It's showtime: How Flixjini curates movies and TV shows in one place
Classmates Jigar and Ankit met each other during their undergraduate days in engineering school, and then both headed their separate ways for higher studies.
Jigar got his Masters in Computer Science from University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. He worked withand before returning to India. Ankit got his Masters in Computer Science from State University of New York, University at Buffalo. He worked with UBS Investment Bank.
When they both moved back to India in 2009, they were baffled by the complexity of discovering the right mobile plan for themselves.
That led them to start komparify.com - a discovery platform for Mobile Plans, Internet Plans and DTH Plans.
Together the co-founders of Komparify.com recently launched Flixjini, an app to help those during lockdown, find the right movie to watch, by aggregating content from all streaming services in one place.
In an exclusive interview with YS Weekender co-founders of Flixjini, Ankit Chhajer and Jigar Doshi talk about the launch of their new app, how it is helping keep people occupied during the Covid-19 pandemic, and how they select the best TV shows and movies for us to watch.
YSW: How did the idea of Flixjini come about?
Ankit & Jigar: As heavy users of streaming services, we realised that there was a lot of good content available to stream but with many streaming services and OTT apps it was difficult to discover them. You had to go to each app and discover what was new, what was hot and what was good. Also, there were no ratings and reviews available to decide whether it was worth watching or paying the subscription fee for these shows.
We began doing searches and relying on recommendations from friends. The entire process was very cumbersome. Hence, we felt an acute need for a discovery tool, which would help us know what to watch, where to watch and how to watch across all streaming services.
YSW: With the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown, how do you feel Flixjini will help people?
Ankit & Jigar: Now that people are asked to spend more time at home, this is the perfect time for users to catch-up on good movies/shows.
Flixjini helps users discover great content to watch across streaming services so that they spend more time watching shows than searching for them. Flixjini does this by answering three key questions:
What to Watch- Flixjini helps people discover what’s fresh, what’s hot and what’s compelling across all streaming services. Flixjini has built discovery tools, including AI driven content classification systems and recommendations to tailor content that is personalised to the tastes of the users. Flixjini’s powerful search features help users drill down into something interesting.
Whether to Watch- Flixjini collects multiple data points - reviews and ratings of movies/shows with information like average review ratings, how many awards it won, how it did in the box office and so on - to help users decide if something is worthy of their interest and time.
Where to Watch - Flixjini helps users find where their favourite movie or TV shows are playing. The same movie or show can be playing on multiple apps like Telcos, satellite providers, and standalone OTT apps or for different prices – for free, on subscription or on rental. Flixjini helps people find the best way to stream their favourite content legally.
Are you bootstrapped or funded?
Ankit & Jigar: We are completely bootstrapped.
YSW: Where can the Flixjini app be found currently?
Ankit & Jigar: The Flixjini app is available across multiple platforms such as on our website, on the Android Play Store and the Apple App Store.
YSW: How does your app help people find the best content? How do you stand out from the movie suggestions made on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar etc.
Ankit & Jigar: Flixjini can recommend movies across all streaming services whereas streaming services are restricted to the content on their own streaming service. A streaming platform has, on an average, 2000 movie titles and 500 TV show titles across all genres and languages. Across all streaming services, there are 50,000+ movie titles and 12,000+ TV show titles. Flixjini has a larger corpus to help you.
Flixjini stands out because:
- Flixjini helps users discover what to watch across all streaming services and helps them find the best way to watch - for free, on rental or on subscription.
Flixjini augments each movie/TV show title with information such as reviews, ratings, box office numbers, awards won and so on. This comes handy in deciding whether to stream it or skip it.
- Flixjini’s advanced AI driven recommendation system not only uses movie/TV show’s meta information but also uses interactivity points across a wider set of movies / TV shows to suggest a good title to watch.
YSW: Since streaming usage is currently skyrocketing, how will Flixjini ensure that a user is never dissatisfied and finds a way to watch what they want on a particular day?
