Cellcast The Game Changer

Date:   Thursday , May 06, 2010

The number of TV owning homes has come a long way, 300 million TV Viewers have been accounted for so far and it would be 548 million by 2012. The cable operators have penetration of 64 percent in 2007 and will climb to 82 percent by 2012. By 2014, India’s population is expected to be 1.26 billion, with mobile penetration of 1.01 billion the mobile teledensity would be 80percent above. The fact that India will add more than 600 million new subscribers must rate as the biggest subscriber adds for any country in the world.

Straddling both these worlds of opportunity is Cellcast Interactive India, a Mumbai headquartered company, pioneer in interactive television programming. Founded by Pankaj Thakar in India as a result of a spin off from its original founders in UK in 2005, the company had launched India’s one of the famous interactive television show, Bid2Win. “We launched the show simultaneously in four channels. Bid2win went on to pick up the Telly award for the best Interactive shows,” says Pankaj Thakar, Founder and CEO.

Cellcast’s model is to use TV to acquire customers for its various content and services, be it the Trivial contest around Bollywood or cricket or services like Astrology, Match Making, Mobile Chat and more. Cellcast has created path breaking TV shows based on its innovative formats. Out of the many formats it has in its repertoire, Cellcast has produced and aired many shows, namely Bollywood Dhamaal, Bollywood Tambola, Cricket Howzaat , Gold safe in the Interactive trivial game show genre and showed its mettle in competing with talent scouting programmes with SaReGaaNa , a unique show which is directed towards giving talented singers an opportunity of a lifetime without having to go through the difficult task of getting through the whims of human judges by offering a completely computerized judging mechanism. Not to forget Bhavishya Phal Sitaron se hul, the Interactive Astrology show and its forthcoming show called Baton Baton se, an interactive match making show.

While most other interactive players are happy to be selling inventory of Bollywood music and wall papers, Thakar and his team has completely changed the Indian landscape by innovative new content and it is consumed by the way of creating new never seen before products and services. “Indian consumers are very discerning and it is the relentless mission of Cellcast to cater to every whim and fancy of the Indian Consumer,” says Thakar.

Today Cellcast operates five studios wholly for its many shows and Cellcast’s many firsts also include its unique and most robust interactive voice platform which helps all participants and viewers easy access.

One of their challenges has been to find the best people for this unique business but interestingly they were able to come up with a stringent selection and value systems which they call the ‘Cellcast way’. Thakar feels that to succeed he may need people with the right education and skills but, “I want to build an organization which gives equal importance to entrepreneurship & creativity to create leaders who possess high sense of ownership for the onerous task of building value for their work and also keep the goal of wealth creation in mind,”he says.

Going forward Cellcast is all set to maintain its leadership position in their space. In 2007 the company raised $5.35 million from Canaan Partners based in Silicon Valley. Canaan Partners invests in visionary entrepreneurs and provides them the networks, insights and operational guidance required to build high-performance technology companies. Indeed Cellcast has demonstrated an impressive growth year ahead of them where the plan is to triple their present revenues.