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NDTV Convergence Launches Tubaah.com; Challenges

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(By Preethi J & Nikhil Pahwa)

tubaahNDTV Convergence, the digital arm of TV news channel NDTV has launched an online video site called Tubaah. Tubaah is modeled on the lines of Hulu – a television-oriented online video site by NBC Universal and News Corp. Interestingly, NBC Universal owns 26% in NDTV Networks, of which NDTV Convergence is a subsidiary. This model is different from YouTube as it does not allow users to upload their own content and only streams their own content.

At present, the site claims to house some 50,000 videos sourced from six NDTV channels, including NDTV 24X7, NDTV India, Metro Nation and NDTV Good Times. The company will soon upload older episodes from NDTV’s archives. Tubaah just appears to be a camouflaged version of NDTV’s Video Zone, a video section on NDTV.com. Video Zone offers the same selection of shows from the NDTV stables. It also offers a video widget  that can be downloaded onto the desktop to watch LiveTV on a small screen. Will Tubaah too come out with a similar widget? Tubaah’s LiveTV category only features NDTV India and 24×7. 

NDTV has said that Tubaah users could build a collection of their favourite NDTV shows. We think that is a tad vain and will wait to see which other prime TV shows leap on the Tubaah bandwagon. Users can rate, comment and embed the videos on their sites/blogs.


Videos are under categories such as business, news, lifestyle, zany, fashion, sports, spiritual and travel. This will allow NDTV to get category specific advertisers. For example, see this video in the business section – it has an 8 second Air France ad before the video begins. There are banner ads on the site as well.



NDTV will face two main challenges – firstly, Tubaah can’t be an NDTV-only website. It needs to beyond the group, and aggregate quality videos from other content owners. In that context, they’ll compete with the likes of BigFlix.com and Rajshri.com, not to mention YouTube, which also has professional content. If limited to NDTV videos only, we doubt that Tubaah will flourish.

Secondly, NDTV will be hard pressed to drive repeat usage because news becomes stale fairly quickly; repeat usage of the site will be determined by the freshness of the news content. So the company will have to spend money on putting out fresh and updated news content spliced from their live news channels, and hence will need an editing team. While professional content is easier to sell to advertisers than user generated content, is it worth it?


The online video industry is still led by YouTube which recorded around 5.9 billion views in December 2008. Comparatively, Hulu had just 241 million views. Fox Interactive Media came in at second position with 445 million views, according to a report on TechSpot.

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  • Arunava Sinha

    Nikhil, Preethi… you've said, rightly, "Tubaah can’t be an NDTV-only website. It needs to (go) beyond the group, and aggregate quality videos from other content owners." And that's EXACTLY what tubaah is going to do. You can expect some serious movement in this direction pretty soon.

    You also say, correctly, "NDTV will be hard pressed to drive repeat usage because news becomes stale fairly quickly; repeat usage of the site will be determined by the freshness of the news content." Obviously, widening the basket of content will mean news will be a significant but by no means only category of content on tubaah. In any case, fresh news videos are actually always available on tubaah.

  • Quick, pass me some shades, the innovation light is blinding me :-)

    • Venkat

      Do I smell something burning?

  • Hahaha. As expected, tubaah ke peeche shyam aa gayee.

  • Mridula Sharma

    What kind of a retarded idea it is. How on earth can you assume that people are gonna log-in to every damn tinpot site that you gonna launch? . Do you guys even have this thing called a " Validated Business Plan" before you do something like this . Some random assumption and burning Pranoy Roy's hard earned money is probably your full time hobby, it looks like.

    Your cousins from Web18 are also competing with you really well, through some vague assumption that they'll be able to compete with rediff, soon.. yeah yeah..in their dreams.

    Dear Pranoy Roy, If you have a lot of monies, focus on greenathon and build your primary business and stop listening to gas.

  • Rakesh j

    If your talking about product innovation I think web18 has some of the best sites out there so Mridula I don't know what your smoking.

  • Nikhil, am I the only one who has noticed the phonetically unfortunate branding of Tubaah. It could be read as तबाह ! Hardly an invitation to surf although morbid curiosity may win :-)

  • Medianama Reader

    Nikhil – medianama.com is becoming one place where competitors are vending out their frustrations or inferiority/superiority complex. Every single post here is full of crap about anything that is launched or announced these days.
    I suggest you start moderating comments – it will go long way in building a trusted website. Right now people come back again and again to see if their last negative comment has attracted even more attacking comment.

    • Thanks for the reminder. We have been actively moderating slanderous comments; so far, anything against an individual has been removed (the discussion which Alok Kejriwal had about Games2Win numbers on the Zapak post has been retained because he didn't mind).

      I have been concerned about the slanderous direction that comments have been taking; we'll just have to be more pro-active in asking people to be civil and stick to the issue instead of particular companies and/or personalities. Thanks for the reminder – will keep watch.

  • The site itself has been built by Tekriti (the same guys who did my.indiatimes.com and itimes.com for TIL?) and it is pretty much a souped-up white label deployment of Tekmedia, as seen at glued.in.

    NDTV is very much an ASP.net shop, so anything that is on LAMP is a vendor deployment. Rest you can put people and places together and piece together the story.

    What is even more interesting is that the videos are actually being streamed using Akamai's CDN than the traditional progressive download route that everyone is using.

    I will confess that I don't know what kind of deal NDTVC has with Akamai, but in most cases, serving streams wind up being a whole lot more expensive than serving clips through a progressive download.

    The clips on NDTV.com are also streamed the same way. Unless they have a huge issue with partial play outs (ex: only 20% of viewers are watching 90%+ of any clip), streams will be more expensive.

    Pre-rolls are done via Vdiopia (looks like different inventory from ndtv.com), which should get them decent (but lesser) money, but not enough probably to cover cost per stream served.

    It is one of those crazy situations where you really don't want to be a runaway success and you don't want to fail either. What exactly is the sweet spot? Your guess is as good as mine.

    Don't be too surprised if all NDTVC network sites soon start playing clips only from Tubaah, they share common video IDs in any case right now.

  • always online

    everyone is talking about tubaah being modeled on the lines of HULU..frankly dont see that anywhere on the site. at afirst glance looks more like a clone of youtube with premium content. The idea is good…guess in the internet world in India, we did need someone to do somehing like this to get more monetization :-)

  • Santosh

    Its just the begining not the end. If its take its image in entertaining people and heart it might be good one. aur india me aisa hi hota hai jab koi aage badhein to khichna. Ok wish u all the best.