Apalya Technologies started with a vision to deliver content across digital devices back in 2005 when the reach of digital content was limited to television and smartphones were still a rarity. Sensing this as an opportunity to bring together the content owners, mobile telcos and end users, Apalya started with Mobile TV and has grown to serve every major telco in South Asia and Middle East. Since 2015, Apalya’s focus has been on building and deploying proprietary OTT platform – myplex. Through myplex and other OTT enablers, Apalya strives to deepen clients’ relationship, whether it be media owner or telecom operator or even a broadband ISP, with customers thereby impacting business in a positive manner. Shelley Vishwajeet interacted with Venugopal Iyengar, Apalya’s Chief Operating Officer to deliberate on its journey till now and the company’s future goals.
How has been your journey since you got associated with Apalya?
It has been an incredible ride since I have got on board in the middle of 2013. Along the way we went from trying to build a consumer OTT service, pivoted to an OTT platform licensing model, overcame some serious financial challenges , expanded international operations, turned profitable after 9 long years and are now on our way to building new service verticals. While we have had our share of tense moments, we have matured as a business, learnt a whole lot about identifying customer needs, perfecting engagement models and, in general, keeping things viable, which is often the difference between life and death.
Which are the chief areas/verticals Apalya’s expertise is being acknowledged for?
The core of Apalya’s strength is to identify future trends and develop technology solutions in time to meet the demands of the industry. To that extent, Apalya has been in the forefront of pioneering innovative technology that helps drive the industry. Apalya’s pioneering effort for Mobile TV in India has seen it work closely with more than 40 leading media owners broadcasting 120+ channels, movies and videos.
Keeping in line with changing customer needs and new technologies Apalya redefined its focus from the content game to providing platform as a service for the fast growing Over The Top (OTT) segment. With several hundreds of manhours of experience in the field, Apalya has developed the most agile platform `myplex’. ‘myplex’ is a plug-and-play solution for enabling OTT way. Currently, Apalya boasts of powering Sun NXT and Vodafone Play completely on its platform. It is also the lone Indian player to provide top of line plug and play technology solutions for OTT.
Aplaya’s enabling effort in the space encompasses integrating CDN, payment& billing, cloud services amongst others. Expertise extends to ensuring seamless cross screen experience across Mobiles, Tablets, PC’s, Smart TVs, Chrome cast, set top boxes and Android boxes. Additionally, custom report generation tool helps manage Acquisitions, Subscriptions, content reports, Usage and behavior segmentation and retention.
Could you please elaborate on some of the USPs about your proprietary OTT platform –myplex?
Apalya’s flagship product myplex, is one of the most agile and flexible solutions in the market that encompasses all the components required for a state of the art service. We are focussed on constantly evolving our platform capabilities and user experience parameters as well as critical business enablers like CMS scope, payments, billing and analytics.
Most of the current OTT solutions available in the market are rigid and not easily customizable. One of the biggest differences with Apalya’s approach is that it partners its customers through their entire journey. It’s not a piecemeal, off-the-shelf solution. It’s as customized and engaged as customers need it to be.
How competent and confident are you of competing with international solution providers in your field?
We are already doing this today. Given the highly specialized area of our operations, our competition is mostly international. Our edge is really in knowing emerging markets and the challenges of video delivery, user behavior in these markets. The other thing that differentiates us is our high level of customization of our platform, product and service. A lot of the emerging markets customers need this support as OTT is still in its early stages with requirements, behavior and landscape changing every day.
Please talk about some of the challenges and opportunities globally for a company like yours and the strategy you are opting to maximize growth and gains?
Apalya caters to a market with several challenges on the enabling front, limited monetization tools, and technology that needs to be adaptable on incredibly different networks and devices.
Having grown up solving the challenging problems of emerging markets, Apalya is tremendously adaptable and responsive and the deployment cycles have generally been very fast.
The company is eyeing both advanced markets like the US and Europe as well as markets such as Africa, Middle East and South-East Asia which are highly influenced by the rising trend of cord cutting and increasing penetration of smart devices, presenting huge opportunities for OTT players. Global Online TV episode and movie revenues for 138 countries is expected to touch $83 billion in 2022; more than double the $37 recorded billion in 2016. The Global OTT TV & Video Forecasts report estimates that $9 billion will be added in 2017 alone.
We haven’t seen many OTTs or Apps from India making global waves despite having the best technical skills here. What have been the reasons and what should be done to galvanize the OTT development base here?
The OTT space is not just about technology. Of course, the tech is core to this. But domain expertise, familiarity with the content business, consumption and usage behavior, security and protection and user management are all critical make or break aspects. Given our decade long experience in mobile video where we have been pioneers, we are at a position of advantage not just in India but across Asia and Africa as well.