[App Fridays] This homegrown video streaming service wants India to fall in love with documentaries

DocuBay is a premium video-streaming app for documentaries from around the world. Last year, it earned a Special Mention in the Entertainment category of the AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge.
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DocuBay, a subscription-led documentary streaming app, entered India’s cluttered OTT market in 2019 when its parent company IN10 Media realised that the factual entertainment segment was largely untapped. 

Existing local and global OTT operators didn’t quite focus on non-fiction content, until the launch of Discovery+ in India in March 2020. Today, Discovery+ is DocuBay’s primary competitor in the domestic video-streaming space. 

DocuBay seeks to hit the sweet spot between long-form audiovisual storytelling (as seen on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, etc.) and non-fiction books with HD content that can be consumed on-the-go.

There are hundreds of documentaries to choose from across genres, including crime, nature, biography, culture, travel, history, music, sports, humanity, adventure, politics, and more, with one new title added each day.

DocuBay hundreds of documentaries across genres and categories

DocuBay has garnered over 100,000 installs on Google Play Store, and is rated 4.1 out of 5. On the Apple App Store, the app has a higher rating of 4.3. 

The service can be accessed in 170 countries across operating systems and devices, including Android, iOS, Roku, Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Samsung Smart TV, Mi LED TV, and LG smart television sets.

Viewers can choose from three subscription plans: Annual (Rs 999), Quarterly (Rs 499) and Monthly (199). On the iOS ecosystem, DocuBay enables family sharing for up to six members.

The annual all-access plan offers unlimited downloads, two simultaneous streams and access to 4K titles, while the other two bundle a single stream and three downloads per month. Users also get some additional benefits in the annual plan.  

DocuBay offers a three-tier subscription plan

Differentiated content on offer

DocuBay is targeted at urban, English-speaking audiences who want to stay informed about the pressing issues that concern humanity. 

The platform offers a wide range of acclaimed and award-winning documentaries such as Epicenter: 24 Hours in Wuhan, Asian Maids: Invisible Modern Slaves, The Harvey Weinstein Scandal, Che Guevara: The Face that Lead a Revolution, Himalayan Gold Rush, The Last Cavemen, Raghu Rai: Unframed Portrait, Stonehenge: The Temple of Druids, Orphans of ISIS, Weapons of Mass Surveillance, Sea Gypsies, and more.

DocuBytes is an Instagram Stories-like curation of documentary previews

The titles are categorised under TechBay, NatureBay, TravelBay, ScienceBay, CultureBay, BiographyBay, AdventureBay, EcoBay, SportsBay, WildLife Bay, TravelBay, PoliticsBay, MusicBay, CrimeBay, and HumanityBay on the homepage.

There’s also DailyBay (for latest releases), TrendingBay (for most-watched titles), FreeBay (for free documentaries), and RelatedBay (for similar title reccos).

You can search for documentaries by title, topic or keyword

DocuBay also serves up an Instagram Stories-like curation of short snippets or free previews of documentaries in the DocuBytes section to whet the viewer’s appetite; and DocuBusters (documentary blockbuster) that house prominent releases that are either award-winning titles or ones that cover a vital subject. 

You can also select the LIVE channel to sit back and enjoy a curated playlist of docus without having to choose anything manually.

Apart from Indian content, DocuBay also sources titles from documentary filmmakers, international collaborators, distributors, and catalogue owners in France, Croatia, Norway, Brazil, Germany, China, and several other markets.   

There is a lot of emphasis on curation and discovery of content. Users can create their own watch lists on the app and also invite friends.

DocuBay is available in 170 countries across devices and OS

Verdict: Refreshing addition to the OTT landscape

Does India need another OTT service on top of its 45-odd existing ones? Yes, if it can add a different kind of value and bring about a refreshing viewing experience.

On that count alone, DocuBay is a clutter-breaker. 

The platform wants to break the myth that documentaries are boring, and appeal to the globally aware Indian, who has an affinity for content exploration and also the willingness to pay for streaming. 

The 76-MB app replicates Netflix’s black-and-red colour scheme to good effect, and also takes a leaf out of the streaming giant’s documentary library. 

Last year, DocuBay won a Special Mention in the ‘Entertainment’ category in the AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge. Special mentions are awarded to apps that “have the potential to be winners in future”, the government stated. 

It’s still early days for DocuBay, but it has great potential to become an infotainment powerhouse — built in India for the world.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta