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Anuj Gosalia

Bootstrapped in 2013 as a Facebook page that shared 140 characters' long text stories, to launching short and long-form films and an upskilling academy for creators, the 10-year journey for the content platform Terribly Tiny Tales (TTT) has been quite eventful. 

In its early days, TTT used to put out serious and emotional content in black and white 140 characters. Back then, this positioning was unique that made TTT one of the favourites of netizens. 

The platform has now become more vibrant and colourful with cute and mushy textual and video stories, not just in short-form but also long-form content. The platform’s short-form animated relatable content is quite popular on social media. 

Anuj Gosalia, Founder and CEO of Terribly Tiny Tales, said, “Earlier, it felt too heavy. We made these changes because we want to target the 18-24 years age group by creating relatable light-hearted content around dating, mental health and career and not just talk about heartbreaks.” 

“Although, heart breaks stories would have been good from a growth point of view,” he chuckled.

While the platform has been doing a lot of branded textual short-form content since its early days of inception, but since 2016 it also started producing short films and web series. 

A lot of them were also for brands. For example, ‘Haba Goba’ for Tinder, ‘Dream Boy’ for Roposo and ‘Naamkaran’ for Edelweiss.

A couple of its short films had also been also acquired by Tata Play Shorts TV. 

Cut to now, venturing into original long-form OTT content production, the platform recently partnered with Amazon Mini TV to launch the four-episode rom-com series ‘Jab We Matched’. 

Terribly Tiny Tales has also rolled out the fourth season of its flagship branded web series ‘Butterflies’, in collaboration with Hershey’s India, for Valentine’s Day 2023. 

Season 4 of Butterflies presents unexplored stories of love and connection in the form of a YouTube series. Each tale is enabled by Hershey's chocolate range, and these stories that celebrate the joy of being in love are being aired from February 1 to 14.

TTT is eyeing to create over 100 content pieces on their social media platform with posts, trailers, filters, influencer videos and live sessions to keep the buzz around the campaign. The aim is to keep the conversation around love by creating snackable Instagram content. 

The first season of Butterflies was powered by Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk, Season 2 by Cornetto and Season 3 by Hershey’s, which has again returned as a partner for Season 4. 

Gosalia said, "Our audience, year after year, on Valentine’s Day awaits a new Butterflies season with bated breath. This year is special because we’re doubling down on our partnership with Hershey’s to make Season 4 bigger and better. Every film, this season, will take the audience through a heart-warming journey of love, connection and that special Butterflies moment.”

Currently, with its 40-people team, TTT earns money through three models: TTT Academy, branded content and content production; all adding equally to the overall revenue of the company. Gosalia also shared that 95% of the company’s business is in-bound.

When asked about growth numbers, Gosalia said, “We want to grow in Xs and not percentages. For example, we have grown by 50% last year. Now we want to grow by 2-3X this year.” 

To grow in Xs, TTT’s focus area would be OTT shows, bigger branded content IPs and the Academy, Gosalia said during the course of the interaction with

Gosalia stated, “Covid-19 was a reminder to not rely on one source of income. Algorithm can upset the business overnight. As a white-labelled company we can’t act just like an agency as we have our own audience. Academy is a great source of non-linear income and has the potential of crossing Rs 100 crore business size if we scale up.”

There was a phase when people said that short-form content will overshadow long-form content, but are we seeing a resurgence of long-form content?

Gosalia answered, “Long-form is where the true value lies and that is the reason we are doing it. It’s only in long-format content that the consumer builds ‘mohabbat’ with the content and the creator. Unless you are an individual creator, showing up on Reels every day.”

He added, “Eventually content is about retention, love and memorability it gets. Popular shows like Friends and Game of Thrones have multiple seasons and long episodes, but people tend to build connections with the characters and the creators of the show over time. Connection and depth of engagement are the functions of time and repetition.”

According to Gosalia, when it comes to collaborating with long-form fictional branded content, brands prefer partnering with platforms on YouTube if it’s within a 15-minute time band, The moment it crosses that time band, brands like to associate with OTT platforms. 

