Now you can watch all your favourite movies and TV shows privately with the help of TERIFLIX, first of its kind small and unique space situated in Girinagar in South Bangalore. It is a Mini-theatre where customers can rent the theatre and experience a new way of watching movies and TV show. Prashanth and Praveen Udupa are the founders of TERIFLIX, and they started this venture in 2017.
We got one of the founders Prashanth to share his startup journey with us. Let us see what he has to say about TERIFLIX, How they started this new concept of delivering a different experience to customers and How they are working hard to mark their presence in the market.
Give a brief info about your startup?
TERIFLIX offers intimate spaces for people to privately enjoy movies & TV shows of their choice either from their own OTT subscriptions (Netflix and Amazon Prime Video) or from the library of original content that TERIFLIX has curated by acquiring relevant screening licenses from the respective copyright owners. Customers rent our venues to utilise the ambience and equipment we have here to enjoy a theatrical experience of movies & TV shows from their own OTT subscriptions. While our customers have easy access to content, TERIFLIX offers quality experience of their content.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
We want to make the whole movie watching experience a lot more personal than it is today. What if people could watch a movie, without being lured into popcorn and another masala, in a theatre that lets them personalise subtitles, show-times, volume levels, pace, interval times and even food? Top that with being able to enjoy all that with just the co-audience they want, with whom they can have deep and inspiring conversations about the movie! Watching a movie can be a social event rather than a commercial one. That is what we are trying to make available through TERIFLIX. We are offering spaces for social bonding over movies.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
Praveen (BE, MBA), Director of Business Analysis (BA) Practise at NTT Data before starting independent training & consulting in BA. He is married for 16 years now and has 2 children (12 years and 4 years old).
Prashanth (BE), also ran a software products development and consulting company from 2005 until 2017. Married for 10 years now and has 1 child (6 years old).
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
Our registered office and the first venue is in Bengaluru, Girinagar. We had a property that we owned in Girinagar, Bengaluru; so we decided to pilot TERIFLIX there. Looking at the progress we are encouraged to aggressively expand to other locations in Bengaluru.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
As a startup founder, it’s probably a good thing to be paranoid about everything from product lineup to sales & marketing, to competition. However, at TERIFLIX, we prefer to pull ourselves into sanity to examine why we are having the results we are, in an effort to come up with offerings and messaging to create new results. We are aware that we are creating a brand new market, that does not exist today. We are changing consumer’s buying behaviour from that of “buying tickets” to that of “renting cinema halls”. The reasons why a consumer would “rent a theatre” are drastically different from the reasons why a consumer would “buy tickets”. We are focussed on understanding those reasons, tailoring our offerings to meet that and making it easy for a customer to find us and do business with us.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
To reiterate – TERIFLIX offers intimate spaces for people to privately enjoy movies & TV shows of their choice either from their own OTT subscriptions (Netflix and Amazon Prime Video) or from the library of original content that TERIFLIX has curated by acquiring relevant screening licenses from the respective copyright owners.
We are basically space providers more than content providers. Key aspects of our offerings are as follows:
• Customers can rent our spaces on an hourly basis
• Our spaces can accommodate small groups of 5-19 people. Customers bring their own audience.
• Each of our spaces would be equipped with technology to enjoy “theatrical experience” of streaming media and/or original films. (Dolby Atmos Sound, Full HD Projection Systems, Expert Acoustics Setup, Buffer-free Internet and so on)
• Most of our spaces would have private lounge areas where customers can unwind after watching a film • Customers will be allowed to bring in their own food
• Customers are fully in control of their movie watching experience. (They can select any movie of their choice, pause, rewind, forward, change subtitles, volume etc..)
It is tempting to conclude that we are competing with multiplexes and other private cinema venues (like Suchitra, Renukamba, SRV and so on). However they are not our competition because of the drastic differences in our offerings.
