Post Thumb
Parveen Singhal

Indore is an unlikely city for a technology-led content and entertainment start-up. A few years ago, nobody would have thought that a tiny content platform WittyFeed, which emerged from the bylanes of India’s cleanest city, would be setting up shop in the US.

The platform, which has now touched annual revenue of Rs 26 crore, was launched in September 2014. It now operates out of a swanky office with a young yet extremely dedicated team of 80 members.

WittyFeed claims to be the No.1 content marketing platform in India but finds it challenging when it comes to perception among brands. “Perception is a little struggle but it has changed a lot in the last six months. We are headquartered in Indore but with offices across all major cities,” Parveen Singhal, Co-Founder and CCO, WittyFeed told Buzzincontent in an interview.

The company, which recently named itself as wittyfeed.tv as it is shifting its focus from textual to video content format, is 50 million site visits ahead of its closest Indian rival Scoopwhoop.

Recently, the platform collaborated with TVF and is trying different kinds of formats, including branded content in video. The company earns 85% of its revenue through content marketing.

When asked if WittyFeed is late to tap the video content space, Singhal said, “We are not here to compete but to collaborate with other content creators. We are figuring out how we can collaborate with different players along with our own video production capabilities.”

Excerpts:

You are a strong believer that digital is the key growth driver for content marketing. Does that also mean that you believe TV, print and radio have lesser potential when it comes to content marketing?

When it comes to content marketing on digital, we check out all kinds of content, be it video or textual, because that is the main purpose of going to that platform. Digital is more into content marketing and TV and print are more into direct advertising.

There is a thin line between direct advertising and content marketing. On television, people showcase their products in different forms, be it branded content or AFP. When it comes to digital, the platforms are mainly into storytelling and are natively integrating the brand product or any marketing material into the content. TV may have national reach but at the same time, digital is proving to have a vast reach.

Now radio and television are trying to be in content marketing with various formats but digital is already leading that space.

wittyfeed.com is wittyfeed.tv now. Why so?

WittyFeed has been changed to TV because the entire content place is moving from textual to video. We are figuring out how we can collaborate with different players along with our own video production capabilities.

How much of the total revenue is added by brands’ content marketing?

We have two revenue streams — one is programmatic direct ads and the second is content marketing for brands. At the group level, programmatic ads contribute more to the revenue. On a standalone basis, WittyFeed’s 80-90% revenue comes from content marketing.

How differentiated is WittyFeed’s offerings for brands’ content requirement from the rest of the platforms?

All content platforms mainly do the same thing but where we differ is our commitment of maximum reach and relevant audience to the brand with real authentic reporting. Storytelling, video production, video amplification, static poster series, banner ads on our website, marketing contest, etc., are our offerings to the brands, customised according to their requirement.

How do you see the growth of regional content shaping up in India? Do you think brands are ready to tap the growing demand coming from regional?

It is growing at a massive speed. For the last six months, our branded content is growing 60-70% every month. With brands going to tier-I, II cities or rural areas, we are witnessing a rapid growth in content marketing in the regional space as well as where the consumption pattern is changing. A content piece in Hindi reaches out to a larger audience base at our platform and brands are lapping up that TG.

You focus mostly on the US market. How are your international businesses doing? How do you see the Indian content space shaping up?

The Indian content space is improving day by day. To tap the younger audience who are avoiding direct advertising, brands are looking for something that can be snacky yet relatable. Proof in the pudding is the growth of memes. In the US market, we are currently into direct programmatic ad revenue. We have set up our team there. That market is a little difficult to tap but it will bring big revenue for us when it starts delivering results.

What are the expansion plans for the platform?

We already have six different in-house brands. Along with WittyFeed, we have foodmate for the food category, thepeople for popular, positive and pop-culture stories for millennials, geeksmate for technology, duniadigest for Hindi, innervoice for emotional content. All the platforms were launched a couple of months back and we will soon start promoting them. In fact, innervoice has already done many branded content pieces.

In an interview, I read that Vinay (the other confounder) said “brands don't really care about your content; they'll tell you what content to create and as publishers, you have to adjust”. Do you agree with it?

This is a big concern for a publisher. There is a big difference between advertising and content marketing, which people are still not able to understand. In most of the cases, the publishers adjust but it is not desirable that the brands dictate the editorial terms or formats.

We do not see any change in their concept even when they decide to do content marketing instead of advertising. They want a big logo, poster and ads besides guiding the terms on editorial front. It is a challenge but at the same time, it is changing slowly.

Whatis the present traffic at WittyFeed?

We are touching 80-90 mn traffic every month across all our six platforms. WittyFeed alone gets 25-30 mn traffic currently. 50-60% traffic comes from metro cities and the remaining 40% comes from other parts of the country. Our TG is largely the 18-28 years of age group, which contributes 90% to the overall traffic.

You recently entered the video content stream. Aren’t you late?

We are not only a video content platform but in many other different verticals also. We are not here to compete but to collaborate with other content creators. Recently, we collaborated with TVF. We are trying different kinds of formats, including branded content in video.

What are the things to be kept in mind in the distribution of content for brands?

The objective of the brand is a very important thing to keep in mind to help brand message reach the target audience. Demography is another important aspect of distribution. Content marketing for me is to connect with the emotions and that is we try to do.

Why do you call yourself a tech company more than a content platform? What gives you an edge over the others?

Whatever we have created is in-house technology, including AI and machine learning. Technology is the important parameter for our offering. Internally we are a technology company while for the rest of the world we are a media house.

Number-wise you claim to be the No. 1 platform but are you at the top when it comes to perception in brands’ minds?

Perception is a little struggle but it has changed a lot in the last six months. We are headquartered in Indore but with offices across all major cities. At the same time, when it comes to delivering value, we have always over-delivered to the clients.

While you are a content platform, what is the idea behind having display ads on a content platform?

We disable display ads on branded stories. The display ads are only for other general stories that contribute 25% to the entire revenue of WittyFeed.