While all the recent focus has been on TikTok, there is an Indian short-form digital video platform that has been making great strides with a better focus on quality content and a wider user base. A measure of this success is the fact that Indian video sharing platform Roposo now has over 50 million users in the country.
“We are ethical, we are clean.” Mayank Bhangadia, CEO & Co-Founder, Roposo said in his interview with Indianexpress.com. “If you only see clean and good stuff, you will be forced to post videos on that domain,” he says, adding how his company takes content moderation very seriously, something other platforms have not been able to address properly.
“Our priority is to make the platform clean and we do that by creating a lot of channels and not forcing the creator to go in one direction,” he explains. He says that once the content is created, the first level of moderation is done by artificial intelligence. With the help of AI and machine learning, the protective tool flags any content that is not acceptable. Once that is done, Roposo has a dedicated multilingual team that goes through each video uploaded on the platform, searching for elements that violate its standards. Then there is a report button that lets users report an objectionable video if they spot it on the platform. The report is sent to Roposo’s team, who will review it and investigate the creator.
Founded by IIT Delhi alumni Mayank Bhangadia, Avinash Saxena and Kaushal Shubhan in 2013, Roposo was originally started as a fashion platform but soon transformed into a social media platform. In its current form, Roposo allows users to discover short-form digital videos across 30 channels in 10 local languages.
While many compare Roposo to TikTok, Bhangadia says their video-sharing platform is a lot different. “We are not a singular feed, like many of our Chinese competitors, where the content distribution is extremely centralised,” he said. Unlike TikTok where the platform forces users to create short videos lip-syncing to music or mimick a popular actor based on popular trends, Roposo doesn’t cash on trends at all. “That’s not our philosophy,” says Bhangadia.
“If I come to a singular feed structure, I see what trends on this platform and I am forced, psychologically, to repeat those things. And many times this doesn’t go well with our culture. In fact, a lot of times the youth has to create edgy content just to get popular in that moment,” explains Bhangadia.
Bhangadia says he and his team have taken a different approach to the way they want to pitch Roposo. “We actually help the talent grow on the platform,” he says. “We would not get those viral videos that can bring us instant traffic, but it’s a very sustainable way of growing a UGC platform,” adds Bhangadia.
Bhangadia describes Roposo as a discovery platform where the experience gets better as you spend more time. That makes Roposo different from YouTube, which is essentially search-driven and aimed at long format videos. “When you have a specific problem in your mind, and you want to find a solution for it, I think YouTube is the best, you search for it, and you will get to know professionals who’ve created this content,” he said.
Roposo, on the other hand, is a short video platform, where the videos created by creators don’t last 30-40 minutes as in the case of YouTube. “We feel all these creative people are coming together and they’re creating a show. And these shows are modular in nature and that’s not a 30-minute long show,” he said.
Bhangadia agrees the user behaviour of consumers has changed a lot and that is a reason why platforms like Roposo have seen a rise in popularity across all age groups and not just millennials. Consumers don’t have time and patience to watch long-form videos anymore, he says, adding how they want snappy videos which they can watch during a 3-4 minute break. On the creator side, he says, it’s difficult to make engaging yet interesting content for longer durations. “More than 20 per cent of our user base create videos on the platform,” he said.
So for Bhangadia, Roposo is a short-form video platform designed for Indians where you can watch videos created by creators of your interest and in your own local language. “Roposo is all about the community.”
And Roposo is not limited to young users as is commonly perceived. According to Bhangadia, the older population is also discovering videos of their interest through Roposo. He cites an example of his own mother, who follows the Bhakti channel where she is now discovering religious festivals that were previously limited to a specific region. “These interests were always there but may be happening in some offline manner. They were not together on one platform.”
Creators and influencers are key to any social platforms, and Roposo is no different. Bhangadia wants creators to make money on the platform. After all, they drive user engagement. “We want to share our wealth systematically with all our creators. The more value they add by creating better videos, they get more points. It’s very proportional, very transparent. So if you get 1 million views on your video, then you get 1 million coins,” he says.
Bhangadia says that there have been times when creators on other platforms didn’t get their dues despite having millions of views on their videos. “The platform is actually utilising their videos, their efforts, but they’re not paying back.”
Part of InMobi Group, one of the world’s largest independent mobile advertising platforms for mobile marketers, Roposo has seen its number of users on the platform increase by over 25 per cent in the recent days. The short-form video sharing platform has also seen an increase in app engagement with the frequency of existing users returning to the app jumping by over 35 per cent while daily time spent is now over 30 minutes.
Without divulging details, Bhangadia says two big digital platforms will soon have their video feeds powered by Roposo. He is also planning a marketplace within the platform where brands and creators come together and create a lot of social commerce content.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines