The Internet and technology have changed our world, and we are now never really ‘alone’, anymore. With smartphones almost becoming natural extensions of one’s hand, people are always looking to interact with their friends and family. BOXD, founded by a brother duo, believes that the TV viewing experience can be dramatically improved with its social network app- BOXD.
What is BOXD?
As a TV companion, BOXD aims to help users discover shows based on their interest, allows users to set reminders and also chat with like-minded friends and users who have similar interests. Through public and private chat rooms, users can engage in group chats with other viewers of TV shows, movies or sporting events or chat individually with their friends or family.
Users can write reviews, recommend TV shows to their friends and ‘check into’ TV shows they are watching. Abhishek Jain, co-founder of BOXD, noted,
BOXD makes use of audio-recognition technology to provide users with recommendations on shows, music and products based on what is being viewed by them on TV.
Story so far
BOXD was founded by Abhishek and Ashish Jain in April 2016. Abhishek, an alumnus of XLRI, Jamshedpur, started his career as a finance manager at Cadbury. Post that stint, his love for designing and structuring new products took him to the product team at Tata Capital.
Ashish, on the other hand, is a techie and has been working in the field of Internet marketing since he was 17. As a freelance developer and SEO consultant, he worked on multiple projects, like a car pooling website, a refurbished mobile marketplace, mobile games and several more in the last decade, before starting BOXD with his brother.
As avid TV watchers, they found that the end user experience was partly broken and could be better. So they decided to launch BOXD to help users make TV viewing a more organised and collaborative, real-time experience.
As of October 2016, the team claims to have reached a landmark of 7,600 installs with users spread across India. The founders feel that the biggest USP of the app is letting users socialise while enjoying their favourite TV show or newshour debate.
BOXD is currently free to download and use and devoid of ads. While the venture is at a pre-revenue stage, the team aims to reach at least 25,000 users before they start monetising the app.
Abhishek noted that the goal is to keep the app free for end users and monetise through B2B channels like native ads on the timelines by tying up with media houses and producers for in-app promotion of TV shows and movies. BOXD also aims to tie up with e-commerce companies to drive second-screen advertising through audio content recognition and look at it as a potential revenue source.
BOXD is currently bootstrapped and the founders have been running the venture through their personal savings. Abhishek noted that they are actively looking for investors at this stage, to increase investment in the technology and team. Currently available only on Android, the team aims to launch an iOS app in the future based on traction and feedback from the market.
While the popularity of online streaming services such as Netflix has made the TV guide obsolete for some users, a large portion of the Indian population still actively engage with content on their television screens. Also a large portion of TV viewers are known to multi-task on their smartphones, engaging in conversation with friends or family while watching their favourite TV show.
On the global front, Fav.tv, which was founded in 2010 and based out of Mountain View, California, was acquired by TV Guide for an undisclosed amount in 2012. But the dynamics of the industry have been changing. Reports suggest that short-form videos from platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are seeing higher engagement compared to TV shows.
BOXD is an interesting value proposition that combines the best features of a TV guide and social network and packages them into one product. While the app is a great minimum viable product (MVP), it is still rough around the edges and could do better with some user interface tweaks and better image optimisation. The current homescreen looks too cluttered and the text is too small to entice a user to click and explore further.
But for a bootstrapped venture, BOXD has executed well by understanding the Indian mentality and needs. The in-app chat rooms are fun to explore with a wide variety of topics ranging from cricket to popular English and Hindi TV shows and movies. While BOXD curates popular movie trailers, music videos and short films, it may need to give it more prominence and real estate on the app as the millennial generation are rapidly moving away from consuming TV content.
Download their app here.
What do you think about this app, do let us know in the comments below. Also do check out other apps under our App Fridays series.