YuppTV has emerged as the largest provider of television content from India to its expatriate audience over Internet television.
The service allows users to watch their favourite channel or a movie from a catalogue of more than 200 live TV channels and 8,000 movies across a dozen Indian languages on a single subscription.
For broadcasters and production houses, YuppTV is a simple and instant launch pad for their content, allowing them to tap newer audience and generate additional income.
YuppTV works regardless of which device you use and needs just an Internet connection with an ideal speed of 1 mbps.
The Internet TV provider has generated user traffic of around 6-7 million so far and reaches about 300 million devices through various apps on smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, set-up boxes and gaming consoles.
Its founder Uday Reddy, a computer engineer, wanted to help Indians living abroad to connect easily to Indian television and entertainment. He quit his job as director of business development at Canadian telecommunication equipment firm Nortel Networks Corp. to start YuppTV in 2007 from his basement office in Atlanta, US.
“Expat was our market, because broadband was better, the device penetration was good, there are more smart TVs, unlimited data plans for broadband and people were missing the content,” Reddy said on telephone from Atlanta.
Reddy collected $500,000 from family and friends and raised another $2.5 million by selling shares to entrepreneur Sashi Reddy. No television channel was initially ready to give content because they did not understand the concept, Reddy said. “It took two years’ struggle and numerous demonstrations to convince TV channels to try out our platform,” Reddy said.
Popular Telugu TV networks like MaaTV, Zee TV–Telugu and TV9 became early adopters and the rest followed. The technology is becoming mainstream and “TV guys consider us strategic partners”, Reddy explained. Even smaller channels were able to reach global audiences using the platform, Reddy said.
Meanwhile, the company built its own technology platform using cloud computing. It is scalable and supports millions of video streamings at any given point of time. YuppTV also devised a technology to allow streaming to adapt to the quality depending on network speed and CPU usage. A digital video recording option allows users to go back or rewind live streaming. The company also uses Big Data analytics to recommend popular videos to users and help content providers get a sense of viewer consumption habits. But the major push for YuppTV came from mobile and smart TV apps it developed three years ago. Now, around 40% of the user traffic for YuppTV is generated through the mobile app.
The company spends most in acquiring content and customers and earns from online subscriptions. A subscription costs an average $20-25 for a bouquet of channels. Reddy declined to share financials, and said he expects 70-80% revenue growth in this financial year.
YuppTV employs more than 140 people across offices in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Atlanta.
While channels are uplinked from Bengaluru, the Hyderabad office works on technology.
Reddy said he plans to launch YuppTV in the Indian market in the coming months, as he sees huge potential to grow due to the explosion of smartphones and bandwidth. Reddy said he also plans to have more educational and kids-focused content on his platform.
YuppTV, apart from India, caters to expatriates from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka by tying up with their content providers. The company also has plans to enter the Latin American content market, which has huge growth potential.
Mint has a strategic partnership with Digital Empowerment Foundation, which hosts the Manthan and mBillionth awards.