Abhishek Anand, WebMurga

Television continues to be the preferred choice of leisure for most Indians and yet in the busy lives we lead, it is not unusual to forget the schedules of what is playing when. Add to it the availability of over a 100 channels on an average cable TV set and what you have is the math of millions of individuals with varied viewing preferences. Mind-boggling? Not for Abhishek Anand, founder of webmurga.com, a service that was founded to allow users to view the schedule of Indian television channels in a categorized format keeping in mind the fact that different users might be interested in different categories of television programs. 

Missed your favorite action flick on television yet again last night? Log in to www.webmurga.com, view the schedule of the category that you are interested in and set an alert to remind you before the start of the program. Its like having a personal television viewing assistant. Don’t fret anymore about having to memorize the schedules of the IPL matches everyday or any other shows anytime.

The facility lets users browse for their preference through channel, show or genre categories where the schedules are displayed on a single page as per the expressed interest. Registered users can set SMS alerts on their mobile phone notifying them of the program starting on a particular channel at the scheduled time. The best part is that it is a free service with no registration fee or limit on the number of alerts one can subscribe for. Explains Abhishek “We were not looking at providing services to our users, we are giving them facilities – hence any WebMurga user, at any point of time, will not have to pay a dime to access our facility. Information should not be charged for, and it would be unfair at our end to ask users to pay for it.” How does WebMurga manage to keep the cash registers ringing then? 

“Our business model is primarily through selling ad space on our website. However even here we have no intention of hoarding advertisements all across. Anything that might cause the slightest discomfort in a happy televiewing session of a user is a strict NO!” 

Which also explains the non-existence of spam and promotional emails or text messages, as also the fact that one need not be a registered user to access the channel schedules.

When asked how long do they think they can sustain this model, Abhishek explains matter-of-factly “Television can safely be called the most widely used medium of entertainment in the country. If you talk about a user who watches atleast 10 hours of television every week, then you are practically covering the entire population residing in cities, and even small towns and this number is only bound to increase”. 

What makes it even more promising is Abhishek’s vision of making WebMurga a television hangout place starting with telenetworking - dedicated pages for popular television shows, where users can discuss the plot, characters and all else which means that even if you missed an episode of your favorite show, there is always the possibility of having someone else to update you on it.

A simple idea executed in a simple yet effective way. How did it all begin for Abhishek?

“I was still working as a Analyst with a Research Firm when the idea struck. Commitments kept me working long hours and I wasn’t convinced that I was giving my best to the concept. That’s when I decided to put in my papers. I worked for a few more months to build upon the savings, borrowed a loan from friends and family and in February 2009, dedicated my entire time to WebMurga.” 

But why entrepreneurship at all? His answer is rather simple - "Because I know I can. The satisfaction associated with doing the things you want to is one of those few things that would give you a good night’s sleep. If I have the talent that would make a corporate hire me on a fat paycheck, why use that talent for someone else?” 

All of 23, Abhishek admits that the thought of leaving it all for a regular job with a decent paycheck did cross his mind but his motivation comes from the smallest of things like reading a quote or looking at a few rupee notes given by his mother that he still preserves. 

Just recently WebMurga started a program “Team Ambassador”, for individuals to contact and show their interest in helping to promote the site for which the team shows its appreciation by sharing WebMurga merchandise. The response has been encouraging and they have already received appreciation from India as well as abroad. 

The team also aspires to come up with a couple of more web-based services in different domains catering to separate groups of users browsing the internet for information, where just like its inception, all the services offered by WebMurga will always be free of cost. 

To his friends who aspire to start-up, Abhishek’s message is “You need to be willing to revisit your plans, improvise and sometimes even get back to the last progress point, only to move ahead with a new plan of action. There is no problem that doesn’t come with a guide key. But if you got to learn something, you got to get your hands dirty.”


Updates from around the world