Buffering, a tech venture that is using data and broadcast techniques to disrupt the world of politics, Bollywood and sports is making headlines for all the right reasons. Buffering uses data crawling and remarketing techniques to track viewer trends, a never seen before approach in Bollywood and politics so far. Amit B Wadhwani, one of the founders of Buffering spoke to Impact about this platform’s unique offerings and more.
Q] What made you start Buffering?
There is a huge opportunity that I see in three industries: Bollywood, Sports and Politics. All of them require data, amplification, technology plus they want some sort of a syndicate between the three to co-exist in a huge country like India.
We started Buffering with an understanding that we would be able to leverage o ur data, technology, synergies, reach and the dispensation currently in the country in such a way that we are able to not only monetize, but also add value to these industries.
Similarly, we have amplified something for Star Sports, for Sooryavanshi, 83, Antim and various other Bollywood movies. We manage 93 high profile politicians, what they speak in the house and the Parliament is written by us, conceptualized by us, the data that they use is filtered using our scrubbers and even the Psephology, which is the science of political campaigning, is something that they borrow from Buffering.
Q] Buffering handles a diverse portfolio, can you tell us about its various verticals?
With our 12-15 years of legacy of collating data, understanding media buying, understanding the usage of technology, we wanted to add value. In 2019, we decided to start Buffering, a couple of politician friends offered their accounts to be managed, and from there we never looked back. Currently we manage around 93 politicians across eight parties, out of which six are regional parties, and two are National parties.
In the upcoming elections in five states in 2022, Buffering aims to get at least 5% of the total revenue that will be spent on these states. Also, for the Mumbai BMC elections, we already have the mandate from four parties starting April or May, subject to Covid conditions.
We have kept Buffering profitable with an EBITDA of about 45%-50%, the last quarter of this fiscal year also looks promising. We have added to our luxury side of services a fleet of 11 aircrafts which are leased from businessmen across the country who were not able to monetize this.
Q] In your view, what would you call Buffering’s best work over the last two years?
What Buffering has done is to get the three worlds together which are Bollywood, Sports and Politics. Number two, helping them leverage each other’s connects using technology and data is a path breaking move and an achievement I would say.
Every industry uses technology and data. But to use it in an industry which is not into consumer durables or FMCG; which is driven by unpredictability, by vague values, by weird sentiments, a sector that is very difficult to predict, is an achievement.
No one can say who is going to win an election and whether theatres will be filled by a specific movie’s pull, or who will win the India-South Africa match. Irrespective of that, if you are able to drive revenues for them and also help them ease out their pressures by letting data and technology take over, it is a big thing. I would say this is Buffering’s tallest achievement in the last 1 -18 months.
Q] What is your vision for Buffering?
There is a huge addressable market because Politics, Sports and Bollywood never go out of cash. Out of India’s 75 years of existence, we have seen these industries only flourish every five years, every two years, in fact every quarter.
Be it recession or times like Covid-19, the amount of money that is spent on elections, entertainment and sports is huge. In 2022 we want to do at least amplification for 100 movies, manage 250 high profile politicians and their psephology, and we also want to get in close to about 50 sporting events which will use our data, technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning techniques to give viewers an amplified and an enhanced version. All this as per our deck will get home a revenue of at least about 110 crores by the end of 31st March, 2023
Q] What sets you apart in this crowded market?
The question actually should be --how is there a competition because I don’t see it in what we do. Traditionally, you have agencies, digital agencies, research companies, content writing companies, and you have various types of broadcast methods that help you to reach a specific target audience. We are none of that.
We are India’s first mediatech company which uses technology and data to amplify reach. This is proven by the fact that we have been chosen time and again by multiple parties, Bollywood movies, in fact all the Bollywood movies that have been released after Covid, and going forward we have MoU’s with almost 100% A and A+ movies releasing in theatres. I don’t see any competition in the sector.