Story of Amagi: A Next-generation MediaTech Company

Jeenal Jain Jeenal Jain
Oct 21, 2021 16 min read
Story of Amagi: A Next-generation MediaTech Company

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Amagi.

Amagi is a next-generation media technology company. It provides end-to-end cloud-managed live and on-demand video infrastructure to content owners, broadcast and cable TV networks, and OTT platforms. Its core expertise lies in broadcast-grade 24x7 linear channel creation, channel distribution to Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV platforms, live orchestration for sports and news, OTT server-side ad insertion, and analytics for monetization, cost-effective disaster recovery, among others.

Amagi supports 500+ content brands, 800+ playout chains, and over 2000 channel deliveries on its platform in over 40 countries. The company generated approximately 2 billion ad opportunities every month supporting OTT ad-insertion for 1000+ channels. Its clientele includes ABS-CBN, Fox Networks, Fremantle, NBCUniversal, Tastemade, Tegna, USA Today, and Warner Media, among others.

StartupTalky interviewed Mr. Baskar Subramanian (Co-founder & CEO, Amagi) to get insights into the startup story and roadmap of the organization. In this article you'll discover how Amagi was conceptualized, its business model, customer acquisition strategies, revenue, future plans, and more.

Amagi - Company Highlights

Startup Name Amagi
Founders Baskar Subramanian (CEO), Srividhya Srinivasan, Srinivasan KA
Headquarters Bangalore
Founded 2008
Industry Broadcast Technology, MediaTech
Website amagi.com

Amagi - About and Vision
Amagi - Industry Details
Amagi - Idea and Inspiration
Amagi - Founders and Team
Amagi - Name, Tagline and Logo
Amagi - Business model & Revenue model
Amagi - Launch & Customer Acquisition Strategies
Amagi - Challenges Faced
Amagi - Growth & Stats
Amagi - Competitors
Amagi - Tools used to run startup
Amagi - Recognition and Achievements
Amagi - Future Plans
Amagi - FAQs

Amagi - About and Vision

Amagi is a next-generation media technology company. It provides end-to-end cloud-managed live and on-demand video infrastructure to content owners, broadcast and cable TV networks, and OTT platforms.

Amagi’s core expertise lies in broadcast-grade 24x7 linear channel creation, channel distribution to Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV platforms, live orchestration for sports and news, OTT server-side ad insertion, and analytics for monetization, cost-effective disaster recovery, among others.

Amagi’s clients include top-tier broadcast TV networks, digital-first networks, content owners, Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV (FAST), and OTT platforms in the Americas, EMEA, and APAC regions. The company has grown 100 percent over the last two years and is profitable. Amagi has a presence in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, London, Paris, and Singapore, broadcast operations in New Delhi, and an innovation center in Bangalore. Amagi has 350+ employees and continues to hire and expand operations across all regions.

Amagi
Amagi Live

Vision

Amagi's long-term vision is to transform the media and entertainment industry by virtualizing the whole broadcasting operation. The flexibility of cloud-built solutions for broadcasting outpaces the capabilities of traditional hardware-intensive operating systems. Its goal is to be the global leader in cloud-based SaaS technology for broadcast and connected TV.

The startup is currently amidst a global ‘cord-cutting phase with more and more viewers choosing streaming TV over traditional Pay TV services. And within streaming, Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV or FAST (the streaming version of the free TV network) is becoming immensely popular among viewers keen to revisit the simplicity of linear TV-like experience.

Amagi is playing an instrumental role in the transformation taking place in the streaming industry. In fact, it is at the front and center of it. Amagi had already established early leadership in the domain, enabling content brands to spin up linear channels on the go, distribute them to leading FAST platforms and generate ad revenues for themselves.

300+ content brands have so far chosen to engage Amagi’s services to amplify their distribution across FAST. Its short-term goal is to be able to emerge as the undisputed leader in providing the complete technology stack in streaming distribution, especially in the FAST space.

Core Belief of the team

Amagi’s core belief is that technology has the power to transform an industry, making it more nimble and more competitive, and providing options to both service providers as well as end-users.

