Spuul aims to provide best in class user experience on its video-on-demand platform

Launched in 2012, Spuul is a Singapore-based studio neutral aggregator startup that aggregates a variety of content across banners.

Video content aggregator startup Spuul just happened to come into existence when a media industry expert, a tech entrepreneur, a banker, a businessman and a good bottle of wine came together, reveals CEO Subin Subaiah. “It was clear that building a full stack, pure play enterprise, leading video-on-demand (VOD) player for India content was a phenomenon waiting to happen. Once the idea was germinated by the founders, it was just a matter of harnessing the right talent to execute to plan,” explains Subaiah. He adds that the diversity of Spuul’s founding team is its strength.

Co-founder Sudesh Iyer comes with deep domain knowledge of the advertising, film and television business; fellow co-founder Rajesh Bothra is the CEO of Kobian, an electronics company and also a savvy investor. Tech entrepreneur S Mohan brings in his vision and talent of commercialising ideas. Subaiah himself has been a senior banker with leading Wall Street players. “Trust, friendship and a shared aspiration to build Spuul into a hugely successful brand bonds the shareholders together,” says Subaiah.

Launched in 2012, Spuul is a Singapore-based studio neutral aggregator startup that aggregates a variety of content across banners. Shortly after inception, it developed smart TV and mobile applications for streaming content. Spuul’s catalogue currently consists of approximately 900 movies. The supported platforms for streaming include Web, mobile (iOS, Android), TV (Samsung, Panasonic, LG), Airplay on iOS and Chromecast on Android. Besides India, other key markets for Spuul (in terms of user volume) are the US, UK, Pakistan, Australia and the United Arab Emirates. The Spuul team consists of 29 members.

Subaiah believes they have one of the technologically strongest products in this space. “We have our own video player integrated even on 3rd party websites. We were the first service in the space to introduce downloads for offline viewing, even before YouTube did. An adaptive bit rate functionality ensures that the quality of video and download streams are adjusted according to the users' internet connection, along with progressive downloads which means the user can watch his movie while it downloads in the background, as opposed to him waiting for it to download fully before being able to watch it. We have also introduced tiny, a mini-rendition of a movie fit to be downloaded in under 60 MB on mobile devices. We’re also present on more than just the web and mobile – we’re on all major Smart TVs, including Android, Amazon and Apple TV,” explains Subaiah. Users just need to use one registered email ID or phone number in order to access their account on any of these devices.

Choosing not to comment on the funding aspect of the startup, Subaiah shares that exclusive content, original content, better discovery and recommendations are part of growth plans. He says this will enhance the user experience going forward. “We're focused on providing our users with a seamless viewing experience through our better use of technology, which further enhances the overall user experience. Our films come with very limited advertisements, and absolutely no pre-rolls. We are focused on bringing the latest content to our viewers, and sometimes our blockbusters are acquired before their satellite premieres,” adds Subaiah, speaking about providing its users the best possible experience and choice. He says they are always open to users, and make extra efforts to customise the service according to the feedback they receive. Spuul has also forayed into regional content for its audiences across the world.

When asked how Spuul looks to widen its reach, Subaiah says, “With approximately 12 million active users, we are currently positioned as one of the leading VOD platforms in the country and the Indian diaspora. Having said that, we have a fairly robust distribution network, and there are several things in the pipeline which will help us reach the farthest of crevices in the user base. We aim to reach out to not just a certain section of viewers, but every type of viewer - whether he is a Bollywood fan, or watches only regional content.”

The founders aim for Spuul to be available through maximum distribution channels and payable for by maximum payment methods.

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