Curt Marvis, CEO and Co-Founder, QYou in an interview with BW BusinessWorld discusses growth opportunities for digital media companies in India and explains how the US-based company (QYou) began to manage delivery operations and content packaging for the Indian audience. . The winner of the MTV Lifetime Achievement Award in his interview also states that âdigital entertainment is growing in India and that is why we are hereâ. In the interview, he explains how QIndia was formed and more information about the digital entertainment industry around the world. QYou, also known as The QYou since 2013, was established as a media and production company that provides curated internet video content for TV, mobile and video on demand.
What was the idea behind launching The QYou in India?
I have a long history in TV, digital and produced a lot of music videos for MTV that started in the early 80’s. When we started QYou, we really watched YouTube videos because that’s the news. music videos for millennials and millennials. The idea behind what we do with the Q was that the latest stats from YouTube were that 600 hours of content is uploaded every minute. We also believe that after cell phones became a device for displaying content, there was more video viewing than ever before in history. We looked at that and then we saw a business opportunity and said there should be a platform that curates the best of this video content, whether it’s across topics or genres, etc. We also believed there was an opportunity to package the video and distribute it to TV providers like Tata Sky and emerging distribution channels like Jio. We were starting to become a hub in our business when I arrived in India 2 years ago. This pivot was at the origin when we launched the idea and the concept. We thought that if we organized content from all over the world, we could distribute it with international appeal, which wasn’t really true as we needed content creators from the respective countries.
After watching Indian content creators on YouTube, I was quickly blown away that it was high quality and engaging content at the same time. The third element we worked on was to have field boots that understand the market and I was initially introduced to Sundar S. Aaron, Partner, Locomotive Films through our mutual friend. Sundar has a long history of chain and production management. Therefore, Sundar’s business acumen and knowledge in content distribution has been invaluable to us.
We then put everything in place to turn that pivot into local versions of our product, which ultimately led to a QYou India.
How would you describe the digital entertainment industry in the United States?
I have been in the digital business for 18 years and 15 years in this experience I have only witnessed less encouragement and support from everyone around me when it comes to digital. That all changed in my opinion after Netflix entered the digital market where it initially didn’t gain much popularity, even though it was a well-established company selling DVDs through the postal service. American. 2 years after entering the industry, when Netflix started to gain traction, that’s when digital was taken seriously. I would like to say that a year after understanding the digital market, I would say less than half of digital has been treated with respect.
Now we see that the content provided by Netflix is ââno longer just for digital and most of the shows that are nominated for Emmy Awards from there or from Amazon. Digital has seen a big boom, especially in the United States, after OTT platforms gained a huge following.
Where is India in the creation of digital content and OTT platforms?
India has the fastest growing middle class than any country in the world and has a millennial in Gen Z as well as a population highly motivated to take India up a notch over the course of this year. the decade. The government is also very motivated to introduce integrated hardware and technologies as well as content creation. Apart from Bollywood, there is a lot of content that spreads more knowledge about Indian culture. Personally, India will eclipse China over the next decade in terms of media, technology, economy over the next decade and ultimately be driven by a more westernized entrepreneurial attitude that most businessmen follow. here. Having said that, India is also a number one priority for us to do business here and make QYou India one of the most recognized digital platforms to display content that most countries like.
What are The QYou’s expansion plans for the coming year?
Last month in November, we launched QIndia, which became the first release of the channel that not only brings content worldwide, but was specifically designed with a block of local creator programming. We also did the same in Poland where we launched QPolska because the country has a very high penetration of cable and satellite. Poland has 40 million inhabitants and also has a large number of YouTube creators. The reason we thought about tapping into the Polish market was that even they have a rapidly growing economy driven by the middle and upper classes. In 2018, what you’ll really see is how many new channel launches of a localized version of The Q (QYou), which would be a big boost for us. We have also started to create our own programming for millennials and millennials, as we have our own distribution channels. We recently announced the creation of an eSports channel in January 2018 called HUD, known as Heads Up Daily, which is an hour-long daily show made up of news and talk specifically targeting the world of sports. electronic. This fair will be launched in January 2018. We pretty much have the year ahead for all of these areas.
Can you share QYou Media’s investment plans?
We have a strange financial structure and we are a publicly traded company in a very early income business. The reason we are a public company is due to our chairman who was also responsible for investing and starting Lionsgate in 1997 in Canada. At the time, Canada did not have significant venture capital and there is a small cap public market called Toronto Stock Exchange Venture Market and Canadian Stock Exchange and these markets specialize in companies with a market cap of less than 100 million. of dollars. The big difference was that the investments that went into the company were liquid and Lionsgate then turned into a company called Barringer Gold. We then proceeded to a reverse takeover of a mining company called Galleria Opportunities Corporation whose transaction we finalized in March 2017.
From a financial structure, we followed the same processes that we did at Lionsgate which was intentional. We have raised US $ 18-22 million in the history of the company (QYou). We also completed a financing valued at C $ 5.75 million and we are still on the lookout for strategic, merger and acquisition opportunities. We are also considering a separate investment to fund our operations in India, mainly because the market potential is very high here.
How would you describe your time at Lionsgate and what inspired you to form QYou Media?
When I started my non-employee relationship at Lionsgate, the stock was trading between $ 1.50 and $ 2 at the time and they were struggling to make a profit. When I joined them in 2008, it wasn’t long before the great stock market crash and there were tough times for everyone. A corporate raider by the name of Carl Ichann has come knocking on the company door to take over Lionsgate. Lionsgate finally won this battle in 3 years thanks to strong management. Later, in a management meeting, Allison Shearmur discussed the possibility of creating a film series based on the novel “Hunger Games”. The film was a hit in the history of cinema and changed Lionsgate’s fortunes forever. The same stock price in 1997, which was $ 2, has been catapulted to $ 31 and its enterprise value is now worth US $ 10 billion.
QYou’s enterprise value is now worth $ 30 million, but we are certainly following strong revenue growth of over 200% projected over the next 2-3 years on an annual basis and we are following in Lionsgate’s footsteps. but the learning I received there had a huge impact and we want to learn the same and move our business forward.
Is digital media taking precedence over television?
I think the death of television is greatly exaggerated and if you are talking about India, television here is growing. I am a big fan of a multi-screen universe and I watch content on a large format such as sports in particular. Many have talked about the death of movie theaters for 30 years when home video first started, but I don’t really believe it, but what I do believe is that any pure TV provider like Tata Sky needs to develop a multi-screen experience and many of them will be eclipsed by mobile operators. For example, at & t bought DirecTV because they wanted their customers, but that doesn’t mean they will close their doors. This means that in 20 years it will evolve in time under the umbrella of at & t, but the screens on which the content will be viewed will be in a multi-screen world. I think the change and activity taking place in developing countries, the media is more fascinating than any place in the world and the government’s push for progress will bring India there before many other countries .