Indian video analytics startup Vidooly has acquired over-the-top-content (OTT) startup, iCouchApp. As a part of the deal, Vidooly will get all of iCouchApp’s assets and intellectual property including its technology that powers mobile apps of TV giants like Zee TV and HistoryTV18.
iCouchApp was founded by BIT Meerut graduates, Rabi Gupta and Ashish Kumar. They started with an initial investment of Rs 5 lakh from family and friends. iCouchApp was also a graduate of startup accelerator Morpheus Gang. iNiD Digimedia Pvt Ltd (iCouchApp’s parent company) had raised an undisclosed round of funding from the likes of Google India MD Rajan Anandan, Srikant Sastri, Mumbai Angels and Hyderabad Angels. The funding was used to build out the core technology of smartly integrating traditional TV content and online content.
Related read from 2014: iCouchApp's bid to boost TRPs of TV shows
iCouchApp and technology earlier existed to build an interactive layer over mobile streaming apps and video content. The app allows consumers to discover new videos, interact with TV shows and keep track of their favourite shows, at the same time allowing media companies to create and maintain their own OTT app. iCouchApp claims to have been serving 1.5 million monthly active users on its platform. Commenting on the acquisition, Rabi, Co-founder of iCouchApp said,
Over the years our technology has enabled us to bring immersive and engaging experiences of the traditional TV to the web. With this acquisition we see Vidooly being able to scale our technology much beyond TV to the domain of massively popular online video. Hence we found a natural fit for our product in Vidooly."
Vidooly was launched in November 2014 by Subrat Kar, Ajay Mishra and Nishant Radia. It is an online video intelligent marketing and analytics suite that helps content creators, brands and multi channel networks (MCNs) maximize their organic views, build an audience base and earn more revenues online. It does this through its software suite that offer features such as video tag suggestion, 'best time to upload', search rank analysis, competitor tracking, subscriber behavior analysis and influencer collaboration.
Speaking about the acquisition, Nishant, Co founder of Vidooly said, "Vidooly's aim is to provide intelligent data on the entire ecosystem of online video. We are already doing that with the likes of Youtube, Facebook video and other online video platforms. Since mobile consumption is growing exponentially, iCouchApp’s expertise in the OTT segment will allow Vidooly to provide actionable data across video on-demand platforms and embrace the trend of mainstream TV going online."
Since it’s beta launch in November 2014, Vidooly claims to have added over 5,000 individual YouTube channels and 50 MCNs, across the globe to their list of customers using their dashboard. The startup also claims that nearly 120,000 videos are uploaded every month through Vidooly’s network while it’s big data engine analyses over 500 million monthly videos through its platform.
With the arrival of Netflix and availability of other video streaming services, cord cutting, where users switch to online video in favour of native TV content may become a trend in India. While there are no direct competitors to Vidooly in India, on the global front we came across IneoQuest and ChannelMeter. Coming to MCNs, globally renowned Fullscreen was acquired by AT&T in a deal valued at $200-300 million. Following its footsteps, Maker Studio, another globally acclaimed MCN was acquired by Disney in a deal worth around $950 million in 2014.
Netflix recently forayed into India (and 130 other countries). Then there are other popular streaming services such as Hotstar, Eros Now, HOOQ, Spuul and Lukup Media. On the other side, there is a market of NRIs who wish to watch Indian movies and platforms like Muvizz cater to them with OTT services. These platforms have influenced millenials to stream content online rather than consume it through mainstream television channels.
The number of mobile Internet users in India is expected to cross 371 million by June 2016, according to a recent report released by IAMAI. While desktops and laptops are still the most desired platform for long form video content, Vine and Snapchat are gaining considerable traction for their short or 'bite-sized' videos. So Vidooly's acquisition of iCouchApp helps the startup go after this segment, which could be lucrative in the coming years as more Indians go online. In an earlier interview with YourStory, Vidooly has mentioned about their intentions to go global and this acquisition could help them make inroads in more mature markets.