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A new ‘Cloudwalker’ in the virtual world

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MUMBAI: As the digital ecosystem in India is set to expand, the market for Video on Demand (VOD) platforms is only growing. A new kid on the bloc is Half Ticket, which claims to be India’s first curated VOD megastore.

Launched 45 days ago by CloudWalker Streaming Technologies, the company researched for seven months before giving a go ahead to the beta version of the site. CloudWalker founder Jagdish Rajpurohit says, “We call ourselves as an enabler of one’s content in the digital world. If one has content which has a strong demand, and if people watch this content, then one will earn money.”

But how different is Half Ticket from its competitors? Rajpurohit says as a matter of strategy they decided to curate content across the internet and bring it to the platform. They see themselves as digital exhibitors at par with brick and mortar multiplexes. “The difference between YouTube and other VOD’s is that one has to search content while in our case we make the content available to the audiences with ease,” says Rajpurohit while adding that they didn’t pay for the content.

Besides curating, the company is also creating digital content. Explaining the same he says, “We are offering pre-marketing digital services. If one is making a film, one also shoots a lot of the making of the film which is useless. By using this and adapting our own scripts, we make customised content for producers to use for promotions.” It is also making a digital comedy serial in Hinglish of which the IP will rest with CloudWalker.

The platform is also creating a space for independent cinema which will give them an opportunity to earn revenue for a longer time. “Half Ticket is not a video platform but it’s a digital distribution platform. It works on the strategy to help producers’ monetise better,” he says.

While low bandwidth is one of the biggest challenges, according to Rajpurohit, the biggest opportunity will come when 4G enters the space. He further goes on to say, “Compared to the last five years, I see better days ahead. But the biggest challenge will be to make people aware that premium content is available digitally and one has to pay for it.”

A 12 member team looks after curation of the content. “Our crucial point was that the internet today is uploading close to 220 hours of content every minute. In this scenario there is a 99 per cent chance of one missing the content they wish to see until and unless there is curation involved; one will not be able to choose the best,” the executive informs.

So what is the checklist followed to select the content? Firstly, the content sourced is strictly family oriented. Secondly, the ratings and reviews based on film websites are taken into account before filling the content deck.

The total team strength of the company is 32 and is based in Mumbai. The first level of funding came from the seven promoters of CloudWalker, who have invested a total of Rs 7 crore. It is in talks with two to three more funding companies who have expressed interest in the platform.

The portal, which follows an advertisement driven model, is also reaching out to regional cinema makers. “We are telling regional cinema filmmakers that if they want to reach out to audiences worldwide, it will become much cheaper to bring the new content to a digital platform and release it. And as far as revenue is concerned, it is the same. If a film sells two to four lakh tickets across the world, then the production house can easily earn Rs 4 to 5 crore which is not possible theatrically,” he informs.

The company plans to soon announce a Master Class for film distribution in the independent cinema.

While content from channels like Colors, MTV, Nick, Viacom18, YouTube, History TV18, Dailymotion among others is already available on the platform, it is also in talks with two GECs. “The platform has 23,000 to 24,000 hours of content currently and is attracting a traction of 75,000 to 80,000 users every day. An app released four days ago has so far received 150 to 200 downloads,” boasts Rajpurohit.

As part of its promotions, the platform tied up with My French Film Festival India and had a special screening at PVR wherein celebrities like Digamanshu Dhuliya, Ketan Mehta and Anurag Kashyap were present.

Chalking the road ahead, Rajpurohit concludes, “We are in talks with new film distributors and will continue bringing festivals like ‘My French Film Festival’ to India.”

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