Tuesday, October 9, 2007

India's first Podcast in action: From Sania to Sonia

Indicast is the first Multi-person Indian Podcast and the two resident contributors are Aditya & Abhishek. They have a very entertaining audio content that'll keep you updated with the top things happening in & around India, Indian business, Sports and technology. Their live cricket T20 semifinal/final podcasts were a huge hit.

I have been after Aditya with my set of questions on how two individuals can set up such an amazing site and concept in action. Thanks Aditya for some candid and interesting answers.

1. Where did the idea come from?

I was in the US and we initially had decided to start a business focused blog which didn't excite us as much as we thought so we decided to do something drastically different. This was when podcasting was fairly new and hence we decided to give it a shot. We read a lot of blogs but we felt that blogging wasnt for us and podcasting was the ideal platform cause not everyone can write as well as they can talk. Moreover, through podcasting we had a more informal and interactive alternative as compared to blogging.

2. Is there a research that you have done on the business model?

Yes, the research was done by me and abhishek over a cup of coffee at Dadar CCD on the back of a paper napkin - money could be made though our model but it requires a lot of patience. Its a long gestation business! On a more serious note, We really don't believe in analyst reports and it was good to know that even the VCs dont take the reports seriously. That being said we have spoken to a Media houses and we were pleasantly surprised to know that they are willing to buy inventory on new media like blogs and podcasts. The next step would be video ad embeds but we are getting there slowly. Apart from that the business model is pretty simple and there is only one way to find out if it works i.e by doing it

3. Tell us how you go about constructing a website like this?

We use joomla as our platform. Its highly customizable and best of all its free. But the beauty of Indicast is not in the technology but the presentation style. A platform can be easily replicated but nobody has been able to replicate our themes as of today.

4. How did you actually build Indicast (how much did it cost, where do you host, what did you need to do in terms of paperwork, coding, finding people, etc)?

We have done everything possible to keep our technical costs low. We host our shows on archive.org which is a free service which takes care of our bandwidth costs. Joomla is free and we very adept at customizing it to our (rather our listeners) needs.

As I said technical coding etc is the easiest part of the business. We are short of people who are willing to experiment. We are not looking for experts in finance or technology. We are just looking for people with deep interest in finance/ technology or anything else. We encourage people to help us out part-time not because we dont have the cash to pay them but because we believe that they get good insights working in other fields which add a lot of value in our audio shows.

5. Capital is important for a venture like this, I feel. What are
your Capex plans?
Our capital expenditure includes buying good audio - video equipment and supporting hardware. From a software point of view we are not that worried. The major expenditure we see lies in marketing and spreading the word. We are currently going though the word of mouth advertising way because we dont have money to throw away at advertising. We would much rather use it in developing audio-video content.

6. What are your goals with IC? I mean the number of page views,

Our goal, if we get the required financial and advisory support is to hit 1million/year download mark. We are currently doing around 80 thousand to 1 lakh downloads/year. Its enough for us to break even and make a profit. Our calculations show a modest revenue potential of 2-3 crores.

7. How do you market IC?

As you know we are marketing indicast through blogs. We have an affiliate program for Indian bloggers which helps us increase downloads. It is still in testing phase. Apart from that, we havent really conducted any formal marketing campaign. We try to create value to the user and have a good SEO system which helps us attracts users from google. For Example, during the world cup we forecasted that people would be searching for score updates since they'll be working. So we started providing free web based audio commentary for Indian matches and have received a lot of traffic for this service. This service is donation based and whenever India wins we get good donations. We also have developed a lot of goodwill since our commentary is similar to Indicast. We make people feel as if they are sitting with their friend in a living room and watching the match! These commentary listeners end up listening our pod-casts.

8. What would you say to a young person who wants to do something entrepreneurial?

Just get going... you might have ideas but ideas dont make money. Executing the idea does.

9. How enjoyable, frustrating has been the journey so far?

Its both... we are enjoying it whenever we are creating content but its frustrating when we see the month end revenue. But also, something that a VC told me that as an entrepreneur you will only get instant failure but never will you get instant success. This keeps us going.

Thanks, Aditya

Post a Comment