“Earlier full movies and shows used to come on YouTube. Now it has reduced as Youtube has become more creator-first and the way people consume content on YouTube has become more optimised. We’ll now see the resurgence of beautiful shows with brands on OTTs because people come on OTT to watch content with intent. They are not just browsing there,” he said. 

The name of the platform means really short stories, but with the company’s venture into long-form content, would it rebrand or even change the name?

Displaying his wit, Gosalia answered, “People think if it’s long, it will be boring, but if the same long-form content is not boring then in your head it’s still Terribly Tiny as time just flies watching the same extremely engaging long-form content.”

“Also, most people call us TTT or Triple T. So many out there might not even know we are Terribly Tiny Tales,” he added.  

For Gosalia, one of the biggest achievements of TTT is its five million follower base which was organically acquired over the period of 10 years. Along with that, the platform now reaches over 25 million people every week. “It’s a privilege, responsibility and also so rare. Today, we can speak to a large number of people without needing another distribution partner,” he said. 

On the other hand, Gosalia thinks that the most challenging aspect of being in the digital content space is to always beat the algorithms.

To overcome this, TTT keeps a tab on creators and platforms who are doing well and learn from them. He commented, “For example, we look at what Niharika and Tanmay Bhat are doing, how they are structuring content, what other pages are doing. A part of our business depends on Instagram. So, we use a lot of trending music as part of our reels to be in trends. Today, almost every piece of our content has to be on Reels. If today, one only creates posts on Instagram, he/she will go down on Instagram ranks.”

In the run-up to making every marketing penny spent count, more and more brands are asking for performance-led leads or quick call-to-action through branded content. 

But Gosalia is very clear that branded content is a long-term and consistent brand-building exercise. “For us, performance is secondary and building brand connections and engagement is something we care about a lot more. If we are able to build brand love, it will win overall.

In total, chasing both performance and brand building through the same piece of branded content is not a good idea, as per Gosalia. “We may not be the best platform where you expect 50K app downloads. We are best at brand building, early adopters of storytelling and popular with the pop culture,” commented Gosalia. 

He further said, “When a brand approaches us with the agenda to fetch sales leads, we outrightly deny and suggest them to partner with influencers in their cohort who could provide links to buy the products in their posts through coupon codes, etc.”

Therefore, TTT partners with multi-nationals, start-ups and brands which want to make a place for themselves in the pop culture, said Gosalia.  

When TTT partnered with Tinder for ‘Swipe Stories’, the platform was able to garner 3,000 UGC stories in three months. Out of which, 30-40 were featured on the platform, as per the TTT Founder. 

But does that mean brands which don’t have enough budget for brand building can’t collaborate with content platforms for branded content?

Gosalia answered, “While a web series like Butterflies is a premium property, we have other solutions which will break out for brands because as a company we are designed to make connections.”

Organically a number of content creation companies end up venturing into talent management space. While Gosalia wants to do something in this space in the future, he aims to build his own pool of talent rather than being a front for other content creators. And for that reason, TTT has launched a TTT Academy for creators to upskill themselves.

He said, “I think the best way to go about building an influencer marketing setup is to build your own pool of influencers. Managing influencers is a low margin business. Hence, it’s better if one creates their own pool of influencers along with helping talent break out.”

He went to add, “We have one writing course ‘Writing that sells’. We want to be the best content creation school in the country. We have started with training writers as that’s our core strength. Then we’ll move to graphic designing, copywriting, editing and then move on to train people to become influencers.”

Pointing out an important aspect of how influencer marketing is shaping up in India, Gosalia said that going forward brands would be working with certain creators for the long-run rather than collaborating with random influencers on an ad-hoc basis.

“The problem right now is that every creator endorses too many brands. Someday, they would be promoting X brand and the other day promoting its competition. Currently, with influencers, sales may or may not increase, but brand building definitely suffers. Eventually, brands will realise that they will have to build their own creator faces. Brands need to stop using influencers as distribution platforms. For example, how Zomato does it with Saahiba,” said Gosalia. 

Also, Gosalia thinks content creators are his biggest competitors - because of their operation being so lean and yet they are earning revenue which is at par with big content platforms. 

While there are a lot of avenues like podcast and regional content where TTT can expand into, Gosalia wants to focus on one thing at a time to produce quality content rather than falling into the trap of being the ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’.