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Satyadev Chada, Co-Founder Of Edewcate.com On Leveraging YouTube, Content On DTH & Future Plans

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In Part 1 of our interview with Satyadev Chada, the co-founder and CTO of Edewcate, we discussed the company’s offerings, the motivation behind its inception, revenue model, product strategy and competition. In Part 2, he speaks about  monetisation patterns, leveraging YouTube, content tie-ups with DTH operators and future plans.

MediaNama: What is the percentage of people accessing your free content vs paid content?
Satyadev Chada: We have 2 crore unique viewers online Vs 150,000 students in classrooms. Currently, the maximum revenue is from digital classroom and maximum margin is from YouTube.

MediaNama:  How does YouTube work for your content?
Satyadev Chada: YouTube has been a spectacular growth story for us. We have been part of the YouTube partner program since Dec 2010.We have registered a 1000%+ growth rate YoY and recorded more than 50 million page views in the last two years. Our best metrics right now are for the kids channel that includes nursery rhymes from around the world. We collect nursery rhymes that are several hundred years old and recreate them with animation and music. The singing and music are done by people who are part of our team so the cost is really low. We train them part time on some of these languages also. We produce nursery rhymes in more than 12 different languages including Japanese, Spanish, German, French, Moroccan, Korean, English, Turkish, Mandarin, Italian, Hindi and Telugu apart from English making us the most diversified kids content producer in the country.
Currently we have 450 English rhymes right from 14th century British rhymes to latest American rhymes.


The 3 points listed below typify the success we’ve had at YouTube
a. We are the fastest growing “education channel” from India on YouTube with more than 10 million views per month.
b. We have more views worldwide than MIT, Stanford and UCTelevision (University of California), the top 3 most watched American Universities on YouTube.
c. Our Content has been watched for a sum total of 11,279,233 minutes that translates to 21 years and 162 days of content watched in 30 days.
You can check the channel out at www.youtube.com/edewcate

MediaNama: By running a YouTube channel, don’t you miss out on traffic to your website?
Satyadev Chada: Running a YouTube channel did hurt our search based visitors in the first year as they were routed to YouTube via Google. However, we have been successful in transferring decent audience to our website by branding it on our popular YouTube channel.

Adsense is a great model for small businesses, but it would be viable only after you reach a million hits. Generating that kind of volume would require expertise in SEO and in creating very niche content and then still hope for the best. When you work with websites like YouTube, searchability and visibility are taken care of. That takes down your costs by a large extent.

We had setup edewcate.com in 2008 as we believed that YouTube and other video sharing sites would take longer to share revenues with publishers. But now with the YouTube Partner Program, they share 55% of the ad revenue with the publisher. So as the adage goes, if you can’t beat em, join em.

MediaNama: Which are the geographies from which you get maximum website and YouTube traffic – both India and abroad? (a break down)
Satyadev Chada: Our traffic is mainly from US, UK, Canada, India, Australia, South Asia (Phillipines, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand) and the Middle East. US with 42% views is the largest demographic. India currently stands at around 16%.

MediaNama: How has the response been for your content via cable networks and DTH compared to your website or Youtube?
Satyadev Chada: DTH based education in India is a bit of a problem because most of the DTH providers have not made money themselves. This is reflected in their share prices. None of them are really profitable ventures. Since they are not profitable, gaining a competitive edge in a fragmented market would mean additional bandwidth. This is currently not available. Companies are still eyeing this bandwidth instead of providing different value added services. We tried the pilot in 2008 and believe that DTH would take another 3 years to be a good market.
However we are bullish on another space. We believe that the future is in “integrated television” – television, internet and mobile in 1 broadcast device.

Our internal projection is that a minimum of 50 million integrated internet enabled television will be sold in India by 2016-17. This would ensure that all the 50 million homes would have YouTube in their living room. It would be like having another TV channel. If that happens then we will have more viewers than many of the big Indian television channels in India. We will then make all the money that producers like Ekta Kapoor are making but we would do it without the same investment .This is our vision.

