‘We are early movers in a fast evolving landscape’

Sameer Pitalwalla, 29, Co-founder and CEO, Culture Machine

How was the idea for Culture Machine conceived?
Venkat Prasad and I were both at Google/Youtube and Disney India respectively when we met. We shared a common vision on how technology and new platforms were transforming the consumption of video and narration of stories in this new age. Being in our unique positions, we had the vantage point to see things unfold first hand, as to how these changes were taking place and people’s reciprocation to them. Data on India’s growing appetite for digital entertainment and our own growth proved our convictions to be true.
Why is there a growing need for organising content on the Internet?
We aren’t organising content; we are creating it, at scale, with insights and knowledge gained through the vast troves of data on the web.
What is the objective of the content that you create?
We aim to entertain South Asians globally. Comedy is one of our verticals, amongst others that include music, news, beauty and food.
What is your mantra of ‘manufacturing virality’?
Our mantra is to provide digital video entertainment for South Asians. If some of it goes ‘viral’, it means it has succeeded in transcending the community it was originally meant for. We use our proprietary technology to identify what resonates with communities and what trends are endemic.
With respect to online entertainment organisations, how do you see India’s future?
India’s youth consumes a disproportionate amount of entertainment, especially video online. These new platforms are the Tata Sky and Dish TV of the world; they are global, massive in terms of attracting eye balls and are disrupting traditional media. We want Culture Machine to be the Star Network of the Internet, by combining great story-telling with insights and scale through some ground breaking technology.
What are the challenges that you’re facing?
No challenges really. We are early movers in a fast moving and evolving landscape. We are building the market and being built by it.