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Banker Who Now ‘Solves Boredom’
Pocket Aces plans to release six to eight shows through its long-form premium content platform, Dice
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Early in his career, Pocket Aces founder Anirudh Pandita worked in Wall Street in New York, and in other cities. It was a cozy job and like most of his family Anirudh did a fine job as a banker. Little did he know that one fine day a call from his roommate Ashwin Suresh (who later became his partner) would change his life. Soon he landed in Mumbai and set up a media company.
In those days, when one thought of starting a media company, films were uppermost in one’s mind. But the film world was slow. It not only took a few years to make a film, but it needed to be released and so on, where the chances of making it big with one or two films did not seem quite possible to the banker.
In 2014, Pandita noticed that film and media industry had people brimming with talent but it was unstructured: there were too many creators and directors, but no career path. The duo also realized that they had to tweak their business model to include digital, which had picked up in a big way in the West. Third, it had to be mobile-centric because people easily shared content by cellphone.
“We figured out that cellphones are changing everything. Personalisation is important for digital consumers,” says Pandita.
That’s when the duo had the epiphany of creating a digital media company with tons of content — and Pocket Aces was born.
This kick-started a new journey for the duo, who saw the potential for short-form shareable, likeable content. “Short-form content gets shared in social media, which is different from TV content. We really pressed home that advantage. We were the first guys to get on Facebook with short-form content, and we built our FilterCopy, which is a short-content platform,” says Pandita.
Soon he moved to YouTube with his flagship platform, FilterCopy. In less than two years, FilterCopy has come to boast of one of the largest subscribers of digital content — more than 32 million subscribers, and one of the largest this side of the globe.
Now Pandita and his buddy have created three platforms for different content: FilterCopy for digital short-form content; Dice, a games platform; and Gobble, a food content producer.
Pocket Aces acquired interactive game show app Loco. This Android app allows users to play a live quiz game, where winners can make as much as Rs 10,000. Pocket Aces has expanded the app’s offering to include games such as Price is Right. In the six months since it was acquired in January 2018, Loco as been able to cross 10 million registered users.
FilterCopy has 32 million subscribers on YouTube; the next in competition have a much smaller audience. Pocket Aces has also successfully moved from short-form content to long-form content and has created mega-hits such as Little Things, Netflix’s third original series.
In coming months, Pocket Aces plans to release six to eight shows through its long-form premium content platform, Dice.
Today, Pocket Aces is a digital entertainment company, focused on digital video; its aim — to solve boredom.
Pandita also focuses on shareable content. “We started thinking of the science of going viral very early and learnt what people would like to share, which would be motivational videos and so on.”
But Pocket Aces’ bigger mantra has been to build a strong distribution and subscriber platform. This helped it cross markets and leverage its own shows through FilterCopy due to its subscriber advantage. “We learnt that there is a vast need for distribution. Distribution is really important, whether you are running an app or a piece of content, anything. If you don’t have distribution, your content is worthless. Of course, you cannot have rubbish content, but you have more time to get it right if you have distribution.”