Take the Media and Entertainment industry for example. For several years, the industry had not undergone any major transformations until Cloud came into the picture. Cloud-led technology solutions challenged the status quo in the industry, creating radical changes in content consumption patterns (the OTT boom is a prime example). Due to the technology disruption, users have more choices and more flexibility and control over what they want to watch. Content creators, likewise, have the option of scaling their business on the cloud at lower opex compared to traditional broadcasting models.

As the front runners of next-gen media tech solutions for broadcasting, Amagi takes pride in having played an instrumental role in this transformation. Amagi has successfully introduced a flexible ‘pay-as-you-go’ model for launching and operating 24/7 linear channels by eliminating the need for traditional, hardware-driven, large expensive physical operations. The company essentially put the entire broadcast operations on the cloud.


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Amagi - Industry Details

Target Market Size:

  • Rise of connected TV: In the fourth quarter of 2020, CTV devices accounted for 49% of the time people spent streaming video globally
  • Smart TVs’ viewership time increased by 157% in the quarter to represent 17% of overall viewership time
  • Global audience for FAST TV: 200 million and still growing
  • The connected TV market is currently generating $250 billion in ad revenues

Amagi’s Market Share:

Overall, Amagi has 500+ content brands, 800+ playout chains, and over 2000 channel deliveries on its platform in over 40 countries. Amagi has already established early leadership in the FAST domain, with 50+ FAST platforms and 100 other platform partnerships globally. 300+ content brands chose to engage Amagi’s services to amplify their distribution across FAST. This includes Fremantle, beIN Sports, Yahoo! Finance, Tastemade, Qwest TV, Shout! Factory, Cinedigm, USA TODAY, VICE UK, and more.

Industry growth in next 5 years:

The team at Amagi believes that streaming is the future of TV with millions of viewers around the world making it their favored entertainment destination. In 2020 alone, nearly 68 million US homes had made the switch from cable to OTT, and around 300 streaming players were vying for their attention in the market. In India too, studies predict that the OTT content market is at an inflection point and is likely to reach $5bn in size by 2022.

There are shifts taking place within the OTT ecosystem too. While subscription-based streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime continue to be popular among viewers, the sheer volume of options in the Subscription-Video-On-Demand space has caused 'decision fatigue', giving rise to a new phenomenon - Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV (FAST), a subset of Advertising Video-On-Demand (AVOD).

With FAST, viewers can go back to the simplicity of linear TV-like experience, with ad breaks that are shorter and tailored to their interest, without having to incur any Pay TV expenses. The rise of FAST in the US and other markets such as Europe, LatAm, and Asia is opening new vistas for content brands for channel creation, distribution, and monetization. The growing demand for connected TVs and the popularity of linear TV-like experiences imply that good quality content is going to become freely available to viewers, and monetization of content will be largely through advertising.

Also Read: The Rise & Future of Indian AdTech Industry


Amagi - Idea and Inspiration

Amagi was founded in 2008 by Baskar Subramanian, Srividhya Srinivasan, and Srinivasan KA to pioneer cloud-based broadcast and advertising technology solutions. The company originally started in India providing targeted TV advertising solutions.

The founders often tell a story of how they were approached by a young palmist offering to predict their future as they were sitting in a park and brainstorming ideas for their next entrepreneurial venture, on a Monday morning in early 2008. The palmist, rightly assuming that the founders were currently in between ventures, chose to target them as they seemed the likeliest candidates for needing their futures told. This ‘targeting’ on the part of the palmist put them in mind of ‘targeting’ as a solution. They chose ‘targeted advertising’ on traditional TV as a business model, as there was a real need for technology intervention in this area, to democratize TV advertising and make it accessible to small-time advertisers.

As part of their research into the viability of this technology, the founders went to the United States and other countries to examine what was already available in this space. They found that the tech that existed was very expensive and not scalable. For it to be a success in India, the tech had to be low cost and easy to scale.

They decided to build this technology from scratch and scale it to 3000 cities at a time, which was the start of Amagi.

In the late 2000s, billions of dollars worth of advertising money were being spent by large corporations on national TV– a luxury that small-time regional advertisers could not afford. Amagi’s founders took ad democratization as their problem statement. They believed that targeted advertising technologies could have a transformational impact in this area.

They wanted to see if they could build a network of local advertisers and offer them geo-targeted advertising on traditional TV (narrow the target down to a street, if needed) as a solution to their visibility requirements on TV. They decided to build targeted advertising infrastructure in the country by splitting the satellite signals at specific locations and inserting new ads.

