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Startup Corner: India’s BrizzTV looks to ride the digital TV wave

Empowered with a team of 17 members today, Amarendra Sahu, the Co-Founder of Bangalore-based tech start-up BrizzTV, plans to expand the company’s reach five times in the next five years. Positioned as a content digitisation and datacasting company, BrizzTV attempts to enable digital cable & satellite based TVs to receive internet content directly on the TV as a channel, without any need to have an internet connection. Very recently, it tied up with direct to home player, Airtel Digital TV, in India to spread its reach to 8.5 million subscribers. “By the end of one year, we plan to expand our reach to 20 million users, and within five years we plan to reach 100 million homes across the globe,” added Mr Sahu.
The men behind the venture
The three co-founders – Amarendra Sahu, Jitendra Jagadev and Krishnan Varadarajan completed their management education from B-school, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. An engineer, specialising in Computer Science, Mr Sahu has worked with Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper Networks, Cisco and Avendus Advisors. Mr Jagadev worked with Philips and Cisco, while Mr Varadajan worked with Philips and another start-up called Prysm Inc. BrizzTV was incubated and funded by IIM-B entrepreneurship cell, and very recently has received Series A funding from Ojas Ventures.
Content monetisation platforms
BrizzTV Media Lab has been around for three years now and focuses on bringing all formats of content onto the television screen. Its first product was iExam, an interactive test preparation service on TV, offering BrizzTV a revenue model via subscription. Next came Freemium Movies, a unique concept where viewers can watch the latest Bollywood movies for free and without a single ad break. But the movie appears on 75 per cent of the screen space while the remaining 25 per screen is used for an L-shaped ad.
Twitter on TV
The latest buzz from the BrizzTV stable is Twitter on TV, which brings all social conversation around a TV programme on to the TV screen in real time. A US study shows that 95 per cent of the public social conversation around TV happens on Twitter. In India, there are around 15 million Twitter users while television viewers throng almost every household. “TV viewing is changing. People want conversations about what they are watching in real time and are hopping to tablets and phones. We are just making it more friction-less by bringing the same online conversation directly to the TV while the show is aired so that people do not have to juggle between TV and the second screen,” explained Mr Sahu. For this, it has tied up with Airtel DTH services and the content is available across six channels for two hours everyday.
“That kind of reach isn’t available even at large destination websites in India. Our reach and time with users are an unparalleled opportunity,” said Mr Sahu.
From broadcast to narrow-cast
The company has also built a patent TV ad-tech platform that opens up opportunities for non-video ads directly on TV. Brands can upload their creative to the website, choosing the geographies in which they want the campaign to be seen. Moreover, BrizzTV platform will enable brands to use multiple creative together that would self-rotate during the campaign duration helping brands to tell multiple benefits one at a time, something that’s not even possible with a running TV commercial. This will help brands offer geographically curated content to viewers.

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