An Interview with OTTVerse Founder Krishna Rao Vijayanagar: Challenges and Opportunities of Starting a Business

LiveVideoStack 2022年2月17日

OTTVerse is an OTT technology-focused online magazine, which was founded by Krishna Rao Vijayanagar in 2020 in India. Over the past few months, we’ve been translating articles about video technology on OTTVerse. These articles are very easy and fun to read, and soon become popular among the audience. Recently we had an email interview with the creator of those interesting articles—Krishna Rao Vijayanagar. In this interview, Krishna discusses why he wrote these articles, why he founded OTTVerse, the challenges he faced while running this startup and video technology’s development in India.

Photo provided by Krishna Rao Vijayanagar

The following is our conversation with Krishna Rao Vijayanagar.



LiveVideoStack: Hi, Krishna! Thanks for being here with us. Before we start, I’d like to thank you for allowing us to translate your articles on OTTVerse. Those articles are very interesting and our readers really like them. So, can you tell us why you wrote those articles about video technology?  And why for laymen?

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar: Thank you so much, Alex. It’s been great associating with you and I appreciate your collaboration over the past several months.

How did I start OTTVerse? Well, I left my job in 2020 to take a career break and was playing around with a bunch of ideas and reading a lot. I was unsure what to do next, and this was when my wife encouraged me to write since I liked blogging.

I decided to write on video and associated technology and after blogging for a couple of months and sharing them on LinkedIn, the articles became popular. A couple of companies decided to place ads on the website, and then it occurred to me that this could be a business that could help me do what I liked and also consult on the side for the media industry.

Currently, I am associated with OTTVerse as a writer and consultant, but, my team who you are in touch with continue to run and popularize the magazine! And, I am happy to share with you that we are close to touch 90K views per month.

LiveVideoStack: Will you continue writing? If so, what are you going to write next?

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar: Yes, I will continue writing. It is something I enjoy doing and I feel it's a way of sharing what I know and getting feedback from the community. My next few articles will most likely be around the use of data in improving the video pipeline and video delivery experience.

Articles created by Krishna Rao Vijayanagar

LiveVideoStack: After reading your articles, we’d like to know more about you. Can you give an introduction of yourself?

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar: Sure! I was born and raised in Bengaluru, India and I studied Control System engineering before joining Yokogawa India Limited as a control systems engineer.

After two years of working there, I went to the US to pursue a Master’s and Ph.D. focused on video compression (3D at that time). After graduating, I worked at Harmonic Inc. for 4 years on H.264 and HEVC R&D.

In 2017, I moved back to India with my family and I worked at MediaMelon as a Product Manager on their ABR streaming and Video Analytics product lines.

In 2020, I left my job and started OTTVerse and also took on a few projects consulting for a few companies in the video industry.

I still continue to write for OTTVerse, while Abhi Rao and her team run the operations of the magazine.

Outside work, I like gardening, outdoors and long drives.

LiveVideoStack: What motivated you to have a career in video technology? 

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar: I have always liked signal & image processing since my undergraduate days and had a keen interest in image and video processing. When I started graduate school, I had the opportunity to work under Dr. Joohee Kim’s guidance at IIT-Chicago’s MMCOM lab. The work I did with her built the foundation of my interest in video technology (specifically tackling problems in video transcoding, delivery, and ease of playback).

And, over the years, I have had the good fortune of working with some of the best in video compression, delivery, data, and analytics. This has constantly kept my interest levels high!

LiveVideoStack: What emerging technologies are you focusing on now?

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar: In my current position, I am leading the product team at Airtel’s IQ Video - a Video SaaS offering innovation and end-to-end technology. Here, I focus on the following areas –

a)    How do we build technology and processes to allow for people to seamlessly launch OTT platforms?

b)    How do we reduce storage and CDN costs for content providers?

c)    How do we provide low latency live streaming at a great price point?





LiveVideoStack: What made you start OTTVerse? What is your vision for it?

