Voiro has always helped publishers to understand & manage their revenue better: Kavita Shenoy

Voiro has always helped publishers to understand & manage their revenue better: Kavita Shenoy

Kavita Shenoy

Launched back in 2014, Voiro is a revenue management product suite for media houses and digital publishers. It consolidates diverse technologies & multiple sources of revenue. A data technology company, Voiro brings automation and intelligence to media organisations across the world, enabling them to make data-driven business decisions.

Currently, Voiro cpowers many OTT players, digital publishers & media houses in India. The company says that it is trusted by prominent OTT players and publishers such as Disney+ Hotstar, Voot, BookMyShow, Zee5, OLX, Flipkart, and DSTV (South Africa).

Co-founded by Kavita Shenoy & Anand Gopal, Voiro Technologies positions itself as being India’s first definitive revenue analytics and technology stack for content, media and publishing. Voiro’s engineering products that power revenue optimization & workflow automation for ad-led companies. Its SaaS based product harnesses the power of data to track ad inventory in real-time and gives their customers instant access to actionable intelligence.

The company’s technology has driven colossal live events year after year such as the IPL, the Oscars, Bigg Boss and Big Billion Day. The company has already raised ₹2.5 crore in a pre-Series A round from crowdfunding platform 1Crowd’s investor community and angel fund. The funding has propelled it to grow ~4x in the last year, pushing the annual recurring revenue (ARR) towards the ~$1mm mark that helped the company to bag its first international customer.

An ex-googler and a tech-aficionado, Shenoy heads business strategy and development at Voiro. She is one of the few Indian women entrepreneurs who has carved out her niche and solidified her position in the tech and SaaS space. She believes that technology is an enabler and has the power to revolutionise & drive business, which is Voiro’s core strategy. She is devoted to solving problems faced by media houses, digital publishers and top OTT players in India, which is bringing the digital/operational transformation as well as helping to become future-ready.

She is an undergraduate major in Economics from the University of Mumbai and began her career in advertising, with Lowe Lintas where she managed some of the country’s largest consumer brands. At Tirage Worldwide, she handled media consultancy & experiential marketing for various businesses. She proved her prowess in the content analytics domain by spearheading the launch of Doubleclick YouTube in India & South East Asia.

At Google, she conceptualised & delivered compliant launches & programmes in media platform policies through advocacy and governance frameworks. Having worked intensively with large advertiser programs for Google, she used her deep understanding & knowledge of the space to identify gaps that existed between advertisers & publishers. Armed with this insight, she founded Voiro which was at the intersection of data meets technology, which is a strong central need in the market currently.

At Voiro, she has been working hard to scale up the company and to build a dominating presence not only in India but also in the overseas markets. She has been leading a lean, agile, expert team towards steady growth over the past six years. She envisions Voiro being the SaaS partner of choice to all the major content companies in the world. 

Indiantelevision.com caught up with founder & CEO Kavita Shenoy to find out more on the company’s plans.

By Ashwin Pinto


On the market gap she witnessed in 2014 when Voiro was launched

Voiro was built to address a gap on the publisher side of the advertising industry. That was a time when the use of data in digital advertising was only just beginning to proliferate, but a large part of the evolution was on the advertiser side. We realised that publishers were going to grapple with new data-related problems, and we set out to solve some of those. 

The company evolved its offerings over the years

The core problem that Voiro solves has always been to help publishers understand and manage their revenue better. And what has changed is that more & more sectors face similar challenges, so our product has evolved to serve not just media / OTT businesses, but also e-commerce, telecom and potentially gaming. Essentially, anyone who makes money from digital advertising.

On the product front, we have been able to go deeper into our problem space every year. For example, we began with just revenue reporting, but have moved into workflow automation, as well as insights and recommendations. In short, anything to help publishers make more money from their ad inventories.

On the goals for this year

Our focus for this year is growth. We see the industry expanding, our target customer is growing, and we know that the problems we solve are problems that every publisher faces at some point in their growth journey. Our goal for the year is to ride this wave and take our products to more customers and geographies. 

On how Voiro is leveraging growth in the OTT space

OTT has for many years been our core focus, and we work with nearly all of India’s large OTT players. Our goals are to grow our presence in the OTT space abroad, while also ensuring that we take our product to other promising sectors such as e-commerce.

