Post Thumb
(L) Saurabh Kanwar and Prashant Sardesai (R)

Established in 2016, ATKT.in is a platform for brand owners who want to engage with a targeted youth audience, using unique content that is user-generated by the youth and for the youth.

“We have taken a stance that we don’t want to go outside college. We want to focus on what we are good at. Otherwise, we’ll compete with anybody who is in the talent management space. Right now what we are doing is something which nobody else is doing,” said founders Saurabh Kanwar and Prashant Sardesai at ATKT.in.

With 1400+ videos already produced, in addition to non-video content from college-level literary and fine arts talent, the platforms organically reach millions of youth in the age bracket of 15-24 years each month.

Kanwar and Sardesai see huge scope in the video content space and believe that there are a lot of brands that want to connect to the youth through digital today. “There are a lot of youth brands who are ready to spend on digital. A lot of advertising spend is going to happen on the video front and if we get the smallest chunk of that by exciting the brands and the media planners, it’s more than sufficient,” said Kanwar.

Sardesai said, “There are a lot of OTT platforms for the audience above 24-35, but there is a huge crying need for the younger audience, which is 15-24. That nobody is being able to tap into very successfully.”

ATKT.in showcases talent on its platforms in the form of videos, imagery and text. There is also a steady stream of “user-generated content” streaming in from across the country.

Currently, ATKT.in works with over 400+ colleges across 40+ cities and has reached more than 500+ college cultural organisations like festivals, cultural societies, etc. It has an active database of 2500+ talent across singers, dancers, poets, rappers, beatboxers, writers, photographers, graphic artists, etc.

The co-founders of the youth-targeted user-generated content platform talk in detail about their plans, how their platform is targeted at college-going students, why brands should come to them and much more.

Excerpts:

What was the idea behind starting ATKT.in and how do you differentiate from other content platforms targeting the youth like Scoopwhoop and TVF?

Kanwar: The youth platforms do not represent youth audience sufficiently, especially on mass media, on an everyday level and according to the likes of consumers. TVF is a great storyteller and engages very deeply with their audience, but it doesn’t represent them and the consumer community. We have realised that brands want to do a lot of things on the college campuses and it’s very difficult to organise things in a scaled way. A lot of activities happen on the campuses which do not come to light very easily. TV couldn’t make really good use of them. Therefore, we have user-generated content that represents youth on our platform.

Who do you call your core TG and what kind of traffic and engagement do you attract?

Sardesai: The age range of our target audience is 13-25 and it is evenly distributed between females and males.

What kind of traffic do we get to see on your platform?

Kanwar: Our content is engaged with up to 12 million times a month with just the video views across 3 million across YouTube and Facebook. These are all organic numbers.

How does the team at ATKT.in look like?

Kanwar: We are 15 people mainly in video production, college and brands relationship, digital marketing and the editorial bit.

What is your revenue model?

Sardesai: It is hard to find a brand that does not talk to the youth today and it is very hard to do that outside the buy and clicks model. We deliver content-related engagement-driven matter. If the brands have to go to colleges on their own and try the hashtags trending, it will take a big media buy to do that. Over here a media buy is still happening, but at a much smaller scale because the content created at our end from colleges is relatively organic.

We have covered all parts of the country in terms of talent. We are sitting on a huge database of singing, dance and poetry stars at the college level. All these can become Indian Idol kind of formats at a college level. We also have a sponsorship model. In the long run, when we actually have the reach and impressions, we will also do pure media buying.

Are you limited to the brands for the youth only?

Kanwar: We have taken a stance that we don’t want to go outside college. We want to focus on what we are good at. Otherwise, we’ll compete with anybody who is in the talent management space. Right now what we are doing is something which nobody else is doing in the content marketing space. We are creating content by the students for the students. Although we have a reach of around 800 colleges but that is just 18% reach that we have achieved.

Sardesai: To accelerate that process, we have also started doing open mics across cities, which is our monthly activity. That brings consumers to us rather than them waiting for us to show up at their colleges. Right now we are building focus on dance.

Isn’t it a negative point that you can’t target brands other that youth-focused as your clients?

Kanwar: ATKT.in wants to make a business of Rs 1,000 crore alone, which itself is a conservative number. If you look at the total digital advertising spends pie, 10-15% of it is accessible to us and the brand wants to spend money on someone like us, it’s a great thing. We met people at senior positions in the media buying companies. We have done work with Ajio, Johnson & Johnson, Clean & Clear, etc. There are a lot of youth brands who are ready to spend on digital. A lot of advertising spend is going to happen on the video front and if we get the smallest chunk of that by exciting the brands and the media planners, it’s more than sufficient.

Sardesai: There are a lot of OTT platforms for the audience above 24-35, but there is a huge crying need for the younger audience, which is 15-24. That nobody is being able to tap into very successfully.

What are the challenges that you see in content marketing space?

Prashant: It is super narrow right now in terms of distribution options available and what is being created. We are limited way by ideas and distribution of content.

How do you maintain the quality of the content as it's at the end user-generated?

Prashant: The content that we show is shot in a classroom, auditorium of college. It has that feel and I think authenticity is a part of that value. Our audience relates well to the content that we create as its production value is not as high as reality shows on TV, but something that is realistic.

Kanwar: That is a key part of our marketing strategy. Brands are coming to us after seeing our content. When we create content, we just make sure that the sound is right and the lighting is fine.

Do you see the content space untapped by many or there is already a clutter on the publishing side? How can brands decide which publication to go with?

Sardesai: There is a lot of clutter for branded content. I see it as an opportunity that the brands are willing to spend but there is not much content. If there is more content available, it is easier for branded content to fit in. One thing that I see brands doing consistently is moving towards a solution mode. There is a deep sense of account planning at the discussion level as it was a brand campaign. It all depends on the business objective of the brands.

How do you both distribute your responsibilities and duties at work?

Sardesai: We have a huge overlap. We both come from the television background but different sides of television and digital as well. My role is more into content generation. I take care of the video content including sourcing of video content. Saurabh takes care of content distribution, marketing and positioning broadly.

Kanwar: Prashant has a focus on the business side at the strategic, planning and investment level. I take care of the marketing.