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STAGE: Delivering quality content in different dialects and languages to Indian consumers with Google Cloud

About STAGE

Catchup Technologies operates STAGE, a hyper-local, over the top (OTT) platform that provides content such as movies, web series, standup comedy, poetry readings, and motivational presentations to audiences who speak local languages and dialects, including Haryanvi, Bundelkhandi, Rajasthani, and Konkan.

Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: India

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About Searce

Founded in 2004, Searce is a Google Cloud partner that specializes in work transformation, infrastructure and app modernization, managed cloud services, and business-process automation leveraging Google Cloud services. Beyond consulting services, Searce provides hands-on engineering support to help more than 3,000 companies successfully migrate to Google Cloud. Searce has been recognized for its exceptional service as Google Cloud Partner of the Year for four consecutive years.

With Google Cloud, STAGE is delivering content quickly and reliably to consumers, is poised to scale seamlessly into new markets across Indian states, and can use machine learning to improve customer experiences and stickiness.

Google Cloud results

  • Accelerates virtual machine provisioning from 90 seconds to 15 seconds, improving scalability and agility
  • Positions the business to increase average daily viewing times and service subscription rates with more targeted content
  • Devotes time and resources to growing services rather than managing infrastructure

Enables fast, reliable delivery of local content across locations

Catchup Technologies operates a hyper-local, over the top (OTT) platform focusing on providing unique and relevant content to its users. Dubbed as India’s first social infotainment platform, STAGE lets users explore a variety of content within three seconds to three minutes via an interactive vertical format to engage its audience.

“There are about 200 dialects spoken across India’s population of about 1.4 billion people, and many of these people only recently acquired smartphones and internet connections,” says Shashank Vaishnav, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of STAGE. “While multinational and India-based services concentrate on speakers of English and the dominant dialects in India, there are very few places speakers of dialects and local dialects can go to access quality content.”

“Google Cloud provided highly competitive pricing and a content delivery network that met our needs, while its market-leading machine learning technologies would enable us to build an engine to recommend content to our users—improving customer experience and the relevance of our service.”

Shashank Vaishnav, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, STAGE

Shashank and his fellow founders of WittyFeed, a viral content platform, identified the opportunity and in 2019 started a content platform called STAGE. “We identified 50 dialects across the country with a minimum potential audience each of 50 million people,” Shashank explains. “We are and will continue to be completely subscription based and provide high-value content to our users, rather than look to monetize through advertising.”

Catchup Technologies launched STAGE with one dialect in the North Indian state of Haryana, which has a population of about 30 million people and a high penetration of smartphone usage. The business began creating low-cost, high-quality content in small villages with local flavor and commenced its journey to profitability.

“We went into this one market and thought if we can capture a dominant share quickly, we can copy-paste the idea and launch into other states, before expanding very quickly after that,” says Shashank.

Two years after launch, the business has climbed to 2 million installs of STAGE and has raised millions of dollars in funding. It now aims to continue looking to raise series A funding based on growth to 20,000+ paying subscribers by late August 2021, with plans to increase this 10 times by the end of the year.

Customers are viewing an average of about 1.2 hours of content on STAGE each day or about 5.4 hours per month—a figure Shashank aims to raise to 16 hours per month, at which point he says the business will effectively become a mainstream content platform. STAGE also plans to introduce some social elements into the platform to build a community of users.

“Google has a very good team with the best technology in the world, so I am looking forward to learning from these people!”

Shashank Vaishnav, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, STAGE

Google Cloud provides ML and content delivery

In recent months, STAGE began reviewing the capabilities of its traditional cloud service to realize its ambitions at speed. “We spoke to the Google Cloud team and they explained how they could support the key requirements our business had of a cloud service: machine learning and fast, reliable content delivery,” says Shashank. “Google Cloud provided highly competitive pricing and a content delivery network that met our needs, while its market-leading machine learning technologies would enable us to build an engine to recommend content to our users—improving customer experience and the relevance of our service.”

This would help STAGE increase users’ average daily viewing times and the conversion rate of subscriptions to its service, in turn helping it secure additional funding from investors.

Furthermore, Shashank says, “Google has a very good team with the best technology in the world, so I am looking forward to learning from these people!”

STAGE turned to Google Partner Searce to help complete the migration, and the partner’s experience and expertise proved crucial to the success of the project. “We undertook the move over three months with expert assistance from Searce and the Google team,” says Shashank. “Searce eliminated any concerns we had about building knowledge and capability in a new cloud platform, and we’re looking forward to continuing to learn from its team as well.”

“A virtual machine instance takes just 15 seconds to launch in Google Cloud as opposed to up to 90 seconds in an alternate cloud provider, while auto-scaling and automated billing means we can devote time and resources to growing our service rather than managing infrastructure.”

Shashank Vaishnav, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, STAGE

VM launch times slashed

The organization is running the STAGE platform in a Google Cloud infrastructure comprising virtual machine instances delivered through Compute Engine, Cloud Storage to provide secure, stable file storage, Cloud CDN to provide fast, reliable content delivery to users, and Cloud Load Balancing to distribute its content over multiple instances. “A virtual machine instance takes just 15 seconds to launch in Google Cloud as opposed to up to 90 seconds in an alternate cloud provider, while auto-scaling and automated billing means we can devote time and resources to growing our service rather than managing infrastructure,” says Shashank. STAGE also plans to deploy Cloud Armor to protect the maturing platform from distributed denial of service, cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and other attacks.

The business transitioned from Android to Flutter, Google’s UI toolkit for building natively compiled applications across multiple formats, to develop its iOS and web applications, and Shashank describes the product as an “amazing tool” to enable the builds. “We would not have been able to create these applications so quickly without Flutter, and this showcases the value to our business of the broader relationship with Google,” says Shashank.

STAGE plans to use a range of other Google Cloud products and services to build its capabilities, such as AutoML to train custom-built machine learning models to support its recommendations engine and Transcoder API to transcode its content into multiple streaming formats to enable smooth delivery to users in a range of locations with different bandwidth and internet connections.

“With Google Cloud, we are ideally positioned to realize our vision of growing into new markets across India and providing content that is relevant and compelling to 90%+ of Indian residents,” concludes Shashank.

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About STAGE

Catchup Technologies operates STAGE, a hyper-local, over the top (OTT) platform that provides content such as movies, web series, standup comedy, poetry readings, and motivational presentations to audiences who speak local languages and dialects, including Haryanvi, Bundelkhandi, Rajasthani, and Konkan.

Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: India

About Searce

Founded in 2004, Searce is a Google Cloud partner that specializes in work transformation, infrastructure and app modernization, managed cloud services, and business-process automation leveraging Google Cloud services. Beyond consulting services, Searce provides hands-on engineering support to help more than 3,000 companies successfully migrate to Google Cloud. Searce has been recognized for its exceptional service as Google Cloud Partner of the Year for four consecutive years.