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Ping Digital Broadcast Launches Food & Music Channels; Raises Funding

Ping Digital Broadcast has launched what it claims to be India’s first Internet HD Broadcasting Network with a food focused channel, India Food Network (www.youtube.com/indiafoodnetwork) and a music focused channel, India Music Network. Founded by Govindraj Ethiraj, the company recently raised its first, angel round of funding from two investors, Ashwin Dhamera, former founder of Travelguru & Ankur Daga, CEO of Angara.com, a New York based precious stones e-commerce venture. The company did not disclose the exact amount of funding.

The Mumbai-headquartered company is a Google/YouTube partner and intends to produce and distribute original content through a network of channels hosted on YouTube. According to the company, these channels will span across knowledge, utility, and lifestyle genres. It also aims to work with young talent to build their own television front-ends. According to Ethiraj, the company has an eye on the 4G roll-out in the country and will be rolling out more genres in coming months. But he clarified that it is not in talks with any telcos at the time of writing this post.

Speaking with MediaNama, Ethiraj informed that the company intends to utilize the funds raised to scale up and build more real estate. He mentioned that the Food channel, which launched in September, features 170-180 videos, and the company aims to make it one of the largest food content repository by the end of the year. He stated that the company works like any other TV content company except that the content is distributed via digital.

The food channel features home chefs and their recipes, while the videos are shot, edited and uploaded by the company, which has a team of 18-19 members. All content is owned by the Ping Digital, and currently monetization is through revenue sharing with YouTube under its partner program. He mentioned that the company is also in talks with other advertisers but will take decisions in consultation with Google. The music channel has been recently started and will feature upcoming artists. Ethiraj clarified that the channel will offer new talent a platform but will not manage them or facilitate talks with labels, unlike NH7 and other platforms.

The company is not promoting content actively, at the moment, but has online presence via social media, as well as limited offline presence. He informed that the company will promote the channels actively, once it’s able to build more content real estate, and that Google/YouTube is working well for the company, and aiding discovery. It also plans to offer mobile apps in the future, but the technology side, including video encoding is taken care of by Google, at the moment. Responding to our query on whether the company will be open to inking tie ups with other VoD platforms including IPTV and DTH players, Ethiraj said that the videos can support all platforms but the company is only focusing on the YouTube channels, at this point in time.

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