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"We help machines learn the content and AI understand the content": TMW COO Ratnendra K. Pandey

TMW is targeting Rs 50 crore in revenue in the new fiscal and expects 10X YoY growth.

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Mumbai: Indian hyperlocal content and resource distribution platform TriVayu Media Works (TMW), which was founded on 29 March 2020, is going from strength to strength. The Noida-based company, which claims to be the country’s first hyperlocal content distribution company, today has more than 10 micro-offices and over 10,000 content partners in India. It was co-founded by Tanu Shree Rawat and Ratnendra K. Pandey. TMW said that it helps Indian companies target the hyperlocal market by creating super-niche content, marketing, and resource services.

TMW has been providing a wide array of services which include resource management (end-to-end customer success services in 12 languages); content learning (content moderations, tagging, grading services in 12 languages); creative designs (2D, 3D, motion graphics, VFX); bulk content (India’s largest ecosystem to manually crawl content, write articles, create memes and photos).

Presently, TMW has 15 full-time employees, 60 project-based (ad-hoc) employees, and 600+ contract-based partners.

TMW says that its mission is to make the youth of India self-reliant with the simple tool of the internet and to create an effective ecosystem which recruits and trains more and more candidates. TMW has a network of over 10,000 people and has a unique micro-office-based model that it claims no other company currently offers.

TMW added that it has catered to the needs of over 110 clients and reached out to over one billion users through its various social media platforms. The company is targeting Rs 50 crore in revenue in the new fiscal and expects 10X year-on-year growth. TMW is aiming to open two studios to support India’s rising live streaming content industry. One studio will be based in Noida while the other will operate out of Lucknow.

Indiantelevision.com caught up with Ratnendra K. Pandey to find out more about the company’s plans. His responsibility is to manage the lead operations and steer the strategy for all departments. As the Chief of Operations, he is keen to raise the brand as per the companies’ requirements and immediate goals.

He started his career as a journalist at a time when very few realised the potential of internet content. Initially, he started working at the digital desk of Star News (now ABP News). He has also worked with many companies, including Terrevive, a Hong Kong-based tech company; CCM Benchmark, a Paris-based content company; and a couple of more clients.

To kick-start TMW, Pandey invested rupees eight lakh in 2020 from his own savings to strengthen the operations, on-board the right talent, and boost the growth of TMW.

In his free time, Pandey loves to travel and explore new destinations. From 2017 onwards, he has explored 50 cities across 10 countries in the world. Traveling re-energizes the lost soul and fosters a sense of unity and love among his family members.

Edited excerpts:

On the market gap that he saw when launching TriVayu Media Works in 2020

Ratnendra: The story of TMW started five years ago. When I was working with UCBrowser, I saw that when I had to reach out to people in tier two and tier three cities, I had no agencies. Agencies were in the metros and it was unusual for them to reach out to tier two and three cities. If they wanted someone who could create a video and write articles, it was difficult to find.

This was the market gap that existed. So, before starting TMW, I spent six months developing a community network. These people are very well-trained in creating and writing content in hyperlocal languages based in tier two and tier three cities. They can do multiple things in the content domain.

On whether COVID-19 forced a course correction

Ratnendra: When I started TMW, Covid-19 had not yet arrived. In January 2020, I visited multiple cities in UP and Rajasthan. I thought of training people in these cities. For me, it is a personal story, since I come from a small city. TMW gives them training. I did this before officially launching operations. Covid-19 came in March. It gave us the power to support brands that were struggling. Brands were not getting the support from agencies as, all of a sudden, everyone was working from home. We were working on developing in a community that worked from home.

On the services that TMW offers, like resource management and content learning

Ratnendra: When you talk about resource management, there are two major domains, one being content moderation, tagging, and placing. Fake news is a concern for brands. On Instagram reels, you see similar content on your timeline. The majority of content is tagged by a human. So if someone is driving a car in a short video, it will be defined to the machine by a human being. Every video is defined. Similarly, if there is a bad video on level one, it will be filtered by AI (artificial intelligence), but on level two, there will be human interference. It is human interference that is tagging the content. We help machines learn the content. We help AI understand the content.

On the 10,000 content partners that TMW works with

Ratnendra: We try to develop smaller communities in tier two and three cities. In Rajasthan, we have around 1,500–1,600 people working for us. They are college graduates or post-graduate students. There are communities in 13 cities. In some, we have 100 people, 200 people, or 1,000 people. We educate and on-board them for more and more work.

