The Pocket Aces Series (Part 4)
“With regards to movie theaters, it’s hard to say what 20 years from now will look like, but I don’t see them becoming redundant at least for the next 5-10 years… TV is doing a bad job catering to young urban audiences and we’re plugging that gap.”
Photo Credit : Screenshot via Facebook.com, Screenshot via Facebook.com,
The digital media production company reaches 25 to 30 million unique viewers each week. Pocket Aces Pictures calls Ashwin Suresh, Anirudh Pandita and Aditi Shrivastava its cofounders. We speak to Ashwin in this series.
20 years from now: do you think movie theatres and TV be redundant?
As far as TV goes, I think my response to the previous question covers the topic. With regards to movie theaters, it’s hard to say what 20 years from now will look like, but I don’t see them becoming redundant at least for the next 5-10 years. Movie-watching is a recreational experience, a family outing if you will, and it’s still the primary means of entertainment for a large population. Moreover, screen penetration in India is still relatively low so I think there’s room to grow on that front. I think digital distribution platforms will allow for smaller movies to be made in a profitable manner, but the tent poles or the big blockbuster movie experiences are still going to exist for the time being.
Why didn’t you want to try your luck in moving to TV?
We are already proven to be successful online for one. The entire reason we exist is because TV is doing a bad job catering to young urban audiences and we’re plugging that gap. On the other hand, we’re already syndicating one show to TV (Not Fit plays on NDTV Prime every Wednesday at 10pm) and we’re open to doing the same for all our shows. That said, it will never be our primary distribution medium. We want to look forward, not backward. What we call TV right now is actually cable and satellite - the underlying distribution network.
TV is just the hardware and soon that distinction will become more and more apparent as most content will be streamed to you over the top and you won’t have the need to own a set top box. At that point it won’t matter whether you’re on TV or not - what will matter is whether audiences like your content, because they will have a million options to choose from, whenever they want.
Funding details – how much from whom? Is it tough to raise funds for media than for a technical service like fintech for example.
I think the venture capital market is going through a difficult time, in general. It’s not that capital isn’t available - it’s just that investors are being more cautious about who they invest with, and rightfully so. In any sector, a few startups will get funded on the back of industry momentum or investors’ fear of missing out - and when those companies fail, as they inevitably do, it becomes harder for the rest of the ecosystem in the short-term.
For example, in India, it recently happened with hyperlocal logistics, food-tech, and MCN businesses. However, that’s part and parcel of the startup game and companies with strong fundamentals will get funded regardless of the sector they’re in. If you go back a couple of decades, you’ll see that a lot of really great companies have been built in down markets because companies born in difficult times tend to learn to adapt quickly and survive in difficult conditions.
As far as Pocket Aces goes, we recently raised 3 million dollars from a group of global investors led by Sequoia Capital. The round included eminent names like New York-based North Base Media, 3one4 Capital, TV Mohandas Pai-led Aarin Capital, Axilor Ventures (Infosys co-founders), Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon (FreeCharge founders), among others.
Read part 3 of this series here.
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