns five dig­i­tal chan­nels – Be­ing In­dian, Blush, Put Chut­ney, Viva, and Awe­some Sauce In­dia. The com­pany has of­fices in Mum­bai, Pune, Chen­nai, Hy­der­abad, Delhi, Sin­ga­pore and Cal­i­for­nia.

Start­ing this month, the com­pany’s Tamil dig­i­tal me­dia brand Put Chut­ney, known for its com­edy con­tent, will foray into the lin­ear tele­vi­sion space, via Star Vi­jay. The big ques­tion Sameer and Venkat are ask­ing them­selves now is: Can we be big­ger than the big me­dia net­works on TV?

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