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How to build a differentiated and user-friendly short video platform

Short video players congregated at the SCREENXX 2020 Summit | Awards to discuss the topic ‘Unlocking Short Format Video Synergies for Entertainment and Social Platforms’. The session was moderated by Uday Sodhi, Senior Partner, Kurate Digital Consultancy, who was joined by three different types of short video players. The first category of players came from the OTT background and the speakers were Abhishek Joshi, Head of Marketing and Business Partnerships, MX Player; Manish Shrivastava, Head of Marketing, Gaana. The second category of players came from social platforms space and were represented by Devika Sharma, Director Sales, Glance and Roposo, InMobi; Samir Vora, Chief Marketing Officer, Dailyhunt. The third category of players were pureplay short format video platforms represented by Shivank Agarwal, CEO, Mitron TV and Sumit Ghosh, Co-Founder and CEO, Chingari.

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The moderator began the session by asking the speakers two critical questions. What was so exciting about the short video category? And what was their entry strategy?

Chingari’s Sumit Ghosh said, “We launched the platform in 2018. Initially, we saw the opportunity for a video only platform because users had access to 4G data because of Reliance. Since then, a lot of evolution has happened in the short video app as a product.”

MX Player’s Abhishek Joshi broke down the fundamentals of succeeding in this space. He said, “The key to succeeding in this space is empowering the creators. Every content creator on our platform gets access to a wide variety of content creation tools. A well organised and exhaustive background music library, advanced beautification tools, new and innovative effects/ filters and more. It is truly a mobile first content creation opportunity that enables the talented content creators to unleash what they have to offer.”

Gaana’s Manish Shrivastava stressed on a creator first approach, adding, “While most players have gone vertical, we were very clear from the beginning that we want to build an ecosystem not a feature or product. Since we are doing all of our work around music, instead of reinventing the wheel, we thought ‘how can value be created for the current user?’. To build an ecosystem, you need to have a first set of creators who are creating for you, and the second rung of creators takes a queue from them and it runs around. Once monetisation comes in, the wheels start turning better.”

Speaking about Roposo’s differentiation, Devika Sharma said, “We’ve been focusing on becoming a vernacular platform. Entertainment content is obviously very popular but we’re looking to add a more diverse range of content like mythologyand local journalism. We create communities around these content buckets so that different types of content have a fair chance of getting discovered and drive engagement for our users.”

Mitron’s Shivank Agarwal added here, “Mitron was launched before the TikTok ban, so we didn’t want to take advantage of the gap left behind by TikTok, but saw the opportunity to create our own niche. The idea for the platform was to enable micro-entrepreneurs because there is no dearth of skills in India.”

Dailyhunt’s Samir Vora said, “We understand what kind of content to push to whom at scale, which automatically makes us deeply consumer focused.”

Technology is essential to build such a platform, opined Ghosh. “Chingari as a technology platform has been built from the ground up. A lot of deep tech engineering has to be done on the AI and ML to understand what the viewer wants in terms of the content in short video. We haven’t really differentiated the videos in various categories because we want the algorithm to decide that based on the users’ viewing experience.”

Watch the full session here:

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