Pocket Films is a distributor of short, independent, animation films and documentaries which encourages independent, upcoming and novice filmmakers. The company was started by Tejash Shah, Kaushal Shah and Sameer Mody in 2006 as 1takemedia.com with the intent of providing opportunities for the film and TV industry.
The trio started with a database (online yellow pages) for the industry, followed by providing jobs and casting opportunities and finally distribution of content and film contests.
“While screening candidates for the jobs vertical, we observed that most resumes included an association with a short film or documentary. Upon further inquiry we got to know that a majority of them had no idea what to do with such films,” says Sameer.
By April 2010, the trio divided the business verticals among themselves, and Sameer took over the content and contests vertical of the business. “In 2012, we rebranded ourselves as ‘Pocket Films’, to clearly define our activities and also avoid confusion with the other verticals of 1takemedia.com,” adds Sameer.
During 2008, the trio realized that a lot of talent and content was not being able to reach out to a wider audience. YouTube had started in India around that time. “We seized the opportunity and became one of the early channel partners for YouTube and created a channel for screening of short films, documentaries and indie films,” points out Sameer.
At present, the company receives about 22.5 million pageviews on a monthly basis across network of channels on Youtube. Pocket Films has consistently grown year on year. From one channel on YouTube generating around 3000 views a day in 2010 to a network of channels currently generating over 750,000 views a day, it has (www.youtube.com/pocketfilms) 3,000 plus films and 100,000 plus subscribers.
Plans for scaling up
“We recently partnered with NDTV Prime for a weekly show titled ‘Prime Talkies with Pocket Films’ to showcase some of the best films from our library on national television. Short films were generally believed to remain on online platforms (which is our strength), but with the support of NDTV we have managed to reach out to TV audiences throughout the country thereby reaching out to a demographic which is not necessarily online,” says Sameer.
Among other new initiatives, Pocket Films started producing animated content for kids though its sister channel, Little Kids Channel.
The company earns revenues primarily from advertisements alongside content on the internet and via some pay-per-view platforms on mobile. “While we are growing at a healthy rate of 60-75% annually, revenues from digital advertisements still have a long way to go. A lean team of under 10 enables us to keep a check on costs and remain profitable,” adds Sameer.
Motivation behind being an entrepreneur
“Being from a Gujarati business family, one can say that entrepreneurship is in our genes. Doing business is the only way to think. Secondly, despite all the difficulties faced by an entrepreneur the freedom of being your boss is paramount. Further, the satisfaction of achieving your goals and make a difference to a large number of people is something I wouldn’t trade for anything,” says Sameer.