Our true competition is the mobile phone, laptop and TVs that people have in their immediate surrounding, where people can start watching their OTT content in no-time, albeit without the powerful theatrical experience TERIFLIX offers.
Companies that enable social meetups over a subject are also our competitors. We are competing against weekend getaway destinations a lot more than movie halls.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
It is hard. Really hard. We spend a lot of time away from home. Our families have to deal with our constant absence. However, we also know that this space of life is not permanent and that as we build structures to run TERIFLIX, we will all be able to achieve better work-life balance. For the moment however, we have to make peace with the imbalance.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
Up until now, we have bootstrapped the business all by ourselves. We are looking to raise funds for building customised ecommerce and software platforms for providing a unified customer experience across all our venues. There is still time for that, since we are gathering an understanding of consumer’s needs.
What is the most important priority for this company?
As our co-founder Praveen rightly puts it: there are 3 things that matter to us the most and in that order. Integrity, Customer experience and Profitability. By Integrity, we mean that we will do right by all stakeholders including the customer, the content provider they use, TERIFLIX team and the government. It is for this reason we don’t allow playback of content from USB drives because we cannot guarantee that such content is not pirated. Customer Experience: After Integrity, customer experience matters the most to us. For the sake of making a few extra rupees, we will not compromise on customer experience. For instance, we only open up access to OTT content providers after ensuring that they are able to leverage the equipment in our auditoriums to provide quality audio and video experience of the content. Many popular OTT content providers serve only mono or stereo audio, which doesn’t sound great in our setup. So we would much rather wait until we are able to figure out a way to offer the superior experience of content from such providers, than cut corners just for the sake of making money. Profitability: Finally, after Integrity and Customer Experience, profitability matters most to us. We will strive to be profitable. We will not raise investments only to chase hockey-stick growth while burning investor money. We will ensure a healthy operating margin (not net margin, but operating margin)
How do you think this might evolve over the coming months?
For one, we will have more locations across Bengaluru. We will begin to understand how people are using our venues across the city. We will understand what purposes our venues serve to customers. Based on all of that understanding, we will be streamlining the way in which we offer our venuerentals.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
One of the biggest misconceptions people have about is that we are a movie-theatre. In reality, we are not at all a movie theatre. We are a space-provider and not much of a content provider. Typically movie theatres offer both space and content. We are simply a space provider, content is brought in by the customer. People are led to believe that we also are simply a movie theatre because that is the only reference they have to contrast us against. TERIFLIX offers such a brand-new paradigm that customers presently do not have any reference against. They have not heard of a private digital theatre space for watching their OTT content. We are creating this entire market from scratch.
What gets you excited about this company?
The most exciting thing is that our customers actually experience films, and not just watch them (like they currently might be doing at multiplexes, where the audience are pushed into the commercial world of the mall before they can truly absorb the experience of a great movie). We are excited about providing customers with the physical space and time to comprehend their own experience of the film. It really matters to us that our spaces let customers be with movies like an art-form. We are excited about the immense possibilities that miniplexes have an offer.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
Get up – work-out on some days of the week – breakfast – reach TERIFLIX by 11 AM – meetings – brainstorming sessions – marketing – sales – customer-walk-ins – handle bookings – take feedback – refine offerings – celebrate success / feel disappointed about failure – go back home -share about the day’s experience with spouse & children – listen to others at home – have dinner – watch something on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video – Sleep.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
Praveen & Prashanth Udupa are brothers. So we meet each other a really, really long time ago! 🙂 We both love Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. At home we don’t have cable TV, we only watch from these OTT sources. In fact, Prashanth has a proper home-theatre setup with 5.1 audio system, Full HD projector, acoustically treated room. He watches movies and TV shows in this setup always. Every once in a while we used to gang up at Prashanth’s place and watch movies and/or TV shows. But more importantly, talk about what we watched thereafter. It was that whole package experience that would leave us touched and moved about the film. TERIFLIX is an experiment to make more such spaces available for everybody.
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