Giving Life To PM Modi’s Travel Goals For The Common Man

On the occasion of 73rd Independence Day, Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi encouraged every Indian to visit at least 15 tourist destinations across India in the next three years—to promote travel and tourism, and also to encourage a thirst for knowledge. The PM himself had been an avid traveller in his youth.

Gularghati

We at SparkTV welcome this initiative and have taken up the challenge of asking our creators to cover every town and village in India, from the caves in the remote Himalayas to the temples in the south, and send us stories from the heart of a pulsating country. Those who wish to travel, especially on a budget, can discover the distinct histories and cultures of India on our app. Our creators — comprising film-makers, video producers, photo journalists and students — are sending us video stories of travel by road, rail and air, captured through a range of devices, from simple smart phones to camera drones.

LIVE – Independence Day Celebrations at Aizwal

Recently, we published a wide array of live videos on special occasions like the Independence Day, Raksha Bandhan, Rath Yatra, Guru Purnima, Eid and so on from across the nation, not to mention diverse short films by our extended pool of freelance storytellers. Through our presence in all of India’s 29 states, we have been bringing to life the traditions, food habits, career aspirations and love stories of Indians in Hindi, Tamil, Bangla, Kannada and English.

View India in all its colours on our app, SparkTV. If you are passionate about telling stories from deep within your motherland, you can reach out to us at info@homescreennetwork.com.

In 4 Months, SparkTV App Went From A Few Hundred Downloads To More Than A Million!

A lot has happened in the last 4 months and one among them was the 1 Million Milestone (as of writing this blog, we are about to touch 1.5 Million downloads). 

Our team has been aggressively working on the app experience through these last few months, with our goal to make it one of the country’s most unique content apps for vernacular speaking masses. Some big things we did in the recent past are:

Real LIVE from deep within India

Be it Odissha Fani, Rath Yatra, the Ajmer Flood, Teej Festival or the Gujarat Floods, SparkTV team has been covering events from all over India, and have been engaging the SparkTV users with a window into India through video and LIVE.

Personalised Feed that learns from user behaviour and recommends best content to them

SparkTV now enables tech to provide a Personalised feed that suggests relevant videos to the users, based on their past behavior. The Personalized feed is driven by Machine Learning algorithms that become increasingly smarter as individual and collective users use the app. This in turn kept more users coming back to the app and hence spend more time on the App. 

UI & UX Revamp

SparkTV App had a major revamp in its design and added up multiple functionalities and features making SparkTV app more cohesive and powerful. This was also a major contributor for the users time spent in the App, Increase in video view count and increase in the number of shares.

Lot more is coming in the next two months; in fact, we have a roadmap laid out for next one year of media technology innovations that push the frontier and bring users the most enriching and entertaining content from deep within the country. 

Stay tuned and download the app today

Why Local Language Internet is the Most Important Development of 21st Century

The current-day internet is highly biased towards English speaking users — it is the classic 80-20 challenge: 80% of content is available for 20% of the users (English speaking ones), and only 20% content for the remaining 80% (the local language speakers). 

This disparity will get addressed over the next decade, through the efforts of companies, individuals, organizations, who are driven to engage with this emerging userbase. 

As the internet gains a more local flavour, we will witness a richness and diversity that it has long lacked. The world will become flatter, this time due to the widespread internet penetration, and the flattening will take place as the new userbase gets equal access to the information as English-speaking users have had till now. 

We believe that the equal access to information will not only empower the large swathes of world population that has up until now been isolated, it will spark a whole new breed of companies and startups that will celebrate the cultural diversity of our nation.

The House of Sir George Everest — A SparkTV Video

From local heroes and stars, to incredible destinations and experiences, to local cuisine and customs, to events that have till date been hidden from even neighbouring states, it will be a whole new era.

New algorithms and technologies that are language aware is at the heart of this revolution. So are the individuals who are passionate to engage with this new audience daily through their work.

The Floating Church of India — a SparkTV Video

Our biggest drive is to be at the centre of this new era that’s coming. Since our inception in 2018, we have been incessantly focussed on creating a flow of authentic infotainment for this audience, our ultimate goal being not only the company that provides them smart, quality, powerful, informative and entertaining content everyday, but also creating new technologies that power this multilingual world.

We are, and have been, at the heart of this revolution that’s taking place.

Imagine the world a decade from now: a user speaking any of India’s languages would be able to seamlessly search, book tickets, order food, find jobs, find love, understand the world through content, just as a English-language user currently does. That is the world we are building, the world of diversity and of equal access to information to everyone.

Do you aspire to be part of this movement? Join as — as a brand, as a part of our team, or as a content parter. Write to us, we want to hear from you if you feel passionate about this space in any way. We are at info@homescreennetwork.com

Is your brand vernacular ready?

According to the recently released Year in Search report by Google, over 40 million new users came online in the year 2018. India is the world’s last remaining large market, with over half a billion new users poised to come online by 2021, a userbase that is now being referred to as the Next Half Billion. 

Ironically, content on internet has, up until date, been so heavily biased towards users literate in English that for the emerging new users who prefer to access internet in their local language, there is a huge information gap that would need to be filled over the next decade or so. 

The problem doesn’t stop at just information, even access to product information, advertisements, interface to most of the common services, all happen to be heavily biased for English-language literate users. Most brand websites lack support for Indic languages, and even their social media efforts assume English literacy. Yet, the Google-KPMG report states that 88% of local language users prefer video advertisements in their local language.

It is, therefore, imperative that brands, especially B2C sector ones that target Bharat, urgently adopt Indic languages as the medium through which they disseminate information about their products and services. From website, to social media marketing, to video advertisements and branded content, should make the effort to talk to the local language users. Doing so would lead to some major wins — everything from accessibility of their products to the local language users, to harness local language searches on Google, to reducing the burden on their customer support department, to higher sales, there are advantages are numerous. 