Ankit & Jigar: Flixjini provides users with a wider range of content to choose from - by bringing content from all streaming sources in one place. Users can set and save multiple filters with their preferences. Users can choose movies/shows to watch from any of those saved filters - based on their mood and interest.
With powerful search, filters, tags and recommendations across all streaming services we hope to keep bubbling up unique content.
YSW: How do you go about aggregating the best content across streaming platforms? How frequently is the ‘What’s Fresh’ feature updated?
Ankit & Jigar: Flixjini aggregates movies and show titles from 30+ streaming service providers. It matches and unifies titles across all platforms. It augments each movie/show with meta information, from varied sources, such as release-year, language, genre, critic reviews, ratings, budgets, box office numbers, awards won, descriptions, cast and crew and much more. Flixjini uses NLP driven logic to extract and classify useful data points and sentiments. Flixjini uses many of these signals and weighs them to give it a score - Jini Score. The higher the Jini Score, the better the content. This helps us aggregate the best shows and movies across streaming services.
The 'What’s Fresh List' is updated every day. The list takes into account not just how new the content is but also the quality of content.
YSW: How did you curate Flixjini’s movie and TV show suggestion list?
Ankit & Jigar: Flixjini has tagged each movie / TV show, across all streaming services, based on their unique characteristics. Each of these tags become a curation list that serves different moods and interests of users. This list is built using signals automatically and in some cases is also curated manually.
YSW: Tell us about the unique features you offer such as the ‘universal queue,’ genre and language sections.
Ankit & Jigar:
Personal Recommendations– Flixjini combines user behaviour like user ratings of movies and shows with AI driven deep metadata about content to deliver very personal recommendations. Flixjini personalises movies and shows specific to users of different ages, languages and geographic locations as well.
Tags or Movie Lists– Flixjini has applied expressive tags to all the movies and shows across all streaming services such as ‘Based on books’, ‘Based on True Events’, ‘Feel Good & Slice of Life’ and so on. Users can follow all lists they like. These curations help users discover content easily based on their mood and interest at any given time.
Universal Queue: As users discover movies/shows to watch across streaming services, they can add it to their queue. We will notify users when such movies/shows become available for streaming on any platform. Once a user has seen a title, they can mark it as ‘seen’ and we will not recommend that again, saving them the time and the trouble.
YSW: What are your future plans? Any exciting projects or collaborations coming up?
Ankit & Jigar: We want to scale our discovery platform to multiple categories like sports and live TV and expand the same to multiple countries.
We have partnered with a couple of streaming service providers to drive their subscriptions and retention. Conversations with a few others are underway.
Also, as TV has migrated to streaming, we hope to provide businesses with analytics to help them discover which customer segment watches which content to help them make better marketing/ad-buying decisions.
YSW: What are some of the best movies/TV shows that are currently trending world over during this COVID-19 pandemic?
Ankit & Jigar: As people have more time now, a wide variety of movies and shows are trending across segments. We see people catching up on nostalgic movies and shows like Shaktiman, Ramayan, Fauji on one hand and Godfather and Goodfellas on the other.
There has been interest around pandemic movies and shows as well such as Contagion, Twelve Monkeys, Pandemic etc.
Latest movies are now appearing on streaming sources faster. For instance, hit movies like Knives Out, which was in theatres just recently, is now available to stream on Airtel XStream. People have been binging on a lot of movie franchises and trilogies too. These include Star Wars, The Godfather series, Fast & Furious, and the Bourne series to name a few.
As for the shows we see lots of streaming providers trying to accelerate the launch of their originals, as there is a lot of interest right now.
That is why shows like Special Ops, Panchayat, She, Bhaukaal, Money Heist, Ozark and more are launching quickly.
In short, there is a lot happening in the Streaming/OTT space! Users have a lot of good content to choose from and discovery is the key.