Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra has made an undisclosed investment in the regional OTT platform Stage, marking a big step towards boosting regional programming and languages. The declaration was made public in Panipat, Haryana, Chopra’s hometown, demonstrating the platform’s dedication to honouring India’s rich language legacy.
Unveiling the Investment: Neeraj Chopra’s Backing
The precise amount of Neeraj Chopra’s investment in Stage remains undisclosed, adding an air of anticipation to the development. Chopra, renowned for his prowess in javelin throw, expressed a more profound motive behind his investment, stating that it extends beyond a mere desire to revive India’s diverse regional dialects.
He emphasized the significance of honoring each Indian language, envisioning a journey with Stage to “reawaken dormant languages and empower every voice.” This aligns with Stage’s mission to thrive on cultural heritage through its platform, fostering web series, poetry, storytelling, and other regional content.
Stage: Bridging Cultures through Content
The former creators of WittyFeed, Vinay Singhal, Parveen Singhal, and Shashank Vaishnav, launched Stage in 2019 as an online entertainment platform that specializes in regional languages spoken in Rajasthan and Haryana. More than 550,000 paying users have subscribed to the startup, which has amassed over 6 million downloads. Each user pays INR 400 for an annual subscription.
The platform’s commitment to regional content is evident in its offerings, spanning web series, poetry, storytelling, and more. This focus aligns with the larger trend in the OTT space, where there is a growing demand for content that reflects the cultural diversity of India.
Funding Rounds and Valuations: Stage’s Growth Trajectory
Stage’s journey has been marked by successful funding rounds, showcasing investor confidence in its mission. In 2020, the platform raised INR 10 crore at a pre-money valuation of INR 65 crore. Subsequently, in its pre-Series A round led by Blume Ventures, Stage raised approximately INR 20 crore, elevating its valuation to INR 100 crore. The most recent Series A funding round saw Stage secure INR 36 crore, pushing its valuation to INR 286 crore.
The involvement of notable investors and successful funding rounds underscores the platform’s potential and its ability to attract support from the investment community.
Neeraj Chopra’s Impact: Adding a Relevant Dimension
Neeraj Chopra’s association with Stage adds a unique and impactful dimension to the platform’s mission. Vinay Singhal, co-founder of Stage, expressed belief in the compelling force of storytelling and the unifying potential of regional content, highlighting how Chopra’s involvement enhances the platform’s relevance.
Chopra’s stature as an Olympic champion and his commitment to promoting regional languages aligns with Stage’s vision, potentially broadening the platform’s reach and influence.
Fiscal Performance: Stage in FY22
In the fiscal year 2022, Stage reported a revenue of INR 3.85 crore. While this figure provides a glimpse into the platform’s financial performance, it is essential to consider the broader context of the regional OTT space and its potential for growth.
Competition in the Regional OTT Space
Stage faces competition from other regional OTT platforms like aha Video, Planet Marathi, and Hoichoi. The diversity of options in the regional OTT space reflects the growing demand for content that caters to specific linguistic and cultural preferences. The competition also serves as a driving force for platforms to continually innovate and enhance their offerings.
Potential Impact: Celebrating Diversity and Cultural Heritage
Neeraj Chopra’s investment in Stage, coupled with the platform’s growth trajectory and commitment to regional content, has the potential to make a significant impact. The move emphasizes the importance of celebrating India’s linguistic diversity and cultural heritage.
As Stage continues to expand its content library and subscriber base, it could become a catalyst for similar initiatives, encouraging the creation and consumption of regional content across the country. The investment by a prominent figure like Neeraj Chopra further elevates the visibility of such endeavors, potentially inspiring other influencers and investors to support initiatives that promote and preserve India’s rich cultural tapestry.
Conclusion: A Cultural Renaissance in the OTT Landscape
Finally, Neeraj Chopra’s investment in Stage represents a turning point for the regional OTT market. The partnership between a well-known athlete and a platform that specializes in local content highlights India’s digital entertainment market’s potential for a cultural comeback. The larger effects of such projects may help create a more vibrant and inclusive digital ecosystem for viewers across the country as Stage continues to inspire and evolve.