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Breaking the language barrier, these brothers are making movies universal with their app

Gurugram-based Cinedubs, founded by brothers Aditya and Vineet Kashyap, helps moviegoers watch movies in the language of their preference. To date, 80,000 film soundtracks have been downloaded by more than 35,000 users around the world.

Breaking the language barrier, these brothers are making movies universal with their app

Thursday September 07, 2023 , 5 min Read

India’s box office, which was traditionally dominated by Hindi language movies, has diversified over the last few years with films from other languages, especially those from south India, ruling the game. While the appetite of the Indian audience has expanded, not all movies are dubbed in all languages. For example, RRR was released only in four languages—Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Hindi.

Aditya Kashyap faced a similar issue when he was in Paris in 2015 and wanted to watch Mission Impossible. However, the only shows available were in French.

He realised that while cities have become more global and are a melting pot of different cultures with people who speak different languages, movies release only in select languages

“Despite dubbed movies in regional languages, they are not available at nearby theatres. Distribution and releasing movies in regional languages is costly, requiring separate screens per language,” he explains in a conversation with YourStory.

He teamed up with his brother Vineet Kashyap in 2016 to find a language-agnostic solution. Four years later, they founded Cinedubs. Its app, launched in July 2022, enables users to enjoy movies in their own language at the movie theatre, irrespective of the language in which the movie is being played.

It took the founders two years to get rights to their first film—Rocketry: The Nambi Effect. Now it has rights to 15 movies, including Vikrant Rona, Sita Ramam, Karthikeya 2, Godfather, Yashoda, Bhediya, Vijayanand, Dhamaka, Michael, and August 16 1947.

Meet the founders

Aditya has over 25 years of leadership experience in the aviation industry, IBM Daksh, Genpact, and Aegis. Before launching Cinedubs, he was CEO of the global customer experience company Majorel India.

Vineet has led software development and product management at HCL, Newgen Software, Wirkle INC, Aricent, and Frog. He also served as CEO at Headspire Technologies, a software development company, where he built a casual dating app Mixxxer, which was acquired by US-based dating site AdultFriendFinder.

The founders have invested around half a million dollars from savings over 3-4 years to develop the app and establish the company.

How does it work?

Using a smartphone, Cinedubs app allows users to download soundtracks of a film in their preferred language before watching the movie in a theatre. The soundtrack is downloaded using Digital Rights Management (DRM) and the audio is synchronised when seated in the theatre.

Using the 3D data structure classified frequency indexing (CFI) method developed in-house, Cinedubs app records five seconds of audio from the screen using the microphone and detects the film's timestamp. The patent-pending technology syncs the audio and plays the downloaded soundtrack in the original 3D spatial soundtrack through the headphones. (Spatial audio refers to audio that has been designed to have a 3D quality.)

“Once inside the theatre, they can connect their headphones and hit the play button. Sound will automatically sync with the scene running on the screen and start it in their language,” explains Aditya, Co-founder and Managing Director of Cinedubs.

Cinedubs hosts and distributes original dubbed movie soundtracks in multiple languages in partnership with film production houses and content owners.

“Initially, explaining 'Cinedubs' to the Indian film industry and production houses was challenging due to the lack of co-founders' connections and the difficulty of securing 2-3 minutes with a producer to show a demo,” he recalls.

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The Gurugram-based startup’s 8-member team works with production companies including Jio Studios, People Media Factory, AAArts, Tricolour Films, R Madhavan, VRL Media, Purple Bull, Shalini Arts, Ed Entertainments, and Mythri Movies.

"We are in talks with almost all production houses in India for their upcoming films. We are in the final stages of discussions with Hollywood production houses including Warner Bros and Universal Studios and will soon begin hosting their films," Aditya asserts.

While the app is primarily built for moviegoers, the founders say one can also use it while watching movies on OTT platforms.

Business of dubbing

Cinedubs app is developed in-house by Dubswork Mobile. DubsWorks was also featured at the first-ever Film Technology Exhibition held at the 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.

Users can download the mobile app from Google Play Store or Apple Store, where it has a rating of 4.5 and 5, respectively.

Currently, it is free to use “but we intend to start charging a nominal amount from mid next year,” the co-founder states.

The subscription options will include annual, half-yearly, and quarterly subscriptions for unlimited movie soundtrack downloads, soundtrack sales for pay-per-download, in-app advertisement for real estate monetisation, and sales for movie-based merchandise.

To date, 80,000 film soundtracks have been downloaded on the app by more than 35,000 users around the world, 90% of which are from India. Cinedubs aims to onboard two million users by FY24-25 and 4.5 million by FY25-26.

The startup, which is currently pre-revenue, plans to generate revenue by monetising its subscription base and attracting advertising in order to generate revenue. It aims to generate $2.3 million in revenue by FY24-25 and $6.4 million by FY25-26.

Cinedubs competes with TheaterEars, which is limited to the US and Puerto Rico due to its English-to-Spanish limitation. It also competes with players such as Bengaluru-based video dubbing platform, Bengaluru-based multi-modal content localisation platform, SyncSense, and Vijayawada-based multi-lingual AI dubbing platform, UniDub.

The startup onboarded actor R Madhavan as its brand ambassador in August 2022.

Market and way ahead

According to Precision Reports, the global film dubbing market size was valued at $3.5 billion in 2022 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 7.19% till 2018, reaching $5.3 billion in value.

In 2022, Cinedubs raised close to $350,000 from friends and family in a seed round. Currently, it is in talks with investors to raise pre-Series A funding that will enable it to expand its footprints deeper into Indian markets and the Middle East.

By 2024, it also plans to enter the US and Europe.

(The story was updated to correct Vineet Kashyap's bio.)

Edited by Kanishk Singh