SAIF Partners Invest $5mn in iStream, Online Video Streaming Platform

SAIF Partners has invested $5mn in iStream, a Bangalore based online video venture (A2 Media Pvt Ltd).  iStream is a video aggregate service that provides an online content streaming platform, where users can discover content across multiple genres like news, TV shows and Movies. The digital media company founded by Radhakrishnan Ramachandran and Chellapa Dhanukodi offers video content across all major Indian languages.

The company founded in 2007, entered into a tie-up with istreamYouTube three years back and offers live content from TimesNow, ET Now, Aaj Tak etc. As of writing this, iStream offers only News related content and plans to offer Movies and Live TV content soon.

Post funding, Ravi Adusumalli and Mukul Singhal of SAIF Partners will join A2 Media’s board following the $5 Mn investment.

Monetizing Online Video Content In India

Monetization is typically from subscriptions, pay-per-view, sponsorships and ads. If you have compelling premium content that is copyrighted or licensed by you then subscription and or pay-per-view models could be an option. But getting scale on the back of subscriptions is not easy; however, if executed correctly, you could make a tidy margin. Monetization through advertising is popular amongst existing websites that have video capability.[read: A 101 On Understanding Your Online Video Competency]

Given that most of the content producers are embracing the app/tablet space, iStream’s real meat lies in streaming to devices – and essentially competing with content creators as well.

The key for iStream is to really redefine content distribution (think Hulu) – distribution which offers much bigger reach than content producers can ever imagine.

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