Data Forms The Backbone Of Everything We Do — says Manav Sethi, CMO at ALTBalaji

Data Forms The Backbone Of Everything We Do — says Manav Sethi, CMO at ALTBalaji 920 518 C-Suite Network

At a time when Indian Video-on-Demand (VOD) platforms is getting crowded by the day, ALTBalaji – the youngest entrant in the space has scripted a phenomenal success story with more than 15 million downloads. Even though biggies such as Hotstar & Voot are getting more eyeballs and have a wide user base, ALTBalaji (launched in April, 2017) continues to push up the numbers by offering a completely ad-free, only original content which is streamed in 90 countries globally.


What’s different this time for the undisputed king of Indian television and entertainment is that much of their success is riding on data that forms the backbone of operations and strategy and the platform is all about original content that ticks with the audience. In a conversation with Analytics India Magazine, ALTBalaji’s Chief Marketing Officer Manav Sethi who is tasked with the job of international expansion, growth, customer acquisition & retention, product as well as UI guidelines tells us how data plays a huge role at ALTBalaji and why drumming up original content will always be an art + science.

1) Can you tell us how data and analytics is used to find insights to maximize customer engagement, and drive conversions by finding the relevant audience?

Given the kind of business we are in, data analytics forms the bedrock of everything we do. At any given point of time, we have 120+ triggers/ predictors that we catch before the customer is in suspecting stage on the platform or say registered with us. For example, if a customer viewed a trailer or interacted with the platform in any way, the kind of signals we look at are what frame he has viewed, what was the last viewed scene, location, gender and demographic et al. Then we go ahead and see whether he/she used the platform from one location or multiple locations, whether it is consumed on WIFI or mobile internet.

2) What tools or technologies does the data science team work on and what’s the size of the team?

All our data is very closely synced with RedShift and Microsoft Azure as a combination. From an analytics and visualization standpoint we use Tableau. We have a home-grown platform which is built on Python because in the high intensive computing environment, read-ops are a lot more and Python helps with that.

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In terms of performance marketing, we work with a team called Sokrati which has been acquired by Dentsu recently. Besides Sokrati, we also use lot of tools like App Annie for composition in the ecosystem and AppsFlyer. We also work with a fraud detection tool.

As for team, our current team size is 5 members and that includes both marketing analytics and analytics as a whole. But that said, we are always on a lookout for new members.

3) Can you tell us about your active base? Also, Hotstar pushes 100 million subscribers, but all are not paid users?

We have about 15 million downloads currently and if you look at the last App Annie report that came out last year, we were ranked amongst the top 3 revenue grossing video streaming app in the country, as per ‘State of Video Streaming Apps in India’ report. Now that was an eye-opener for the…