Update: Vuclip recently surveyed their global users on their social media habits. The company claims that about 200,000 people from India, Indonesia, the U.S. and UAE participated in the survey.
The report states that about 46.4% of Indian audience use Facebook, 10.1% use Twitter, 5.8% use LinkedIn, 29.6% use Google Plus, 5.5% use Pinterest, and 9.4% use Orkut. It’s interesting to note that Indian use Google Plus, which internationally is touted as a ghost town, more than Twitter. One of the reason we suspect could be ease of discovery of the platform, while Google automatically signs up any gmail user with a Google Plus account, people are relatively ignorant about Twitter unless brought to notice by word of mouth. Apart from that it’s also interesting to note that people in India still use Orkut.
The report also talks about the frequency at which people use social media sites in India. About 39% Indians stated that they access social media sites several times a day, 22% access them daily, 10% accessed several days a week, 10% weekly, 9% monthly and about 10% seldom. The high percentage of social media access several times a day could be attributed to the mobile versions of these social media sites, it would have been interesting if the Vuclip had also reported on how many users access them through their mobiles. Apart from that, about 59% participants voted that they share mobile videos on social media sites, which is a quite high number given the amount of data video content consumes.
Vuclip, a mobile video search and content startup, has raised $13 million in Series D funding led by new investor SingTel Innov8, and existing investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Jafco Ventures. Individual investments by the firms were not disclosed. The investment brings Vuclip’s total funds raised to $27 million. The company claims that the funds raised will be used to meet global demand in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, as well as to implement innovation around Vuclip’s media and advertising platform.
Vuclip, powered by its proprietary technology engine, creates easy to consume mobile video ads and monetizes by serving advertisements. Vuclip has previously partnered with mobile video content creators including the Associated Press (AP) and UTV to monetize their content (on mobile). Vuclip claims that it generates content customized for ease of sharing across more than 5,500 handsets and tablets, and compresses files by almost 80 percent, thus reducing data consumption on mobile handsets.
Additionally, Vuclip also partners with operators such as Vodafone and Airtel providing video search. The company claims that it gets about 45 million monthly active unique users and about 1.2 billion mintue of videos are served each month. The company also recently launched its iOS app available for download in the Apple iTunes Store.
Vuclip, headquartered in Milpitas, California, has offices in New Delhi and Mumbai in India, and in Singapore, Dubai, Shenzhen and Beijing. The company has previously raised $8 million in series C and $6 million in a Series B funding round from NEA and Jafco Ventures. While Vuclip does not disclose its financial details, a statement released by the company states that it is approaching a double-digit million-dollar revenue run-rate.
Recent Developments at Vuclip
In August, Vuclip launched a new advertising unit, Vuclip Click2Vid, which provides optimized embedded video ad for the device instead of just putting a small range of pre-encoded videos that may not be optimized across devices. In July the company launched a new women-oriented mobile video portal ‘Mira‘ which showcases videos pertaining to health, beauty, fashion and style tips, parenting, cooking recipes, career and entertainment, celebrity videos and astrology among others.
Apart from that, it also launched a new video destination ‘Vuclip TV‘ which allows users to watch popular Indian and International television shows on their mobile phones. The company claims to offer more than 4,000 video clips from TV shows in Hindi, Telugu, English and other languages, with new videos being added on a regular basis. The company claims to support 5,500 different handsets including feature phones.
Monetization & Vuclip’s future (Nikhil adds)
Monetization for Vuclip has typically been through mobile advertising, which, with growth in mobile Internet usage, will increase, but since the advertising rates on mobile are low, it’s not going to take Vuclip towards profitability. In India, Vuclip has experimented with subscription services for content (at the beginning of this year), actually licensing premium content, and charging people for viewing it. That model is unlikely to fly, especially since most of the subscription business on the mobile in India is on the decline, and much of the false billing ecosystem being nuked by government regulations and changing telecom operator focus.
In its early days, to build scale in usage, the company had partnered with telecom operators for being featured on their on deck portals: telcos got incremental video views, and vuclip got usage. With the shift to the mobile Internet, you wonder if there is a role for a video search engine. Video consumption will largely be driven by Apps, mobile search (where Google will dominate), and socially popular destinations like YouTube and DailyMotion, so if Vuclip has to remain relevant, it probably needs to make a fresh, strong push as a video search app, and build scale. It appears to be doing that – its android application has over 500,000 downloads, but my sense is that this round of funding is in order to make a push to stay relevant. It needs to leverage its ability to serve video (and ads) on multiple devices, and discard the premium subscription content business, which will not scale.