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Shekhar Kapur and AR Rahman’s digital media startup Qyuki goes live

Digital & creative media platform Qyuki has finally gonelive from today, after a six-month delay from a proposed launch in May this year. The joint venture of feted movie director Shekhar Kapur and Oscar winning music composer and music director A R Rahman (who has a minority stake) was conceptualized as a platform where creative people, could come share, build and work together to eventually publish the art form for the public market.

Technology major Cisco Systems had invested in Qyuki early this year.

The idea can simply be put forth as a Pinterest made for artistes across categories like music, film, dance, photography etc.  You can put up lyrics, a photograph or a short film script on a Pinterest-styled dashboard.

True to its nature, the firm conducted a live broadcast of the launch conference which had some 446 people watching (a blasé response?).

Techcircle took a rest ride of the site and here’s what he found.

Login & Layout

While Kapur wants Qyuki to be, in his own words, “not be as inert as Facebook or as passive as YouTube” (and is targeting a larger audience than just professional artists) Qyuki does not want to stay out of the Facebook link altogether and has an optional Facebook login sync besides its own login.

The look and feel of the site is pleasing to the eyes with the colours gelling with each other, though we could not help notice that the dashboard and post-it concept is an exact replica of Pinterest (creative inspiration!).

There are three main pages the site is broken down into viz. Creations, Community & Inspirations.

Creations: Again, it’s like the Pinterest homepage feed where you can put up a subject of interest, add pictures, audio and video files with a max limit of 10 MB, 20 MB & 500 MB, respectively. All data limits pointing to the fact that duration should be short so as to say “Samples only”. Except in the text files section, where we couldn’t see a limit.

To be fair, the big difference from Pinterest is that Qyuki has categories like music, song writing, visual arts, performing arts, storytelling etc.

Community: Here is an attempt to localize and bring about small peer groups with same interests, nothing really different than what a Facebook does with a Facebook page or many other social networks.

Inspiration: This section is the USP of the site. It allows users to work with established artists and creative personalities such as Chetan Bhagat, Ranjit Barot, Suresh Natarajan and Imtiaz Ali. For example author and columnist Chetan Bhagat has put up a post asking users to write a 300 word article to express love in multiple forms, with a tag line at the bottom “Your creation could get handpicked by Chetan Bhagat.”

We found the concept interesting as it fuses the twitter element of interacting with a celebrity and a Facebook fan page. Although it is not something which can’t be easily replicated or incorporated  by existing social networks, this platform could be far less crowded (at least to begin with).

Besides these three it is also pushing what it calls its Qyuki Premiere, a sort of red carpet to view exclusive creations produced by Qyuki. All of the QyukiPremiere content is exclusive and owned by Qyuki. As per the site, “To see the entire content on Qyuki Premiere, you need to be signed in. Currently, this section is complimentary where you can browse and enjoy our exclusive content for free. Eventually Qyuki’s members will have the option of subscribing to Qyuki Premiere to continue enjoying our work.”

Biz model?

Qyuki clearly wants to be a buzzing platform for closet or would-be writers, artists, musicians, dancers among others. Backed by the big faces of the visual and audio world, it offers an online medium to showcase talent and possibly take it up more than as a hobby as a marketable product.

Users can sign up for free and there is no advertising on the site (at least for now).

Besides the proposed monetisation from Qyuki Premiere, which is being pushed right from the homepage, the company would look at advertising and creating premium services for a paid user base after the site reaches a certain critical mass.

Qyuki also seeks to do brand engagement in which brands will sponsor inspirations of their own, something like creative contests or they will bring in sponsored content for the Qyuki premium users. For Example, Dell Alienware is sponsoring Shekhar Kapur’s War Lord movie, the trailer of which can be seen at present on the home page.

Also, it can become a market place in which content uploaded by artisites or users can be sold or licensed out to others with a revenue share with Qyuki. There’s no definitive plan on this front yet.

Then there are partnerships to develop content like TV shows to be distributed on the platform. Qyuki has already inked partnerships with Rajshri Productions and Siddartha Basu’s Big Synergy.

So will you switch on to a platform which allows you to do a Pinterest, Youtube and Facebook on one platform?

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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