Showcasing young talent, how ATKT.in is creating a content platformSampath Putrevu
Saurabh and Prashant started ATKT.in to cater to younger audiences and bring together a community to promote arts.
Founders: Saurabh Kanwar, Prashant Sardesai
Year it was founded: July 2016
Where is it based: Mumbai
The problem it solves: Offers content in arts and performances strictly to youth
Funding raised: Undisclosed seed funding by Deadline Advertising
Ask any student, and the term ATKT assumes special meaning. In the Indian education system, Allowed To Keep Term, or ATKT is a process that allows candidates to move on to the next level of a course even if they have not cleared a paper.
When Saurabh and Prashant sought to engage with a young audience, the name ATKT.in resonated. Both have decades of experience in conceptualising, creating and producing content for television, and the digital medium, and built ATKT.in seeing that content producers were finding it tough to engage with young audiences.
"Many of the current solutions are more old-world – taking what works on traditional media (think print ads and TV commercials) and dumping it on Facebook and YouTube. Brand managers and owners know this is not how a young consumer engages with these platforms. Young consumers love brands that address their specific interests, and give them a steady stream of content that matches those interests."
The ATKT.in platform hosts content from students - be it in the sphere of performing arts such as singing, dancing, or stand-up comedy; visual arts like photography, painting, graphic design, or cartooning; literary arts like poetry or story writing. Community members create and share their work for with their fans and followers.
To generate content, Saurabh and Prashant started off with visiting 30 college festivals to onboard contributors and soon built a strong network such that they now receive content from across the country.
ATKT has a team of 15 people across video production, talent relationships, college-level liaising, digital marketing, content management and editorial. It has hosted over 1,500 videos, 1,000 blog posts, and a significant amount of allied material.
How does it work?
The main operation of ATKT is content generation. It is then hosted on the website to be distributed and marketed through channels like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, personal blogs and even websites to generate revenue.
For video content, ATKT teams go to college festivals across the country and cover key events. In addition, over 800 colleges from 40+ cities send in content to be hosted on the ATKT platform.
"Hundreds of singers, dancers, poets, and other artistes send in their content each month, which are showcased on the various ATKT.in platforms. ATKT.in aims to grow this base by enabling more talented college kids in more cities to send in quality content."
The company also organises a Talent Tent, where students showcase their talent. Talent Tents are organised every other week in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Bengaluru and the company plans to extend it to more cities.
A smaller, more focused community of selected talent – Cypher – showcases eight categories of music, dance, stand up comedy, theatre, performance poetry, writing, photography, and fine arts. Students featured here are provided with resources, mentors and training to hone their talent so they can become high-quality content creators.
"Currently, all the 2 million-plus monthly views on the YouTube channel are organic, and about 60 percent of the views on the YouTube channel are from its own recommendation engine. ATKT has not done any media spends or campaigns at this point."
There are three sets of ‘customers’ that ATKT caters to. First, the youth who create the content. Second are audiences who engage with the content, and third are institutions and brands looking to engage with the young audiences.
How is it unique?
Talking about the uniqueness of ATKT, Saurabh says it works for advertisers looking for ways to engage with young audiences in a cost-effective manner.
"For each new piece of content, audiences have to be fired up almost from scratch, especially if the content is sporadic. Also, while every brand that targets this audience wants to have a long-term presence on campuses across the country, it is logistically very complex as each college can be its own animal."
He says ATKT is uniquely positioned, and has created long-lasting relationships with colleges and talent, which enables a cost-effective continuous stream of highly varied content.
While ATKT has completed a few pilot campaigns for brands in the past, Saurabh and Prashant consider it 'pre-revenue' and are focusing on creating the minimum viable product. While the product has been in the building stage over the last 12-18 months, the founders are already marketing and selling properties for the next college season.
ATKT is partly self-funded, and has received some funds from Deadline Advertising as seed funding.
"Sponsored digital video has already shown some traction and the sky is the limit. Broadly speaking, there will be a few sub-models – sponsored digital content, focused brand solutions, or associations with star talent (who will become ‘influencers’), among others."
Market and competition
Mainstream platforms in the television and digital video space include MTV, AIB, TVF, Arre and FilterCopy.
"Though their content is genetically built for this audience, their model is different - they are not driven by any single continuous stream of content, the content is sporadic, and individual videos or series are sold at a high value," he adds.
"The first task is to build the core products and make them robust, including spreading the reach to more college festivals and more talent," says Saurabh.
While ATKT.in is currently available on multiple platforms – it has its own website, YouTube channel, Facebook page and other social media presence - Saurabh and Prashant envision the content to eventually be consolidated on its own platforms. The founders conclude saying they see this taking shape over the next 12-24 month period once revenue streams are more visible, and they secure further funding.
Having A/B tested his career with engineering, sales, writing, and product management, Sampath now executes a callback function for a second stint with YourStory. Loves to eat, learn, write, travel, and take photographs. Often spotted consuming lethal doses of Dosa on the main roads of Bangalore. Tweet to him at @sampathptrvu.