Spuul is a Singapore-based studio-neutral aggregator that purchases Indian TV and film content from content providers and makes it available for streaming and download across platforms – mobile (iOS, Android), Web, TV (Samsung, Panasonic, LG), Airplay on iOS, and Chromecast on Android.
Founded in 2010 by Sudesh Iyer, S Mohan and Subin Subaiah, the website was launched in beginning of 2012 and the app was launched during the end of that year. “Watching the video streaming business take hold in the US and China it became obvious that the same phenomenon would embrace India. The inevitability of this evolution and the gap that existed for a premium provider in that space was the main motivation to launch Spuul,” said the team.
It features Bollywood, Tollywood, Mollywood, Kollywood, independent movies, short films, and TV content, including online-only comedy shows. Some of the company’s content partners are Yash Raj Films, Viacom, Disney UTV, Balaji, Venus, Shemaroo, Reliance, Phantom, and more.
How does it work?
After downloading the free app from the Google Play or iTunes store, users need to register/log in using their email, post which the user can watch movies without paying any charge (only for the selected ones). In case of premium content, user will have to click on the particular movie and subscribe (pay monthly charge).
Another model is that of Rentals. In this case user can pay per movie.
Spuul also allows a user to watch the downloaded movie later. Once the user selects the movie, they need to tap on the ‘sync offline’ button and download the movie. The movie is available for 72 hours from the time of its download and the user can watch it even without an internet connection. The content is DRM protected, therefore, the user can not share it with friends.
Why does Spuul stream only Bollywood cinema and why not cinema from other countries?
“We believe that there is still a lot of scope to add Indian content including regional. Once we have covered the landscape to our satisfaction, we may look at other languages. Pakistani Urdu content is definitely an area of immediate interest,” said the team.
What is Spuul’s monetization model?
Free content on the site is monetized via ads and premium content is monetized via subscriptions, which can be paid via card/carrier billing. The subscription content is priced at various tiers; depending on the country.
The company also provides lucrative discounts and offers around events such as holidays or special occasions.
What is company’s present status and future plans?
Spuul currently has has a catalogue of 900 movies and over 10,000 hours of TV programs, and has more than 2.5 million registered users. The app alone has had 3.5 million downloads to date. Till now, the company has been funded by the promoters.
The company will be soon launching a new version of Spuul along with acquiring new content (movies and TV Shows) for users worldwide.
Spuul is a freemium service that legally provides online Indian content to anyone in the world. The service offers both free and paid content. Whereas, YouTube is a general entertainment site with limited licensed movies and TV shows. Its major chunk of content is UGC (User Generated Content).
Once Netflix and Hulu enter the Indian market it is sure the competition is going to get tough among all such video streaming services.
Video piracy is however, another big threat for such companies. While torrenting allows anyone to download all sorts of content, streaming services like Popcorn Time, TubePlus etc. are there for those who don’t want to go into the hassles of downloading, which provide free movies and TV shows.