Bengaluru-based vernacular digital media startup Homescreen Network has raised $2 Mn in a Series A round of funding from Saama Capital.
The startup plans to use the funds to grow on vernacular reach in India and build a highly scalable Professional Generated Content (PGC) platform.
Founded in 2018 by Soum Paul and T V Mahalingam, Homescreen Network uses deep analytics and technology to create custom content for regional audiences. The network works through its platforms— hyperlocal regional content platform SparkTV and live interactive online 24×7 channel TheBigScope.
In simple terms, for its multiple products, Homescreen Network uses a potent combination of internal editorial, and content generated on the ground through a network of trained creators. The platform works almost akin to a mini-TV channel and serves users with a bouquet of content at various times of the day. Some of the themes include world events, factoids, history, lifestyle, music, food, performance, and beauty.
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Promoted by GrowthStory, HomeScreen is a part of the elite club of startups which have grown massively under GrowthStory. K Ganesh, promoter, GrowthStory, said, “As the next 500Mn users come online, authentic, easy-to-consume media for regional audiences is growing exponentially. Our big opportunity is in empowering these brand-new consumers with media and create a level playing field.”
At present, the platform is available in Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Kannada and English. The content is also distributed through partner platforms such as JioNews, DailyHunt, ShareChat, SonyLIV. Homescreen Network claims that it has recorded over 17 Mn video views across multiple platforms in April 2019.
Going forward, the company is looking to adopt other regional languages as well.
Suresh Shanmugham, managing partner, Saama Capital, said, “HSN is producing rich editorially driven content at scale from deep within India, and we believe it is a highly effective way to engage India’s emerging audience that’s growing at the rate of 40 Mn year on year.”
According to a recent report by EY released in 2018, the media and entertainment sector touched INR 1.5 Tn in 2017, a growth of almost 13% over 2016.
According to another study by Assocham and PwC, the Indian media and entertainment industry is estimated to touch $52,683 Mn (around INR 3.73 Lakh Cr) by 2022, led by increasing disposable income, rising population, and content consumption across formats.
Especially, the vernacular side of the digital content industry is on the rise with several startups leveraging multiple languages to reach deeper audiences. In 2018, vernacular content has been creating buzz, with several startups expanding their services to include regional languages other than Hindi.
According to a Sharechat report, 2018 was the year when for the first time internet users in great numbers accessed social media in their regional languages and participated actively in contributing to user generated content in native languages.