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar: Ever since I started writing, my only goal was to share what I had learned from others. I still remember that it was hard for me to learn about OTT technology when I started off in the industry.

I hope that through these articles, people who are interested in understanding OTT will have an easier time getting through the fundamentals.

By sharing the articles on LinkedIn and other social media outlets, another goal for OTTVerse is to make it a community for companies (vendors and content providers) to discover each other and forge collaborations.

LiveVideoStack: OTTVerse was established in 2020. You must have faced lots of challenges while running this startup. Would you like to tell us about them?

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar: Well, since I started this off as a blog without the pressure of monetization, I didn’t really think of the business side of things for the first 3 - 4 months. It was when I had to accept my first revenue from advertising, that I had to register with the government, get approvals, etc. It was difficult taking care of all this along with writing articles, and doing outreach.

But, things began to calm down in Feb - March 2021 when I got more writers on-board and the content started coming in from different sources.  Also, getting ABhi Rao on board full-time eased a lot of pressure on me and allowed me to concentrate on content generation.

LiveVideoStack: Where does the content (on OTTVerse) come from?  What kind of content providers are popular?

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar: There are three basic types of articles on OTTVerse –

  1. Technical articles - most of them are written by me and the rest are written by contributors from various OTT companies and industry experts. We also have a collaboration with Jan Ozer, who is a respected expert in the field of video transcoding and he writes articles on a regular basis for OTTVerse.

  2. Press releases - companies provide this to OTTVerse to advertise their new launches in the market.

  3. Contributed articles - these are primarily from the industry where experts talk about certain areas such as ad insertion, transcoding, edge computing, and go deep into the associated pain points and possible solutions.

LiveVideoStack: It’s not easy to strike a right balance between content(user experience)and ads for an online magazine. Too many ads would make your magazine hard to read (then drive away users), but the opposite could be just as bad—less or no profit. How do you deal with this problem?

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar: Great question. I think it's all about choosing who to work with keeping the reader in mind. This is one of the main reasons why we’ve continued to say “no” to Google Ads and filling our website with banner ads.

We’ve kept it simple with targeted, high value advertising directly from the advertisers – this helps us maintain our target revenue while providing a pleasant experience for the reader.

LiveVideoStack: What's the most important thing you’re working on right now, and how are you making it happen?

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar: The focus for OTTVerse is becoming the most comprehensive repository of technical articles - contributed by experts in the industry and this is our long-term vision as well. We are achieving this via industry collaborations and reaching out to experts to contribute their thoughts, ideas, and experience via articles.


Video Technology in India

LiveVideoStack:  How are video technologies transforming the daily lives of people in India?

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar: Apart from entertainment (OTT), video is playing a central role in education (Ed Tech), upskilling, telemedicine, fitness instruction, and more. While the medium has largely remained the same, the applications are growing each day.

LiveVideoStack: What is the biggest challenge when starting an OTT business in India?

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar: We see three big challenges starting an OTT business in India –

  • Technical - to launch an OTT platform, you need to build a video delivery backend, front end applications, monetization, payment gateways, recommendation engines, search, discovery, curation, and much more! People who want to enter the industry cannot manage all of this on their own.

  • Storage and CDN costs: established players in the market soon start to feel the pain of storage and CDN costs as they become popular. This is something we are also solving by innovating in the fields of video transcoding and delivery.

  • Content and Growth: audiences always want something new and exciting. This creates pressure on companies to produce new and exciting content, market it to the audience, and get them to watch and pay for it. With large players like Netflix, etc. in the global market, the competition for eyeballs is always a challenge when starting an OTT business.

LiveVideoStack: How do you see the future of the OTT industry in India? Do you think OTT platforms can sustain growth even after the pandemic ends? 

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar: 100% because at the end of the day, people need some form of entertainment! This could be in the form of movies, sports, cartoons, documentaries, etc. In fact, more sectors have popped up that depend on video such as Ed Tech, Fitness, etc.

OTT and video in general will have a great future in India and I hope to play a role in the growth of this :)


Editor: Alex Li







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