Advertisers loved the idea. They could now choose to target multiple locations (individually), and yet, end up spending less than a national TV ad slot (the cost of the sum of the individual locations was less than the whole national ad spot), thus gaining more visibility, at a fraction of the cost.

That was the genesis of Amagi's foray into the TV advertising arena, which eventually led to bigger innovations at larger scales.  

The company quickly pivoted from targeted advertising to lead cloud adoption and evangelize cloud technologies for broadcast.


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Amagi - Founders and Team

Baskar Subramanian, Srividhya Srinivasan, and Srinivasan KA are the founders of Amagi.

Baskar, Srini, and Vidhya met and befriended one another during their graduate years at Government College of Technology, Coimbatore. They are software engineers who co-founded the company in 2008 after their previous entrepreneurial venture, Impulsesoft, was acquired by Nasdaq listed SiRF.

About the founders -

Baskar Subramanian | Co-founder & CEO, Amagi

Baskar is a serial entrepreneur with many patents to his name. As CEO, Baskar drives Amagi’s vision, growth strategy, and execution, enabling the transformation of the global media and entertainment industry through technology innovation. Baskar has been instrumental in developing several of Amagi’s path-defining technologies on cloud broadcast and frame-accurate ad splicing for both TV and OTT. Under Baskar’s leadership, Amagi has demonstrated strong growth, becoming an industry leader in SaaS-based solutions for broadcast.

Prior to Amagi, Baskar co-founded ImpulseSoft, a wireless technology company, which was later acquired by NASDAQ-listed SiRF. He started his career as a software engineer at Texas Instruments before embarking on his entrepreneurial journey. To foster a culture of entrepreneurship in society, Baskar regularly shares his insights and expertise with startups and small businesses. He is a well-known speaker at technology and industry events, evangelizing the use of the cloud for broadcast industry transformation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Technology from the Government College of Technology (GCT), Coimbatore, India.

KA Srinivasan (Srini) | Co-founder & Chief Revenue Officer, Amagi

Srini is a technology entrepreneur with 23+ years of experience in establishing and successfully scaling businesses. Srini co-founded Amagi in 2008 and established it as a global leader in SaaS for broadcast and streaming TV on the cloud. As Chief Revenue Officer, Srini is responsible for revenue growth inclusive of sales & marketing.

Before Amagi, Srini co-founded the wireless audio company, ImpulseSoft, which went on to become a market leader and was later acquired by the American semiconductor company, SiRF. Earlier, he started his career at Texas Instruments as a software engineer. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the Government College of Technology (GCT), Coimbatore, India. Srini regularly speaks at global industry events, evangelizing the use of the cloud for channel creation and monetization. In his free time, Srini loves to travel and read, and play arbitrator for his kids in their friendly sibling conquests.

Srividhya Srinivasan | Co-founder & Chief Customer Success Officer, Amagi

Srividhya is one of the few women entrepreneurs in the broadcast technology industry to have successfully conceptualized and introduced pioneering products for global markets. She loves to create innovative product solutions to tackle complex engineering problems. At Amagi, Srividhya plays the critical role of advising global clients on suitable cloud deployment architecture, designing custom solutions, and ensuring that clients transition to cloud broadcast models smoothly.

Srividhya started her career as a software engineer at Texas Instruments. She spent most of her 23 years of professional experience as a technology entrepreneur. Before Amagi, she had co-founded ImpulseSoft, a wireless audio technology company that was later acquired by NASDAQ-listed SiRF.

She graduated from the Government College of Technology, Coimbatore, India. Engineering is her first love, and she firmly believes that engineering is her reason to be.

Founders' Task

Task divided among founders: Baskar Subramanian is the CEO of the company. He leads technology innovation, business strategy, and overall execution at Amagi. Srinivasan KA is the Chief Revenue Officer. He is responsible for revenue growth inclusive of sales and marketing. Srividhya is the Chief Customer Success Officer. She plays the critical role of advising global clients on suitable cloud deployment architecture, designing custom solutions, and ensuring that clients transition to cloud broadcast models smoothly.

Company Size & Hiring funda

The company has 400+ employees at present and is growing rapidly. Over the past two years, the company has expanded to more locations, including Latin America, Canada, and different parts of Europe. The founders are looking to onboard premium tech talent across Engineering, Product Management, and Global Sales roles in India and its international locations.

Work Culture

Amagi is a company that prides itself on being outrageously ambitious. The founders encourage their employees to think like ‘there’s no box at all.’ By asking employees to bring never-thought-before ideas to the table, they deliver breakthrough results, driving exceptional outcomes for their customers.


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Amagi’s early products and solutions were conceptualized and built with the purpose of offering advertisers greater freedom through technology. Amagi in Sumerian means “freedom” and the name seemed a fitting choice for what the company intended to do – which was to offer local advertisers the freedom to do more and achieve more despite having limited resources.

Amagi Logo

The company’s logo has undergone several changes over the years. The first version of the logo had a small TV screen as a brand mnemonic to clearly demonstrate the company’s core market and expertise. As the company grew and became more international in its operations, the logo was likewise upgraded to have a global appeal. Amagi’s logo is font-based and minimalistic. It is easily replicable across all formats and surfaces.

Amagi - Business model & Revenue model

Amagi offers three business models for customers to choose from -

  1. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
  2. ‘Bring your own license’, and
  3. Fully Managed Service

It also offers a revenue share model with content owners and platforms based on ad insertions enabled.

Amagi
Amagi Cloudport UI

Amagi - Launch & Customer Acquisition Strategy

In the Indian ad business as well as the global cloud broadcast business, Amagi engages with customers both on-demand and supply side. Demonstrating the value-add its solutions could give them was a crucial part of the startup's customer acquisition strategy.

In the ad business, it had to convince broadcasters to support localization of ads on their national channels, and local/regional advertisers to buy targeted ad spots on these channels. Oftentimes, the team had to buy ad inventories at its expense on a premium and then sell them to local advertisers at a fraction of the cost, to convince them that its solution worked. Amagi's business model was that it could sell the same ad spot through as many regional advertisers as possible with the view that the sum of the parts will eventually be greater than the whole. Based on the success of this approach, Amagi was able to sell a million ad seconds per month.

In the cloud broadcast business too, Amagi was working with forward-thinking customers who were willing to place their bets on cloud technologies, which is a low-cost, low risk, pay-as-you-go infrastructure model. As these companies discovered the inherent advantages of the cloud and were willing to future-proof their business using cloud solutions, Amagi’s business saw the momentum and its list of customers grew steadily.

The OTT revolution, lockdown-imposed restrictions, and the growth of Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV were other factors that led to the increased adoption of cloud-based solutions as the de-facto infrastructure for broadcasting. From 2018 onward, Amagi’s business momentum was on a rapid incline. By 2021, it had 500+ content brands, 2000+ channel deliveries, 50+ FAST platforms, and 100 other OTT platforms in its customer portfolio.

  • The comprehensiveness of Amagi's solutions: The breadth and depth of services it offers its customers are exhaustive. From broadcast-grade 24/7 linear channel creation to distribution across satellite, cable, and IP, to OTT server-side ad insertion and analytics for monetization, it provides end-to-end infrastructure for broadcast operations on the cloud.
  • The flexibility of the working model: Amagi's customers can manage hundreds of channel feeds and scale up at will from any remote corner of the world using its solutions.
  • Comprehensive distribution network: Amagi enables its customers to distribute their content across satellite, cable, and IP. Its strongest value proposition to its customers is the FAST platform distribution network. With 50+ FAST platform partnerships globally, content owners can share their content across any platform in any part of the world.

Amagi has been able to provide tremendous value to its customers with the immense capability and agility of its solutions, which has, in turn, giving the startup a high customer retention rate (127% net retention as of July 2021).


Also Read: Common Mistakes to Avoid while Creating Advertising Campaigns (With Examples)


Amagi - Challenges Faced

To kickstart its targeted advertising business, Amagi had to collaborate with cable operators from around the country, from big cities to tier 2 cities. There were around 20,000 cable operators in the country at the time.

