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Amagi eyes international expansion, OTT products

MUMBAI: After foraying into traditional geo-targeted advertising on television, Bengaluru-headquartered cloud-based TV broadcast platform Amagi, which is in process of raising $25 million as part of Series D funding, is looking at expanding its operations in the international markets and building a product portfolio in the over-the-top (OTT) space.

While declining to specify the amount the company is planning to raise, Amagi co-founder KA Srinivasan confirmed that the company would use the funds for international expansion as well as for R&D.

KA Srinivasan“Part of the funds is for international expansion and part of it would be used towards financing our R&D—to build a product portfolio both in the traditional TV geo-targeting space and in the OTT space for personally targeted advertising,” Srinivasan told TelevisionPost.com.

Amagi is looking to grow significantly outside India as well. It has recently started operations in the UK, US and Hong Kong, and is seeing significant traction in customer base.

OTT

Talking about OTT, Srinivasan said that the company is extending the platform to OTT, which he says will bring targeted advertising to non-linear medium. “We are extending the platform as the consumption moves from traditional TV to OTT,” he said.

“Let’s say I am consuming a channel on my mobile or a different screen. I would now get personally targeted ads during the mid-roll (during video content). So what we are bringing now is a platform that will allow personally targeted advertising depending on the profile of the viewers, depending on the screen, device, location, etc. The combination of all this will dynamically determine what ads should be delivered to that consumer in a mid-roll even if I am watching a linear TV channel on my mobile.”

After building the platform, Amagi is currently in the process of deploying it. “This is a proprietary technology and we are also in process of filing for patents for different parts of the technology.”

International expansion

Amagi is open to expanding overseas through partnerships. Outside India, the company has offices in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong.

“We also have an office in Tokyo through a partner. Beyond the core area, we are open to expanding through partnerships. So apart from Tokyo, we have partners in Latin America and Eastern Europe, which we will announce soon. We are also looking to expand in the Middle East,” Srinivasan said.

When asked if the company would require more funding after the fourth round, Srinivasan said that Amagi is looking at rapid expansion and that the fund requirement will be based on the speed at which they can achieve growth.

“We are looking at scale not just in India but international markets as well. We will look at the funding depending on the speed at which we are able to expand our overseas operations,” he explained. “Broadly, we are expanding the number of partners across TV channels. Today we have approximately 80 per cent of the top 100 brands with us. We now have deployed in over 25 countries. We are looking to grow rapidly in the next one year.”

Current business model

When asked about the current business model, Srinivasan said, “Typically, we buy advertising time on TV channels. We do annual agreement for advertising time. This we split by region and sell it to advertisers. Thus, if HUL wants only Maharashtra or Mumbai for Rin, Idea wants it for Gujarat and Dabur wants only Uttar Pradesh, we will provide the same spot to different brands in different regions.

“This region-wise cost is obviously much lower than the national cost. So when you calculate the price of each region, it will be higher than our buying price. The sum of parts is more than the whole.”

Incidentally, geo-targeting provides advertisers the ability to focus their messaging on the right audience, thereby eliminating spillage and wastage. This increases the efficiency of ad spend, sometimes by as much as 500–600 per cent.

Today, Amagi is working across genres, including general entertainment (Zee TV), movies (Zee Cinema), regional channels (Zee Marathi, Colors Kannada, Colors Marathi, etc.), Hindi news (IBN7), English news (Times Now), music and a bit of sports.

Founded by Baskar Subramanian, KA Srinivasan and Srividhya Srinivasan (first classmates in college and later colleagues at Texas Instruments) in 2008, Amagi was incubated at IIM Bangalore’s Nadathur S Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL).

Today, Amagi boasts a 220-strong workforce, which includes a large sales team and about 100 personnel in R&D.

The company has already raised undisclosed amounts in three separate rounds of funding for expansion of its product portfolio in linear TV space as well as for research and development (R&D).

Apart from Nadathur Investments (founded by Infosys co-founder NS Raghavan) for incubation, Amagi has raised money from Silicon Valley-based Mayfield Fund and Premji Invest.

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