MediaNama: What is the kind of content on YouTube that gets you maximum traffic?
Satyadev Chada: The maximum hits are for kids’ content followed by K-12, cooking, music and arts.

MediaNama: How has the response been to your mobile platform compared to your website/YouTube traffic? Which one has better traffic and why?
Satyadev Chada: Mobile downloads have quadrupled in the last 6 months. However the revenue sharing model that is being employed by service providers with partners is not the same as YouTube. Airtel and Docomo share a much smaller percentage of the total package cost with the publisher. In a shared platform like Voicetap, which provides the content aggregation platform for Airtel /Docomo, we must be among the biggest publishers by volume in the country. We are getting into a larger space there. We are trying to provide Course based videos on mobile phones delivered via Docomo and Airtel from this December. This means you can subscribe to our content on your mobile. We are launching upto 25 courses this December.

MediaNama: How do you manage copyright violation of your content? Have you developed any mechanism to manage copyright violations?
Satyadev Chada: Right now we have access to the secure server platform of YouTube to block all downloads if we feel the need to. However, If people download our open content like cooking, music videos etc, it means that we are actually creating a loyal user base. If the people who download these videos, like them, they will come back to us for more.

We are also part of the YouTube’s Content Id program which has been developed to cater to the needs of large partners like television and music companies. It is a software that has been internally developed by YouTube. It doesn’t allow replication of either video or audio. The platform informs the publisher in case of any infringement or replication. The publisher then can decide whether to remove the content or monetize it. So even if somebody replicates our content, we will make money off it. So we are not essentially bothered by downloads or copyright violations.

As for our K-12 content, it is still not fully available on YouTube. However we plan to port the complete content onto YouTube in the coming months. You can have a look at a few samples at www.youtube.com/elearnin.

MediaNama: Which audience do you plan to focus your open content on – India or U.S.A?
Satyadev Chada: We are thinking global and we wish to work towards a global audience.

MediaNama: How do you plan to move to open content – through YouTube or your platform?
Satyadev Chada: Videos may be embedded from YouTube, but the additional interactive learning tools would be developed by us and the service would be accessed from our website.

MediaNama: On receiving investment, where do you plan to use the funds?
Satyadev Chada:  We are seriously considering investment for scaling both online and mobile offerings. In case, we get funds, we want to build a product that will service the vast audience that we have built up from all over the world. We would want to keep it in the cloud and make it available to students/ enthusiasts/ corporates as well. To build that kind of product, we would require infrastructure and money.

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  • For a young entrepreneur the progress achieved against such odds is really praiseworthy.

  • Raised? how many M$

  • joey89924

    To build that kind of product, would require infrastructure and money… really…

  • Hats off to an original content creator who has been plugging away diligently for a while now and built up some very impressive numbers. However, I have issues with some of the representation of numbers/figures and some thoughts:

    1. The main edewcate channel has 53.5m views but only 17.5k subscribers. Compare this to MIT with nearly 200k subscribers for their 44m views (am only using the comparison – which is itself not really fair – because it was mentioned above) and you get a better sense of the metrics just like total FB likes for a brand page is not as indicative a metric as avg likes/activity per post. So while saying that your channel has more views than MIT is a good sales pitch, am not sure it would stand scrutiny if context is provided. An individual MIT channel like CS&AI has way better subscriber numbers than any individual edewcate channel.

    2. The reason for the above figures largely has to do with their USP videos ie nursery rhymes. As a new parent, I can confirm that toddlers like nothing better than seeing their fav videos over and over AND OVER again :) several times a day, every day of the week …. which is why the views/user are high – am skeptical of the click-through conversion in this category, since there’s no inherent buying decision/impulse unlike say, in How-To videos. I would think that the nursery rhymes category is much more entertainment than education per se – hence probably a good idea to be on a platform like YouTube since it’s not the kind of content that anyone would pay for, unlike the K-12 stuff which is bringing in serious revenues. Since the rhymes themselves are not proprietary  the entry barrier is low but by diversifying languages, regions etc they’ve got a good KPO-like assembly-line model going. No big original viral hit like say THE DUCK SONG (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtN1YnoL46Q) but steady average numbers for each video.