On the work that TMW does with clients like ShareChat and MXPlayer

Ratnendra: We have been providing them with content services. For MXPlayer, we provide content learning services. A show concluded recently. The show was streaming 24*7. There is the comment section open to everyone, so people may use abusive language while commenting. It is the platform's responsibility to not allow such comments. We were helping them filter such comments, delete them, and take action against the users. It was moderation work for the platform. For Sharechat, we provide them with trending content services based on events.

On TMW’s USP vis-a-vis competition

Ratnendra: There is no company that gives all our offerings. Some companies provide 30 percent of what we do. We also have quickly available resources. We work on that side before a client approaches us. We can service a client in 48 hours. We organise smaller events to train employees on clients' requirements. So a brand may come tomorrow and ask for 20 people.

We are ready for it and we are quick in terms of providing resources. We are also strong on the hyperlocal side. So we can provide someone in Rajasthan with a local dialect. Haryanvi farmers speak Haryanvi—a dialect and not a language. We can provide a company with someone who speaks this dialect and can then create a promotional video. The aim is to make the communication process smooth.

On the two studios that will be opened to leverage the streaming opportunity

Ratnendra: Streaming is the next big thing that is happening in the country. We are opening one studio in Noida and another in Lucknow. It is about serving as many businesses as possible. Resource or content creators must not have to travel as much. The aim is to save clients money, time and make it more feasible for the creators. If this is successful, we will open more studios and penetrate deeper.

On the key things that marketers need to keep in mind when they use Internet-based channels to generate maximum ROI

Ratnendra: The most important part is choosing the correct medium, whether it is influencer marketing or another platform.If you have to target a farmer and promote a tractor, you should target a Youtube influencer to do the job, not someone on Instagram or Facebook. They have a specific way of narrating & more and more people watch them from the farming community in villages. This is why research is important.

On trends seen in influencer marketing

Ratnendra: The trend is going to be hyperlocal. It has always been there. When you travel by road in Europe, the language changes. When you go from one country to another, the language changes. If you take a highway from Chandigarh to Maharashtra, you will encounter six to seven languages. You have platforms that target a certain language.

Similarly, on social media, you see content in different languages. You do not have to use Hindi to speak to a farmer in a tier two or three city. If a brand is targeting consumers in Uttarakhand, then why not create an app in the Kumauni language? Why must you use Hindi? That is the opportunity for TMW.

On the role of regional in brand storytelling

Ratnendra: This trend started four years ago. Increasingly, you are seeing billboards in local languages. Other media will soon adopt more local languages. There is also a joy in conversing in one’s mother tongue. If an advertiser or brand wants to communicate a message, why not do it in a language that the consumer is most comfortable with? It is important to adapt to things in the local lingo.

On whether brands use social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter better

Ratnendra: Brands explore them. They use them. It is just that initially there was only English, then Hindi came, and then came the local languages. In the future, more local languages will debut. Brands that aspire to become big will go the local language route in communication.

On TMW launching a podcast

Ratnendra: The podcast aims to connect the brands that work with us with more people from tier two to three cities. The podcast communicates through voice. We will make multiple cuts and distribute them through multiple platforms, like short video apps. A podcast is the only thing that can be cut and distributed in as many mediums as possible.

Memes are also doing well, but they target only a specific kind of audience. But the podcast format has a future in the country. It is still in an early stage in the country, and in the future it will take a larger piece of the communication pie. We are seeing influencers in fields like finance using podcasts and doing pretty well.

On how brands are using augmented reality, AI, and machine learning to enhance their campaigns

Ratnendra: Access is a challenge for augmented reality. There is a section of Times Square where such advertisements can be seen, but there is no such platform in India. Technology has to become easier to access. Most of the country stays in tier two and tier three cities. Until they can access it easily, it will not become a trend. In video creation, you do not need to involve AI or ML; you only use them for content distribution. They do play a role in determining where the TG of a campaign resides.

On trustworthiness being an issue when one talks about digital trust

Ratnendra: This is where branding comes into the picture. You will struggle till people trust you, especially if you are a D2C brand. You have to convince them, or you will not be able to sell.

On LinkedIn’s efforts at content creation

Ratnendra: LinkedIn is a professional community focused majorly on corporate intellectuals. The platform has also started paying attention to the creators. So, as it is majorly targeting people in metro and tier 1 cities, it is not likely that we see a lot of content in languages other than English. Yes, they have recently started promoting Hindi. It is exciting! The content on LinkedIn generally floats in two directions—formal or more educational. I believe, as far as the video content is concerned, it is an early stage for them. It is a promising area, but the category is limited. Success stories are popular. Business and finance stories are popular. But if you talk about the massy content, it will not get that kind of traction on LinkedIn. In fact, users on LinkedIn clearly understand it. However, during the last few months, LinkedIn has also become video-friendly. But right now it will not appeal to tier two, tier three cities.

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