Coverage of Saroja in Express Computer

Movico Technologies, a year old technology startup, believes in democratization of technology, making its benefits available to all. By Pratap Vikram Singh.

With the video content archive market in India all set to grow exponentially, it is hard not to miss the business opportunities that lie in it.

V N Saroja, Arvind Jha and Shailendra Nath Rai saw the opportunity of converting traditionally analog format content into digital video, and founded Movico Technologies, a year ago.

Talking about what inspired them to set up the organization, V N Saroja, Co-founder, Movico Technologies said, “As people who had worked in the electronics and technology spaces, we were looking at ideas for working in the convergent era with imminent 3G networks with the mobile phone as the fulcrum. Video entertainment was an area identified as a high potential one. However, one of the first things we realized was that there was very little content available for delivery—new as well as old.”

She pointed out that the majority of the video market still works with analog content that makes both the access and search of content, inefficient and expensive. “There is no tool available that makes digitization, a winning business proposition. The existing tools are so expensive that they do not make the investment viable. Movico’s indigenous product is priced very competitively and has been received well in the market,” she added.

Moreover, India is the second largest storehouse of video content. However, 90% of it is in tapes, in analogous format. With 3G services not a distant dream for India, an obvious question arises that what people are going to watch if there is no digitized content available.

Digital asset management solutions

Movico offers digital asset management solutions at three levels. At the first level, there lies a software division, which develops software to manage and distribute video assets, called Media Baron.

Saroja explained that it runs on a Pentium PC and above on a normal LAN environment, allowing all users to access a low-resolution database to identify the pieces that they want to add to their current project, and helps them take it back and forth from the editing station. This can free up the expensive editing station by up to 80%, and hence reduces the need for numerous editing stations.

“Media Baron also allows seamless distribution, including on-the-fly transcoding, especially to new media like IPTV, mobile and Web servers, making it possible to automate the serving of videos. Currently, most of the videos are uploaded manually,” she added.

Knowledge Process Outsourcing

In the Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) division, tapes are digitized, catalogued and repurposed. Repurposing here refers to converting video format to make them more appropriate for the viewer, depending on the screen he is watching it on.

“There is also a need to develop capsules, segments (video clips) of the same program (the whole video) to suit the time needs of the viewer. To watch a video on a small screen requires different aspect ratios, angles, etc., hence some repurposing is required. Through the Digon division, Movico handles such tasks for the clients,” Saroja said.

Business online

There is an online division which helps a content owner in developing a website where the digitized or ‘ready to serve’ content is posted and enables the content owner in selling those digital footages to the interested people in the needed format.

Clients and contracts

Informing about the Movico’s client base, Saroja stated, “Our target client base covers producers, production houses, television and Web channels. The products are sold as licenses, Digon services on a job contract basis and the website on management fees and revenue share basis.”

Referring to a particular business client, Saroja stated that they have recently partnered with Moving Pictures Company (MPC), India. MPC has more than 12,000 hour video footages. Movico will undertake the digitization, classification repurposing of the footage that will allow MPC to easily access the video library for its own production use as well as to make content available for sale.

Though reluctant to reveal the names of other client organizations, Movico co-founder said that the company is working on five pilot projects for different organizations, including one in Germany.

Movico is also eyeing the vast repository of valuable and historical video content available with certain government departments. Saroja disclosed that Movico is in talks with these departments and there is a possibility of a deal taking place in the near future.

Recruitment and work environment

Moving ahead with 30 employees, Movico has balanced this small number tactfully with equal proportion of employees in the R&D and execution teams.

“50% of our workforce consists of product R&D engineers with more than three years’ experience in building and integrating new technologies,” Saroja averred. The other half of the workforce comprises of communication professionals with exposure to video editing and classification.

On the organization’s hierarchical system and work environment, Saroja elaborated, “We have a flat hierarchy and focus on responsibility rather than regulation. Considering that we are a young startup with aggressive plans and a big vision, it is important that we foster creativity and excellence. We are an open, participative and goal-oriented set-up.”

Vision and target

“As technology builders and developers we strongly believe that the future lies in democratization of technology; in making the technology and its benefits available to all. We are looking at products in the video space that will provide more flexibility, efficiency and choice to the end-users as well as the content owners,” Saroja explained.

The company is looking at a target of Rs 8 crores for 2008-09 and about Rs 50 crores in 2009-10.

Business prospects

“India has more than 100,000 hours content, ranking second in the world. There are around 300 television channels broadcasted in the country and in the time to come we will witness the emergence of another 300 to 400 channels with enormous content,” stated Saroja.

The volume of video content can be gauged by the fact that a channel on an average produces eight hours of content per day. Moreover, Movico has not confined itself to Hindi and English video content, and is open to many other Indian languages. Noting the fact that the entertainment industry in South India is very vast, V N Saroja pointed out that Movico is focusing on the South Indian entertainment industry since it has enormous content and is proliferating day by day.

Movico has invested more than $1 million to create a sophisticated, tightly integrated, multi-purpose video production, storage and broadcast management system capable of handling enterprise class loads and intends to raise over $5 million this year to strengthen its portfolio of products, services and aggregation targeted at the video content market.

Pointing towards the joint report on video content market in India by FICCI and Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), which says that the domestic market alone has a potential of achieving a $30 billion level by 2012, Saroja asserted that Indian content has a great global demand and hence Movico is very positive about its work being done in the digital asset management domain.