Ranjit Thakur in his first venture Scrabble Entertainment (which provides end-to-end digital cinema solution) converted 2,000 screens into 2,000 digital cinemas. While accomplishing the task, Ranjit created a business plan to meet the needs of both the exhibitors and producers.
He travelled across 13 countries, met directors, scriptwriters and had good exposure to both Hollywood and Bollywood industry. The key learning was that the overall solution should be tailored to reduce the cost of content creation and increase the opportunity to monetise the content.
According to PWC’s report, the Indian media and entertainment sector grew 12 percent to reach $25.13 billion in 2015. Ranjit was surprised to know that the success rate of Indian films was just five percent. In 2014, he sold the equity in Scrabble Entertainment and came up with the idea of Media Konnect to address the challenges the industry pose.
Media Konnect is an online global media exchange platform that will enable all industry personnel around the globe to discover, connect and collaborate with each other in the entire media spectrum. The startup aims to reduce the cost of content creation, find the best talent and increase the revenue of the filmmaker.
Despite thousands of feature films, documentaries, digital films and short films, content creators still struggle with the quality and high cost involved in content creation (owing to the inaccessibility of the talent).
From scriptwriters to directors to other technicians, every expertise required to make a film will be listed in a separate category and will be validated and authenticated by Media Konnect. To ensure every expertise is given its due credit, each listed entity will be given its own identity, and this will act as a copyright shield while creating this global idea and talent exchange platform,” said 43-year-old Ranjit, a B.Com graduate from Jai Hind College.
The initial stumbling blocks of bringing a dedicated team were conquered with a seed fund of Rs 9 crore (self-funded).
Presently, the platform does not charge any subscription and will not till MediaKonnect build a large number of subscription base, according to Ranjit. However, they will generate revenues based on various ancillary services like Advertisements, SEO, making projects for studios, reverse auction and cross trading. Ranjit said that the revenue model of Media Konnect will evolve as they move forward with the advent of traffic on the platform.
Despite multiple creative ideas and concepts, many entrant level filmmakers still struggle to make way towards the industry. The bottleneck lies with producers unable to reach out to the right talent pool. Brokerage fees adversely affect a project’s return, thereby restricting the future productions.
Ranjit believes that this inefficacious mechanism should not impede an aspirant filmmaker to take the next step to success. Leveraging the platform of Media Konnect, scriptwriter/filmmakers can reach out to producers who thereby can surface the fresh ideas (which sometimes get buried due to financial and distribution hindrances). What’s more, a script can be translated into various other languages for the consumption in many regions.
The platform will be available globally on Web, iOS and Android and will be released in Spanish, French and Mandarin in the next six months.
Headquartered in The Netherlands, Media Konnect has a team of 15 people from diversified sectors. It presently has 10,500 users including directors, scriptwriters, photographers, media students, designers and producers.
Their target is to achieve the most qualitative subscribers relevant to the industry. Media Konnect will be phased out across USA, Mexico, Canada, France, Japan, Australia, South Korea and UK, which contributes 85 percent of world’s global filmmaking process.
The intent is to first launch and then become very active in several countries. If everything goes as per plan, then Media Konnect will achieve revenue of $6-7 million in about 24 months,” said Ranjit.
According to a report by India Brand Equity Foundation, the Indian media and entertainment sector is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.3 percent to touch Rs 2.26 trillion ($ 33.7 billion) by 2020, while revenues from advertising is expected to grow at 15.9 percent to Rs 99,400 crore ($ 14.82 billion).
In a bid to tap the growing opportunity in the industry, a handful of startups have taken a step forward. Bengaluru-based FilmySphere started as a platform to provide user personalisation around movies, to organise feature film industry data with a focus on niche sections like the Kannada film industry. Mumbai-based Gomolo helps in enhancing the movie experience by allowing users to view movies’ story, cast and crew details, reviews, songs, trailers, news and more. Delhi-based Raasta Films make promos, commercials, explainers, music videos, shorts and documentaries.