  • One of the earliest challenges it faced was in collaborating with the operators who had a limited understanding of the technologies that they were building. Making them aware of its potential and bringing them on board was a herculean task.
  • The second challenge it experienced was in convincing channels to let it insert ads in between their content. From a technology provider standpoint, Amagi was unaware of the ad content and could not give channels the reassurance that it would be inoffensive to its viewers. Having never done local advertising before, they were also unsure of the business model and unwilling to experiment with it. To counter this challenge, Amagi had to build an in-house ad sales team, buy ad inventories and then sell it to local advertisers, at considerable risk to itself. Amagi also built an in-house ad creative team to tackle the challenge of ad content ambiguity.
  • It started off as a tech provider and pivoted to add multiple other capabilities into its service offerings to meet the demands of the customers.

Amagi - Growth & Stats

Amagi is a profitable company. In the fiscal year ending March 2021, Amagi announced a 136% increase in annual revenue and a sequential growth of 18% in revenue in the quarter ending June 2021.

Amagi supports 500+ content brands, 800+ playout chains, and over 2000 channel deliveries on its platform in over 40 countries. The company generated approximately 2 billion ad opportunities every month supporting OTT ad-insertion for 1000+ channels

Amagi has a presence in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, London, Paris, Singapore, broadcast operations in New Delhi, and an innovation center in Bangalore.

Amagi clients include ABS-CBN, A+E Networks UK, beIN Sports, CuriosityStream, Discovery Networks, Fox Networks, Fremantle, NBCUniversal, Tastemade, Tegna, USA Today, Vice Media, and Warner Media, among others.

Amagi - Competitors

Competitors of Amagi: Encompass, Wurl, Frequency, Globecast, Evertz, Harmonic, Grass Valley, Imagine Communications, Bitcentral, Yospace and OTTera

Amagi - Tools used to run startup


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Amagi - Recognition and Achievements

  • India Cloud Broadcast Company of the Year 2016
  • CII Design Excellence Award 2017
  • Front & Sullivan’s Global Product Innovation Award 2018 for Amagi CLOUDPORT
  • IBC Innovation Awards Winner 2015
  • CNBC 10 Hottest Startups in India
  • Deloitte 2nd Fastest-Growing Tech Firm in India, 2012
  • Stevie Gold Award for Medium-Sized Company of the Year (Media & Entertainment)
  • Stevie Bronze Award for Cloud Application / Service of the Year

Amagi - Future Plans

In the fiscal year ending March 2021, Amagi hit a revenue milestone of 136% and a sequential growth of 18% in the quarter ending June 2021. Its plan is to keep this business momentum going by offering newer cloud-innovated product capabilities and services to support new-age content providers and platforms in their growth journey.

  1. Amagi plans to offer its customers a self-service portal – a single platform - on which they can access all its products. The platform will enable customers to leverage the benefits of all the products in its technology stack – its channel playout solution, Amagi CLOUDPORT, its server-side ad insertion solution, Amagi THUNDERSTORM, its live orchestration, and lightweight content scheduling platform, Amagi LIVE and AMAGI PLANNER, and more - on a single browser window.
  2. The streaming TV revolution has created more opportunities for content owners to create, distribute and monetize channels. While viewers enjoy having more choices, they also expect the content to be of broadcast-grade quality standards. Amagi is offering low-cost playout options to smaller, new-age content owners to help them create compelling viewing experiences for their audiences, thereby, placing them on a level playing field with large deep-pocketed broadcasters.

Amagi - FAQs

What is Amagi?

Amagi is a next-generation media technology company. It provides end-to-end cloud-managed live and on-demand video infrastructure to content owners, broadcast and cable TV networks, and OTT platforms.

Who founded Amagi?

Baskar Subramanian, Srividhya Srinivasan, and Srinivasan KA are the founders of Amagi.

How much is Amagi's revenue?

In the fiscal year ending March 2021, Amagi hit a revenue milestone of 136% and a sequential growth of 18% in the quarter ending June 2021.

Is Amagi an Indian company?

Yes. Amagi's headquarters is situated in Bangalore, Karnataka, India.

What does Amagi's client base look like?

Amagi clients include Fox Networks, Fremantle, NBCUniversal, Tastemade, Tegna, Vice Media, and Warner Media, among others. Amagi supports 500+ content brands, 800+ playout chains, and over 2000 channel deliveries on its platform in over 40 countries.

What is the meaning of the word 'Amagi'?

Amagi in Sumerian means “freedom” and the name seemed a fitting choice for what the company intended to do – which was to offer local advertisers the freedom to do more and achieve more despite having limited resources.

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