    3. Speaking of How To content, they’ve had the channel up for a year but with disappointing numbers – the reason is that it’s an ultra-competitive global space and needs serious investment in content quality. I must say that I found their quality to be surprisingly poor as far as the K-12 videos in their propreitary player on their website are concerned. The audio is poor and sounds like an auto-text computer-generated reader. It’s nothing but the rote-like boring text-book material in a slide-show form. For instance see http://www.edewcate.com/Inner.aspx?FileName={F2CEEAE9-B947-43F2-91C3-D5BF91B374DE}.flv and tell me which kid is going to understand or be interested in phrases like “a time of considerable ferment” etc etc.

    4. IP/copyright is tricky and works both ways. When you start generating such a high volume of content, the temptation is always there at the individual writer/producer level to cut corners. Has happened on my watch multiple times (an example at http://tech2.in.com/news/windows/orkut-now-accessible-via-facebook/18961) and is hard to stamp out. For instance, are all the images in the K-12 videos (esp stuff like history) licensed/creative commons? One of the nursery rhymes (yankee doodle I think) had an animated face very similar to disney’s copyrighted Snow White character. Not pointing figures here, just thinking about the challenges, going forward.

    Nevertheless, this definitely counts as among the early pioneering efforts in the space that is certain to boom and of great interest to content creators in the knowledge space such as myself.

    • Hi Abhimanyu,

      Thanks for your valuable thoughts. I would like to share my 2 cents worth on the points that you have raised.

      1. Subscriber base : We have never quoted that we have a subscriber base greater than the American Universities. However, let me put the subscriber numbers into perspective. 

      Subscription is the equivalent to Like in Facebook and not vice-versa as suggested by you. Subscriber base enables your video to be seen faster than otherwise and hence should generate more views. Let me share some more stats with you to generate greater clarity.

      MIT for example has 2425 uploads and 44057106 views as we speak, and that averages to about 18167 views per video. They also have a small matter of 192874 subscribers. What this means that less than 10% of the subscribers really click on their videos. I do not believe that the above stat represents great level of user engagement. That does not take away anything from MIT’s content but says a lot about the average user on YouTube.

      The most subscribed channel from India is T-Series with 6,31,000 subscribers,that’s around 10% of RWJ’s subscriber base. That says 2 things,
      a. Americans subscribe more but not necessarily watch all that they subscribe to
      b. Subscriptions are not an end in itself

      Having said all the above, I agree with YouTube that the time watched is the only metric that can effectively scrutinize content engagement. And on that score, our content has been watched for more than 11 million minutes in October, which essentially means that viewers watch more than 70% of our overall videotime and hence find the content engaging.

      2. I’ll have to share my adsense page for you to get an understanding of CTR but I believe our CTR is as good as any of the other channels judging just by the cheque we receive monthly :-)

      3. Well, http://www.edewcate.com hasn’t been updated for more than 3 years now and the videos were our test samples on whether our content would actually work or not. I suggest that you have a look at our k-12 channel, http://www.youtube.com/elearnin that we have launched just recently to get a better understanding of what type of content we do. It’s still a work in progress and we would be glad to hear your frank opinion on the same so that we can improve if necessary.

      4. Our How-to videos were just samples shot when we had nothing to do in our office and not professional videos, suggest that you check out “www.youtube.com/buzzingart” to understand the quality of people that work with us.

      5. Copyright as you put is a double edged sword and would require a much larger debate. However as you would understand that by law, certain aspects of education are covered by the principle of fair use and the lines are many times arbitrary. That said its an issue that most content creators need to be cognizant of.

      To end, we never started out as a content company / team and we have learnt a lot on our path and we believe our best is yet to come.

      Would love to get in touch, the next time we get to Mumbai.

      Vandana Satyadev

      • Shashikant Karunakaram

        Be it Nursery rhymes or E-Learning, the videos from Edewcate are some of the finest I have ever seen and my kid absolutely adores them. I would certainly recommend them to any parent. I can only imagine the effort that might have gone in, to come up with so much diversity and stil maintain quality. Kudos to you and keep up the great work.

