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1Mby1M Incubation Radar 2019: Bakkbenchers, Mumbai, India

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 15th 2019

With improved bandwidth, proliferation of smart phones, and the increasing ubiquity of super-fast Internet connections across India, patterns for online content consumption have been changing. Maker of viral hits like Honest Eve Teaser and Demonetized Opinion, Bakkbenchers Entertainment is a technology-enabled, socially distributed digital entertainment company that caters to these changing trends in online video content in India.

Bakkbenchers Entertainment was founded in May 2015 by Whistling Woods International Film School alumni Trishank Mukesh Goswami and Nayeem Tomar. After working in the Bollywood film industry with top film and commercial production houses on hit films like Queen and Udta Punjab, Trishank realized that there was a massive content gap for the urban Indian youth that was discovering and consuming content via social media and smartphones.

Today, Bakkbenchers is a digital entertainment company for the smartphone generation. It has the most advanced tools such as data analytics, video intelligence, and Business Tracker for the creation and analysis of popular content, which is completely in-house. With its technology, it has created and distributed some of the best performing original digital content in India that has been nominated for Best Content in Asia. 

Bakkbenchers’ main value proposition is that it offers highly engaging, original, premium video content for the Indian millennials who cannot find anything worth watching on the traditional channels. It has a strong focus on consistency in producing shareable and snackable short-form content, sketches, and web-series. It aims to be a premium content destination for the millennials. Its videos also have an international appeal and have been shared much more widely than most other videos coming out of India. Some of these have also done very well in other countries like United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, USA, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, UK, and Malaysia.

Bakkbenchers also has a top-class team with a good mix of professionals from media and entertainment, finance, and technology backgrounds. Its team’s individual work experience includes working with elite film studios in India like Reliance Entertainment, Phantom Films, Dharma Productions, Yash Raj Films, Red Chillies Entertainment, and Excel Entertainment.

Bakkbenchers gained initial traction with the very first series that it released in March, 2016. The series, called Chutzpah Trailers, was released on social platforms via YouTube and then on Facebook and received over 8.5 million organic views and was shared over 190,000 times, making it one of India’s biggest organic viral hits of the year. It currently has over 930,000 subscribers across Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram and an online viewership of over 200 million. Its online platform has over 21.8 million monthly views.

Bakkbenchers targets millennials in the age group of 18-24 and 25-34 with over $6,000 annual household income. It has 46 clients including Filter Copy, Dice Media, Viacom18, Yash Raj Talent,, Phantom Films, Amazon Prime, YouTube Space Mumbai, Sony Entertainment Television, Hindustan Times, and Twitter. Based on client and campaign requirements, it uses social media, blogs, affiliates, PPC, SEO, and Email for online marketing and sponsorship, collaboration, print ads, events, and radio for offline marketing.

Bakkbenchers charges $5,500-$13,500 for branded content, $4,000 for product integration, $270 for memes, and $675-$1,350 for distribution.

Bakkbenchers counts The Viral Fever (TVF) and Pocket Aces as its biggest competitors. Founded in 2012, TVF has raised $16 million so far and had revenue of $32.8 million, six channels, and 14.2 million subscribers in 2018. Before funding, it had 920,000 subscribers and revenue of $615,385. Pocket Aces was founded in 2014 and has 7.6 million subscribers for its three channels and revenue of $8.1 million in 2018. It has raised $3 million so far.

Bakkbenchers Entertainment is 100% bootstrapped by the founders. They have invested $13,500 of their personal funds to get to revenue of INR 9,100,000 (around $130,000) so far. It is also profitable. It has six main revenue streams: 1) Native Advertising 2) Licensing and Content Syndication 3) Branded Content 4) White Label Solutions 5) Affiliate Revenue 6) Merchandise Revenue.

Bakkbenchers estimates the TAM to be $879.72 million. This is based on the assumption that the Indian digital advertising market growing at a CAGR of 35% is worth $2.09 billion of which about 56% or $1.17 billion has an online marketing focus on social media (30%) and video (26%) channels. Of this, its target audience segment comprises about 75% or $879.72 million.

Its growth strategy is to continue to scale its video output from Bakkbenchers. It hopes to increase the monthly audience reach from 21.8 million to 300 million by year-end and increase revenues by being the first choice of brands and agencies. It has five long-form web series set up for this year and hopes to do one tent pole release per quarter. It also plans to create over 19,500 stories in the form of content pieces and widgets; 4,500 short-form, live action, astrology, and food videos, and build out and bolster various technology tools.

Bakkbenchers is looking to raise $500,000 this year. Its ideal investor would be VC firms and strategic investors who believe in the founders’ vision and are accessible to work with.

Bakkbenchers plans to use the funds to build a pioneering, highly scalable Professional Generated Content (PGC)-led User Generated Content (UGC) platform that delivers personalized and relatable content experiences while allowing the users to express themselves.

Bakkbenchers also plans to grow its vernacular reach in India, especially the Hindi belt. It plans to build out four more regional content channels that will focus mainly on Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities:

  1. Rashi Feeds: Astrology content destination for millennials.   
  2. Nasty Girls: A women-centric channel for entertainment.
  3. Diet Eats: Diet food content destination with ‘cheffy’ hacks and recipes.
  4. Daily Feeds: Infotainment content home with humor, realness, cultural commentary, and political stories for young Indians.

The content curated from these channels will be available on the Bakkbenchers Platforms under categories such as Bollywood, Politics, Lifestyle, Astrology, Diet Food, Fitness, etc.

Most importantly, it is in the process to build Bakkbenchers Entertainment into a well-known new media company that will attract the best young content creators and media business talent. The founders hope to expand their team even more and add talented people in content, technology, marketing, and business development.

Bakkbenchers has nearly 1 million subscribers and expects to grow more than 100% to reach over $893,200 in revenue in the first year.

This segment is a part in the series : 1Mby1M Incubation Radar 2019

. Bakkbenchers, Mumbai, India
. Neeman’s, Hyderabad, India

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