Ping Digital looking to build digital content online through filtered crowdsourcing

Mumbai-based startup Ping Digital Broadcast Pvt Ltd, an online video broadcasting network that produces and distributes original content through channels hosted on YouTube, is looking to build a portfolio of digital media assets in the knowledge space and has already launched new online channels.

As part of its big goal, the company has recently launched two channels – India Food Network and India Music Network – with YouTube embeds, and secured angel funding from two investors. It has also partnered with a Mumbai-based digital music startup OKListen for distributing original content.

"With our online channels, we are targeting global viewers in the age group of 15-40," said Govindraj Ethiraj, founder of Ping Digital. "The traction we have seen in both food and music is encouraging. We have also seen very high monetisation levels for food in some countries like the US and hope to replicate that in India. Our aim is to reach over a million views in six months," added Ethiraj, a journalist by profession who is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Bloomberg TV India.

The company says it may use social networks to identify or reach out to talent, but will not follow a crowdsourcing model as of now. "It means one just can't go and upload videos on our site. Those interested can send in their music clips to us. We will vet, package and upload those and in most cases, we will sign an MoU with the content provider. We may also invite people to our studio and shoot a programme and upload. In all cases, depending on the kind of deal we have, there might be a revenue share with the talent," said Ethiraj. The startup is also creating content in local languages.

Set up in 2012, Ping Digital recently secured angel funding from Ashwin Dhamera, founder of TravelGuru, and Ankur Daga, CEO of, a New York-based e-commerce venture dealing in precious stones.

It has also entered into a revenue-sharing agreement with Google. "Moreover, we are in talks with advertisers for direct advertising and presentation opportunities. Our challenge is to select the best in partnerships, both from revenue and brand perspective, given the relatively longer shelf life on the digital medium," said Ethiraj.

In December 2012, Ping Digital launched its food-focused channel, Indian Food Network . "We have around 180 videos on the site and add approximately 2-3 videos per working day. It translates into more recipes, more cuisines and of course, unique home chefs – all shot and produced in broadcast television quality. We will collect original videos from foodies and food lovers, and upload those on our IFN site after proper editing," noted Ethiraj.

According to him, Ping Digital is in the process of rapidly growing the repertoire of content it has created. "In every genre we enter, we want to be a scale player," he added.

The company further plans to come up with more channels, particularly in the knowledge space. It senses immense opportunity there and aims to provide video content across genres and audiences.

In the coming weeks, Ping Digital will announce more genres and new formats, which India has not seen yet. "As a network of channels, we are looking to capitalise on the technology capabilities that Google/YouTube brings to partners like us," said Ethiraj.

It is also keenly watching the 4G roll-out in India. "The one reason we are creating content in local languages is that we believe consumption in India will go up dramatically once we have higher speed networks like 4G. As of now, we are approaching the mobile/4G opportunity from a YouTube platform standpoint. In the coming days, we could look at directly tying up with providers," he concluded.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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