      • Abhimanyu R

        Thanks a ton for the detailed reply with so much extra info & insight – I wish more CEO-level folks would publicly engage this way to enrich the medianama community’s value for all subscribers! Some thoughts on your points:

        1. Metrics are always tricky and can be interpreted in any way, but I have some friendly disagreements. I only took the MIT example because it was among those quoted in the interview and I thought it was a bit of an unfair comparison both for you and them. Them because they’re not churning out entertainment-type content like nursery rhymes and you because unlike their public service mandate, you’re a business which has to generate revenue (and more importantly, margins!).

        I don’t think FB Like/Activity v YT Subs or vice-versa is strictly equivalent one way or the other … my point was more that the MOST VISIBLE metric ie. Like & Views respectively is not necessarily the most indicative. Subscription I think, works for channels where the chronology of updation matters – it’s an opt-in alert service. Hence if I’m following a specific MIT course I would subscribe because I want to know everytime a new video is up (they also have a lot of science news content for which subscription is very helpful). Same for RWJ who updates a couple of times a week and whose fans probably want to see his new vid immediately and hence be alerted. T-Series’ YT channel on the other hand is not my primary discovery tool for new songs. I’ll probably hear them on TV/radio first and then search for them on demand when i want to listen to the catchy ones – subscription doesn’t add value to that kind of usage. So while I agree that subscriptions like any other metric is not an end in itself, I don’t think it’s necessarily an american/indian thing, but more a function of the kind of content the channel puts out.

        For MIT when you suggest “that less than 10% of the subscribers really click on their videos” , I think what you mean is less than 10% click on EVERY video. Total views/total subs is roughly 400 which means that every sub has seen 1 in 6 MIT videos if you assume a sub views a video only once and that is pretty impressive user engagement for a niche higher ed channel. Also, does YT publicly say that time spent is the ONLY metric that can scrutinize engagement? I totally disagree – sure it’s one more metric to consider but doesn’t account for the increasing number of ppl using YT as a music (audio) playlist or while watching stuff like IPL/live sports in a background tab/window. Saying that 70% of your total time gets watched in a month doesn’t really mean much eg. if my channel has one video and it’s watched in entirety once every month by even the same person, i’ll hit 100% of total time every month. If anything it re-enforces my point that nursery rhyme content gets massive repeat views thanks to the nature of its target audience and if YouTube publicly showed UNIQUE VIEWS per video, I’m pretty sure i’d be vindicated. Again, publishers & platforms will always define engagement in a way that makes their case … ultimately its the spender/client who needs to evaluate the context of what those numbers mean in terms of what the advertising is trying to achieve. 

        2. On CTRs, thanks for such a generous offer but would not want to make you share proprietary info. It was just a hunch based on my own viewing habits and anecdotal experience of what kinds of videos would tend to have good CTR but I have no reason not to believe your numbers especially when they come in the form of cheques!

        3. & 4. I did in fact browse all the channels listed on the main edewcate page including /elearnin but my issue is the same – a computerized auto-reader is not particularly the best way to make content engaging … some of the best teachers I’ve had, spoke with very strong accents and many of the RSAnimate videos for instance have non-native speakers who are not very fluent but thoroughly interesting to listen to – machine voices just sound incredibly sterile imho. But even a machine voice is better than no voice at all – your artists are very talented … but I need to hear them take me through the drawing steps at the very least?  I also noticed that a large number of your nursery rhyme videos have almost 50% dislikes (and that too over a credible 300-400 vote total) which should give you some sort of qualitative feedback .. since it’s typically the parent who will click like/dislike even if the kid is happily bouncing to the song, the sense I’m getting is that the heavy synth-based score may be a tad jarring to many, but again, just personal opinion.

        5. I agree that a lot of textual content and conceptual ideas in general would qualify but images specifically rarely ever get waived as fair use since copyright holders are particularly touchy.

        For a tech/software setup that is learning content along the way, once again let me say that the work you’ve done is very impressive. I’m currently more often in NCR than in Mumbai, so would be happy to connect and exchange thoughts whenever you’re in the capital.