On the challenge that media & entertainment companies face in being data first

Today, collecting data is never a problem, especially for any business in the media space. Putting that data to good use is a completely different problem. We see businesses across our target sectors struggle to organise their wealth of data, ask the right questions, and put the data to use in a way to help drive growth. It is because growth is the only thing that matters to these businesses; just having data is not enough.

On Voiro's recently launched revenue reconciliation product

Revenue reconciliation is at the heart of what Voiro does, and is built to answer a single crucial question for publishers: “How much have I earned so far?”

Digital advertising is incredibly dynamic, and advertising campaigns are subject to extensions, truncations, changes in targeting, and several other situations that affect the delivery of these campaigns. For a media business to understand the state of delivery of several hundreds of parallel campaigns can be challenging, and borders on impossible at a large enough scale.

Revenue reconciliation automates this process for publishers, helping them understand how much money they have made at any point in time, where it came from, and what they should do to grow.

On finding the right product market fit in a rapidly evolving media & entertainment industry

Although media and entertainment businesses are rapidly evolving, the core problem that Voiro solves are the revenue visibility and management - is constant. A business could make money via direct sales or programmatic, from India or abroad, via their website, app or streaming platform. As long as they sell ads, we can help them. And to that extent, product-market fit has not been a challenge to find. 

On the evolution of ad tech from where it was a few years ago

As with the broader industry, adtech is constantly evolving. Products have appeared that solve all kinds of problems on either side of the advertising equation.

But for both publishers and advertisers, the challenge is this: building an adtech stack is easy. Getting the most out of the stack, making sure all the parts work together, and building the right organization around that stack, are the most important questions about adtech today.

OTT platforms need to be more innovative in terms of offering solutions to advertisers

OTT platforms are constantly experimenting with the solutions that they offer advertisers. In fact, to use a prominent example, the growth of IPL ad revenue over the years is due in large part to Star’s willingness to experiment & innovate.

Advertisers are always looking for new ways to reach their customers, just so long as the value is clear. Therefore, OTT platforms are always going to continue to look for new ways to earn their next marketing dollar.

On whether the lack of single currency measurement for digital is hurting the revenues that OTT platforms get

Measurement is an essential aspect of advertising. Advertisers have been willing to accept a variety of measurement metrics for digital marketing, which led to the growth of performance marketing. So on the contrary, this has probably helped grow digital ad revenues, rather than hurt them. However, all publishers (including OTT platforms) must be aware that advertisers will always seek a balance between brand and performance spends. The publishers will always have to look for better and more accurate ways to demonstrate outcomes, even more so as ad rates rise and if businesses are under economic pressure.

On platforms needing to improve the ability to deliver ads in the right context

The challenge here is to achieve micro targeting in a cookie-less world. And inevitably, the answer is for publishers (including OTT platforms) to make use of first-party data. A platform that is able to truly leverage their first-party data will outperform the one that does not, and should be able to command a significant premium for their ad inventory.

On the role of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) when it comes to content & advertising on OTT platforms

AR and VR, at this point, are very nascent technologies, even more so in markets like India. It may be a while yet before we see commercial-scale content and advertising making use of AR and VR, but smart advertisers and publishers are always going to keep an eye out for opportunities.

On how she observes Viacom18 faring with the digital rights of the IPL in the next five years.

The bids for IPL rights, as expected, were significantly higher than the 2017-22 auction, and the winners are going to find it challenging to make a profitable business of it. Regarding the digital rights, it is clear that Viacom18 will have to explore all possible monetisation routes: subscriptions, advertising and transactions.

We see their road ahead in three parts: first, ensuring that they win over all the viewership that Hotstar has amassed over the last five years; this will by no means be automatic. Second, building the infrastructure to deliver advertising at scale to this audience. And finally, pulling out all the stops to maximize their ad revenue over five years. This last part will be hard; Viacom18 will have to really innovate to create more ad spots, formats and properties to monetise, as well as demonstrating real value to advertisers so as to command premium rates.

On whether it is mainly going to be a subscription play

It is hard to see the winners being able to monetise their rights solely via subscriptions. India has been a hard market to win over from a subscriber point of view; this is most easily seen in Netflix & Disney's performance over the last two years. These companies, both running massive and successful global subscription businesses, have both struggled to match that success in India. For the winners, the next five years has to be about a combination of advertising & subscriptions.