Inspired by Microsoft, here's a tryst of tracks and stacks

Seeing Bill Gates’ photograph on a magazine, announcing Microsoft going public was the first big ‘Aha’ moment for me, said Baskar Subramaniam

Akashdeep Arul
New Update
Inspired by Microsoft, here's a tryst of tracks and stacks

India’s over-the-top (OTT) streaming industry, has the potential to touch $15 billion over the next nine years, according to a RBSA Advisors report.


The growth comes after India has the second-highest per capita consumption of online video in the world, and the cheapest mobile data in the world, it added.

In an exclusive interview with Baskar Subramanian, CEO and co-founder, Amagi, talks about his life and his company in this upcoming industry.

“I was passionate about entrepreneurship. I was in the 10th standard when I first tried my hand at running my own software company. I have always been keen to explore how software impacts people’s lives. It was this very same passion that drove me to make all the entrepreneurial decisions of my life,” said Baskar.


I was a state champion in athletics growing up, and that is what I would have pursued, had I not followed my love for software and entrepreneurship, he added.

Who did you look up to the most in your life?

Seeing Bill Gates’ photograph on a magazine, announcing Microsoft going public was the first big ‘Aha’ moment for me. What Gates did with Microsoft was the very thing I had always dreamed of doing – using software to create a big impact. Here was conclusive proof that software had the potential to radically change the world.


My father was another big source of motivation in my life. He always nudged me towards running my own enterprise, encouraging me to follow my own path and passion.

“My co-founders and I wanted to look at industries where technology could make a significant impact. Media and Entertainment seemed like an area where there was great potential for tech-led transformation,” said Baskar.

We came from the tech background, with little to no idea about the media industry landscape. As outsiders, we studied the industry closely, learnt its nuances and proceeded to identify areas where technology could play a disruptive role, he added.


What does Amagi bring to the table?

The broadcast industry had not undergone a technology transformation in a very long time. Broadcasting operations were dependent on hardware-intensive infrastructure that were often expensive and limited in their ability to scale. Cloud was a major disruptor in the industry. It offered broadcasters the chance to run their operations entirely through a virtualized platform, with the option to manage it from any remote corner of the world. The result was a great deal more flexibility at a fraction of the cost.

“Amagi offers three business models for customers to choose from – Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), ‘Bring your own license’, and a Fully Managed Service. We also offer a revenue share model with content owners and platforms based on ad insertions enabled,” said Baskar.


How did you build the products?

Our products and solutions are built entirely on the cloud, using public cloud infrastructure such as Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. We use a lot of open-source stack and work on deeptech video-related aspects.

We also utilize Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms extensively for enhancing the capabilities of our products.


What changes did you notice in the industry during the pandemic?

Across the world, the pandemic has been the biggest adversity for most businesses. People have been stuck at home and one of their forms of entertainment has been to consume more video content. This gave content owners and broadcasters an opportunity to capture viewership in these unprecedented times.

In the last few years, the industry has been witnessing a shift in viewership from traditional cable to a variety of streaming platforms like connected TV-led Free Ad Supported Streaming TV (FAST).


As a result, streaming has become the future of TV with millions of viewers around the world making it their favored entertainment destination. In 2020 alone, nearly 68 million US homes had made the switch from cable to OTT, and around 300 streaming players were vying for their attention in the market. In India too, studies predict that the OTT content market is at an inflection point and is likely to reach $5 billion in size by 2022.

While subscription-based streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime continue to be popular among viewers, the sheer volume of options in the Subscription-Video-On-Demand space has caused 'decision fatigue'.

The speed at which the media and the entertainment industry adopts technology needs to be faster. While technology has made inroads into the industry, there is still much room for growth.

The sooner technology is adopted, the better it would be for the industry, in terms of the economics of how it works and the dynamism it can provide in user experience, said Baskar.

How do you keep your company secure?

Data protection comes in two forms for us. The first is in terms of content protection. We are custodians of our customers' content, and it is very important for us to safeguard the same. As our products are built on public cloud infrastructure, we’ve built virtual privacy rings to ensure that the content is fully protected.

Secondly, the company is going through SOC2 compliance, which is an all-round certification on how the company manages security across the whole ecosystem, including, data storage transmission, operation, authentication of personnel managing the data, audits, log management, and more. This includes data related to products, processes, and people.

Any latest round of investment?

Accel, Avataar Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, and existing investor Premji Invest have collectively invested over $100 million in Amagi in September 2021. It will fund to accelerate the tremendous momentum for the $50 billion cloud-based video content creation, distribution, and monetization market.