Since our launch in early 2018, we have been regularly working with brands and helping them with aspects of this. Our fully multilingual content workflow, ability to generate low cost videos in Indic languages, ability to distribute widely, and engaging new formats to drive communities around a product or a brand, we have been busy building the workflow required to harness the new internet userbase from ground up. Reach out to us, and we can tell you how we can help. 

This is an exciting time for all of us. As we herald into the new era, we aspire to see an internet that’s more equitable, rich in local language information, and in the process, collaborate with brands to help them spread their message to this large emerging userbase.

Homescreen Network has pan-India presence, and we offer highly cost-effective approaches to Indic language content collaboration. Drop us a note at partners@homescreennetwork.com or give us a call at +918448444262.

What Does The SparkTV User Want?

At SparkTV, we are rigorous about tracking metrics on a day-to-day basis, to understand user behaviour and tweak our product continuously to align with what users want. With a download base of nearly 500K now, we are starting to get access to some interesting patterns in user behaviour. 

Currently our audience base is largely from South Asian nations — India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal. In fact, to our surprise, the user base in our app non-Indian countries, especially Bangladesh, has been  growing with no marketing effort at all. At one point, we touched #6 in Play Store in Entertainment category in Bangladesh. We noticed this after the fact and were little taken aback. 

There are also some interesting observations around user behaviour that we have spotted. Bengali users tend to participate in polls much more than other language users, especially when the poll is around Cricket or IPL. On the other hand, Tamil users tend to share content lot less than Hindi users, even though our app has highest viewership in Tamil language content by far. There are also category preferences, some of which were completely unexpected. 

A number of key features are going to be released over the next few weeks, all based off of this user understanding we have developed in the last one month. Some of these features will be strikingly different from the trajectory we have demonstrated so far. More on that soon! 🙂  

To continuously align ourselves with our metrics, we conduct daily jam sessions within the team to incorporate the learnings into our upcoming product and content pipeline. This constant awareness of the user, we believe, is the one of the best ways to build for a culturally diverse multilingual audience that will be the driver of Indian internet in near future. 

SparkTV is now available on JioNews App!

JioNews is the latest in the lineup of distribution platforms that SparkTV content can now be viewed on. Our team has been quietly working on streamlining and automating the content delivery, and we are happy to say that the initial burst of content in all five languages is already out. 

Up until now, portions of SparkTV content could be accessed on UCNews, DailyHunt, ShareChat, Paytm, Sony LIV, in addition to the common social media platforms like Facebook. JioNews, the recently launched news app, is available both as a mobile app and a web service, is available in 12 languages and aggregates a large number of live news channels, magazines, news publications, all under one app.

With our relentless focus everyday on providing powerful, informative, entertaining content to India’s emerging vernacular audiences, we are now planning to boost the content production even further, and add newer and more interactive formats to our daily bouquet of content offering.

SparkTV App Crosses 300k Downloads on Playstore

We’ve got news! Good news.

Our app SparkTV (https://sparktv.app) is getting some serious traction on the Playstore. Since its beta launch 45 days ago, the Android app has been downloaded 3,50,000 times by users across India.

As a startup that’s serving emerging regional audiences with relevant videos in Indian languages of their choice, SparkTV has blazed the trail by launching video content streams in 5 Indian languages in a very short span of time.

Sparktv users can now watch a variety of videos ranging from local stories, lifestyle, sports, mythology, health, beauty in Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Kannada,Bengali and English.

In all over, Sparktv’s videos were viewed over 17 million times by users across platforms, including the app and Facebook. The video views and shares on the app are growing exponentially every single day and we will also be rolling out several exciting tech updates in the next few weeks.

“The fact that our app downloads and video views are finding a great deal of organic traction is proof that our content is finding resonance among regional audiences,” says T V Mahalingam, Co-Founder and Editor, SparkTV.  

So far, user feedback on our app has been overwhelmingly positive. And that’s something which keeps us going.    

Revamped SparkTV.in website launch

Over the last several months, we have been quietly working towards building an advanced media stack that has the ability to power an array of our future products. Prior to building this backend, the workflow for publishing content was cumbersome and time-consuming, leading to lower production volume and over-reliance on a number of tools, services and platforms.

The beta version of this stack, with integrated support for streaming and interactive content, was rolled out in Jan 2019, providing us a much-needed framework to build upon.

Since then, we have been revamping our product stack and migrating from the legacy stack to the new platform.

Today, the SparkTV.in website was completely migrated to the new stack and is now LIVE!

Designed with mobile-first mindset, the website has been simplified dramatically to cater to the vernacular users who prefer to consume SparkTV content through their browser rather than an installed app. More advanced features would be rolled out iteratively. Also, the work towards transforming this website into a PWA is also underway, and will be rolled out very soon.

Check this space for more updates soon!

Kannada Language Stream Added to SparkTV

With SparkTV, our constant effort has been to be the source of smart, informative, entertaining and inspiring content for the emerging audiences in India.

The media landscape currently suffers from the 80-20 problem — with large volume of online content available only in English, and sheer lack of non-UGC content in several categories for the vernacular language audiences. We hope to level the playing field by bringing quality content to the emerging audiences.

Up until now, Homescreen Network’s recently launched SparkTV app had been serving content in 4 languages — Tamil, Hindi, Bengali and English.

SparkTV Kannada Launched!

Today we launched our Kannada content stream on the app, making the app accessible to over 25 million Kannada-language users who may not be comfortable with English.

Over the next few months, we will be dramatically scaling up our Kannada churn, bringing a wide bouquet of quality content to the Kannada speaking users.

Watch this space for more updates!