FilmySphere: a social movie platform to follow celebrities and get discovered
Ganesh HS started his first venture IdeaCarve Technologies, a software development-cum-digital marketing firm in 2010. In 2013, his venture bagged the contract for promoting ‘Autoraja’, a Kannada movie starring superstar Ganesh. While promoting the flick he observed businesses invest significant amount on ads featuring celebrities like movie stars and cricketers to push their product.
While Ganesh HS was running a service company, he was always tempted to launch a product-based venture. This led him to launch FilmySphere, a social movie platform which allows movie fans to follow their favourite celebrities, movies and discover upcoming talent auditions and jobs.
FilmySphere.com uses Facebook social graph to identify friends already on the platform and analyse which movies they’re watching, their favourite celebrities and movies, including reviews posted by them. Recommendation helps people watch movies based on what their social network or FilmySphere users are talking about.
Before he started FilmySphere, Ganesh worked for eight years in startups and conglomerate like Yahoo Inc. “Since I have a technology background I wanted a co-founder who has strong domain expertise in movies,” says Ganesh. He met Gaurish S Akki, a page-three journalist, who was convinced with the idea of FilmySphere. “We had 15 meetings and Gaurish came on board,” he adds. Besides Ganesh and Gaurish, Rudresh H S, Ganesh’s brother, is the third co-founder of FilmySphere.
Initially, FilmySphere decided to bring Kannada, Tamil and Telugu film audience on Facebook. “We tested whether our assumption was true, and it worked and we have 26,000 plus fans on Facebook and close to 1,00,000 Kannada movie buffs reach us every week. So we decided to first focus on Kannada movie industry and then scale to Tamil, Telugu and Hindi,” adds Ganesh. The startup will promote the upcoming Kannada movies – ‘Rose’, ‘Chandralekha’, ‘Bahuparak’, ‘Ulidavaru Kandante’, ‘Ugramm’ and ‘Preethi Geethi Ityadi’.
The three-month old startup primarily solves two pain points. It helps users discover feature, short and independent films and get recommendations from their network on which one to watch. On the other hand, FilmySphere connects young artists and film fraternity via its marketplace model. It allows production houses to post jobs and requirements for a particular film while assignment seekers (artists) create their profile and search jobs.
In terms of traction, FilmySphere has about 700 registered users, and adds close to 200 users on a monthly basis. “We initially thought the platform should be pure-play online but later realized that internet centric model isn’t scalable as far as interviewing celebrities are concerned. Now we see the importance of integrating online and offline activities,” says Ganesh.
FilmySphere.com travels to different places to interview celebrities and now it is looking to set up three mini production houses for the same.
It plans to do a five-day program where selected new talents will get mentoring opportunity from feature film actors and directors with a chance to work in their movies. In 2014, the startup plans to expand to Tamil and Telugu film industry and next year it will look at integrating Marathi, Bengali and Hollywood industry with FilmySphere. “As of now FilmySphere is a bootstrapped venture and we can run the startup for another 12-15 months without raising any funds,” adds Ganesh.