Praveen Singhal, Shashank Vaishnav, and Vinay Singhal launched STAGE, an Indore-based artist and dialect-led OTT platform, in 2019 after their viral Facebook page, WittyFeed, was lost overnight.
WittyFeed was one of India’s most popular websites in 2016. The platform began in 2014 with a user base of one lakh users and grew to 420 million page views and 2.5 billion ad impressions in just two years.
However, after WittyFeed’s Facebook page was deleted overnight in 2018, the founders decided to keep working on content, but in a different way.
This became an opportunity to re-think the future of content in Bharat,-says Vinay Singhal, co-founder of WittyFeed
He began researching content created by Indians outside of the metros with his other co-founders, Praveen Singhal and Shashank Vaishnav.
The founding team at STAGE
STAGE– We realised that most content platforms were offering sleazy content, foreign shows dubbed in Indian languages or poorly localized versions of popular global shows, something that Bharatwasis (Indians) don’t relate to,”-says Vinay
The trio wanted to bring this hyperlocal flavor to OTT (Over the Top) content after growing up listening to indigenous tales from their parents and grandparents, so they rebranded WittyFeed to STAGE in 2019.
STAGE is an “artist-led and dialect-based OTT platform,” according to the founders. The platform, which is based in Indore, provides unique and original content in local dialects such as Haryanavi, Rajasthani, Bhojpuri, and Konkani through various art forms such as comedy, folk, poetry, storytelling, and motivational content.
STAGE claims that its Haryanvi content has received a positive response, with over four lakh downloads.
Bharatwasis at work
CEO is a Haryana native who grew up in Nunsar. Vinay is his family’s first engineering graduate. In 2010, he was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and founded Badlega Bharat, an online youth awareness organization.
Parveen, his brother, is the Chief Content Officer at STAGE and a BSc graduate of SRM University in Chennai.
Shashank, the CTO, hails from Barnagar, Madhya Pradesh. He graduated from SRM University with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and is in charge of STAGE’s technological vision.
To cater to Bharat, we needed a platform that not only resonated with the audience with its offerings but was also easy to pronounce. Every Bharatwasis in every nukkad, galli or muhallah (neighbourhood) understands and can pronounce STAGE.Explaining the name of the platform, Praveen says
Furthermore, the name is consistent with the platform’s core an OTT platform that gives artists a “stage” to showcase their talent in their native languages.
Let’s cross our fingers and see how it shapes the future of OTT after Witty.