There has been tremendous changes in the VAS industry since TRAI’s epic ruling. What are VAS companies doing now to survive? To find out, TELECOMTALK interviewed Niyati Shah, founder of Shotformats Digitals, a digital distribution and a new media company.
Teletomtalk (TT): You raised an undisclosed sum from Matrix Partners last year, how are you utilising that money?
Niyati Shah (NS): The money has been utilized across various verticals i.e. Technology, Brand, Human Resources, Acquisitions and Launch Of Our D2C initiative – Biscoot.
(TT): Since TRAIs regulation, many VAS companies had a decline in revenue and it shows in their earning reports. One of the major pitfall of the TRAI regulation was that VAS companies found it difficult to provide a platform where users will find all the services offered. How are you helping discoverability of content now?
(NS): We as a company were always in a farming mode and not in a hunting mode, hence we had developed a loyal subscriber base over a period of time on sheerly on the basis of quality products. The entire industry has gone through a slump but it was a critical period as it led to consolidation. The companies who had a limited portfolio of products suffered the most and as far as Shotformats was considered we had a diverse portfolio of products which help us combat the situation. After this clean up only the companies with a quality products survived. As Shotformats we look at this in the positive light.
(TT): You recently rolled out offline retail network for content, apps among others. How has it been beneficial for the business. Can you elaborate on why you decided to go offline?
(NS): Biscoot is India’s first offline app distribution store introducing a range of apps across Movie, Music, Games & Apps. Being a pioneer of path breaking products in the Mobility segment, Biscoot will plug in the gap in the existing app eco-system of India. Biscoot as a brand is deeply rooted to the Indian culture, so we take special efforts to develop apps that are best suited for the taste & preferences of the Indian consumers. Apps are developed with an Indian flavor with a very simple and user-friendly navigation. Biscoot with its vibrant colors, popular packaging & deep roots to the Indian culture, will redefine the way content is consumed on mobile.Biscoot provides high quality movies at rockbottom prices, music compilations, cassettes for various artists & movies, a range of utility, security, and devotional apps catering the needs of the Indian customers.
(TT): How has it been beneficial for the business?
The entertainment industry has recorded huge losses due to rampant piracy prevailing in the market. Piracy has plagued the entertainment and gaming industry. All the Biscoot apps are DRM protected i.e. if an app is transferred from one mobile device to another then it gets automatically locked. Biscoot has created an alternative revenue stream for content owners and helps them in fighting piracy.
On the other hand the consumer has to only pay for what he buys i.e. in simple words no hidden cost. Our initiative has been widely appreciated in the gaming and entertainment industry. We now have all the major production houses and gaming studios on-board for distribution of content. Biscoot has revolutionalised the way entertainment is consumed on mobile.
(TT): Can you elaborate on why you decided to go offline?
Biscoot is a completely revolutionary distribution model its a brick and mortar model for app distribution. Through Biscoot we have ensured that mobile apps are available with ease throughout the country. My biggest inspiration to start to start this business was my mother who use to ask me every now and then to download apps for her. So it was evident that that was a need for quality apps but there were gaps in the existing eco system which needed to be addressed. We conducted our initial research to our surprise we found out that only 15% of smartphone users have ever downloaded an app. The key factors for the same are given below:
Internet Speed: The average internet speed in India is very low which creates problems in downloading and streaming rich media content.
Lack of Awareness: There was a lack of awareness amongst people i.e. where to download apps from.
Low Debit/Credit Card penetration: Majority of the quality apps available are paid or have in app purchases but due to low debit/credit card penetration people are not able to buy it.
Note from editors: Telecomtalk would like to interview you, if you run a VAS based company. Please get in touch with us at apurva at telecomtalk.info
Apurva is a tech enthusiast who loves her gadgets and talks about digital media usage. She is currently developing news.thedigest.co and works for an IT company.