How did this idea of the OTT platform occur?
My beginnings were very humble in 1995 when I started a small steel business. Earlier, I had also indulged in many other businesses viz., plywood, cement and coal, but eventually, in 2002 I ventured into our steel business in a big way.
While trying to establish our identity we tried out multiple things. As luck would have it, we got fortunate and financed and produced a Hindi film which unfortunately flopped miserably. We were unaware of the distribution system and could not get the requisite number of theaters for exhibition. That’s when the idea struck me to create a platform for small budget filmmakers who don’t have enough resources to release their films after having spent so much. Finally, we came up with a plan to have an OTT platform in 2017 since it was around this time that a few streaming platforms existed but there were many players waiting in the wings to try out their luck.
What has been the growth path for the company considering the sudden boom in the industry during the pandemic?
When we started, there were only a few platforms. That was the genesis of Ullu that promises to provide a personalized subscription service allowing members to access films, short films, web series and TV shows. Our content streamed over the internet to certain internet-connected devices and it instantly caught the fancy of some of the viewers. We are also catering to the category of consumers who were looking for a cheaper option and so, we launched an app that is very reasonably priced at Rs. 36 /- We decided to enter an area with the sole intention of catering to a niche audience, and have specific content while also keeping the rate very low. Post pandemic, many businesses have undergone drastic changes particularly in the digital market that has revolutionized the entire transactional and payment systems. Even people are more interested in watching digital content. The DTH market has also been diverted to OTT viewing.
How does Ullu continue to create an edge?
Initially, when we started, our USP was to provide content that was not available on any OTT platform. Our primary focus is on Indian content unlike other platforms. Lately, we have enhanced our quality in every which way. We released 2 series every week on Tuesdays and Fridays so the consumer feels happy and gets more value for money. We are not just edgy but have content that belongs to horror, thriller, suspense and other classifications that is also pocket friendly.
What have been your landmark moments since conceptualization?
At the time of our launch, there was no market or any research available and it was a major risk to get into an area that was virtually unknown. Whether subscribers would pay digitally or pay at all was a fear we all had in our minds. Now when I see my app getting downloaded on many phones and nearly 80 percent people are aware of us, it is a major landmark for us in such a short span of time.
What are the future plans and where do you see these coming years as an OTT platform?
We will be launching 2 more brands, including one digital interactive telecom for chatting. We are also getting ready to launch Ullu’s Satellite Tv. Next on our agenda is launching our brand in other countries that will mainly serve the wholesome entertainment needs of the entire family.