Customer-centric approach and quality content key to success in OTT space: Vijay Sajja of Evergent

Strap: Evergent’s Vijay Sajja talks about how cloud technology is spurring new growth opportunities in the media and entertainment space and how market forces helped in facilitating its adoption in the industry.
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As India rides the wave of digital transformation, new trends in technology and business growth are emerging across sectors and geographies. Leading the charge around this transformation are Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, which have been leveraging the power of cloud in innovative ways to chart new frontiers of growth.

To showcase and understand the changes that the new India is undergoing, YourStory is hosting the SaaS DNA Fireside Chat Series, in association with AWS, featuring experts across India’s SaaS ecosystem who will share their unique insights around this digital transformation and how it will shape the ecosystem.

Shweta Jain, APAC Head of Business Development Media & Entertainment, AWS spoke to Vijay Sajja, Founder and CEO of Evergent, a Silicon Valley-based technology company that offers cloud-based revenue and customer management services, to understand how cloud technology has changed the face of media and entertainment (M&E) space, the factors that led to its adoption, and what makes for a successful Over the Top (OTT) platform, among other topics.

How cloud technology is enabling new growth opportunities in M&E

Vijay explained that Evergent works with telecommunications providers around the world that are trying to enter new segments at a time which is critical to the market. “Half of our customers are telecom service providers and the other half are media companies. They all have similar requirements: the need for the ability to launch something quickly, or change things in their current system and to do it efficiently,” he says.

The company worked with Sony Liv, a leading broadcaster in India, to set up their OTT operations. And while it already had a few million users registered on their platform, Evergent deployed its OTT solution, which leverages AWS services, and migrated their users onto the new platform to witness tremendous growth. This was largely possible due to popular offerings such as Kaun Banega Crorepati.

Market forces played critical role in cloud adoption:

According to Vijay, market forces accelerated the adoption of cloud technology in an industry that was heavily reliant on inflexible back office systems. “Some of these companies tried to build their own systems and failed. And that is where we got the idea to build brand new customer lifecycle solutions (using cloud technology),” says Vijay.

And while they were hesitant to propose cloud as an alternative to their customers initially, a lot of these companies were tasked to get the infrastructure ready to launch new services quickly.

“They wanted to build (the new media products) quickly, and weren’t going to wait for their IT department to get the necessary infrastructure ready. And that was the first time we went to AWS. This year, we were able to get all of our customers, barring one, on AWS,” he says.

User experience key to growth in OTT industry:

With the growing number of OTT players in the M&E industry, Vijay believes that successful players in this space are obsessed with their customers, and are continuously looking at the various use cases to reduce friction and churn.

To that end, Evergent has a large set of data that it has attained from working with many customers in different regions which brings about very high predictability from its customers. “We can then get proactive and send notifications, and could use this data to come up with new content...and content is king at the end of the day. You have to invest in your product. Ultimately, it is all about great storytelling. And if you tell these stories well, then the customers are going to stay,” he says.

Migration services: A new opportunity

Talking about future initiatives, Vijay recounts how many of Evergent’s customers are special service providers, and some are often stuck with legacy systems as opposed to risking migration. “With cloud, we have an interesting way of migrating those on-premise systems that are costing millions of dollars a year to maintain and minimise the risk. We are doing some interesting work in these areas, and helping them launch the digital services,” he says, adding that they are also working with companies that are looking to simultaneously launch their offerings in multiple countries.

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