Friday, 31 October 2014

Changing trends: Bollywood seeks out YouTube stars for publicity

An emerging trend being observed is that Bollywood Superstars are seeking popular YouTube channels such as TheViralFever (TVF) to reach out to youth.
A few weeks ago, Shah Rukh Khan's Red Cillies Entertainment approached TheViralFever to feature a video for the promotion of his latest film - Happy New Year. The ingenious team at TVF came up with this hilarious video, which pits the inimitable Arnub Goswami in a battle of wits with SRK himself.

A recent article on Quartz India elaborates on this new trend -
The video that Shahrukh Khan—the world’s second richest actor—shot with The Viral Fever got 1.4 million views within six days. The ability to create buzz and reach significant audiences very quickly is attracting brands and celebrities to the medium

So why are Bollywood Stars - whose films rake hundreds of crores of rupees - seeking the help of online video channels?

A Google India spokesperson told Quartz that YouTube’s web originals partners (as distinct from partners that push television or film content online) in India have witnessed a 300% growth in traffic in just one year.
Less than three years ago, viable online video networks were unfathomable. But as internet penetration and mobile device usage rise rapidly in India, prospects for such networks are looking up. YouTube doesn’t disclose the revenue of its partners, and channels also mostly shy away from discussing numbers.

So what does this signify?

The rules of entertainment are being re-written. Power has begun to shift from traditional TV to Internet, and the rules of Internet video are totally different.

For one, on the Internet, competitors for one's attention are way too many - other YouTube channels, Facebook and social media, emails, etc. So if you can't capture the viewer's attention in the first few seconds, you might lose that person, perhaps with no second chance...

Secondly, viewing environments have changed - The TV in a comfortable living room, is being replaced by the mobile during the daily commute - at least for the younger generation - and that has it's own distractions and interruptions.

On the plus side, the tech-savvy younger generation is glued to the Internet. So if you caught their imagination, they are your fans for life! And this generation is growing - in age and size!

Exciting times ahead

How this might pan out, is difficult to say. But to stay ahead of the game, one should learn from Bollywood stalwarts, and start thinking Internet.

It time to wake up, and smell the coffee!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Navigable Videos: A new path to tread

After months of prototyping the erstwhile video-creation app, field trials and conversations with our end-users, we have decided to close it down.

We have realised that the problem we are solving, does not feature in the top-5 priority list for either students or teachers. It's time now to move on.

During our extensive interactions with students, we noticed a few things (to our surprise)

1. Video consumption is increasing -whether for learning or entertainment
2. Consumption is moving to mobile devices
3. Patience levels are going down
4. Finding content inside a long video is a big problem

We have decided to solve this problem, and initial prototyping and field trials have resulted in exciting feedback. So this is our new avatar -

Do let us know how you like it!

- The DrawTyme Team

Monday, 22 September 2014

Congratulations to BookPad team on their Yahoo acquisition

Today was greeted by the most exciting news of Yahoo acquiring Bookpad, one of the startups being incubated at NASSCOM Warehouse!  Details of the deal are available in this Economic Times report.

Aditya Bandi, and Niketh Sabbineni, two of the founders of BookPad are good friends of mine, and I am very elated at this development! The founders and all their team are very talented, hard-working and passionate youngsters, who know how to dream big, and work towards achieving those dreams!

Apart from the satisfaction of seeing passionate efforts bear fruit, this also bodes well of the Indian startup eco-system!

We are now looking forward to receiving more such news in the near future!

Meanwhile, here's wishing all the very best to the amazing BookPad team!

With love,
The DrawTyme Team

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Using Google Datastore, Google App Engine, and Endpoints for your applications

Google Datastore is a very convenient cloud based database to use in your mobile or web applications. However, the process of integrating it with the application is somewhat complex, and the documentation is not very helpful.

I am presenting a step-wise procedure of how we used Google Datastore with DrawTyme applications. In this post, only the integration with web-app of DrawTyme is explained. Integration with the Android app will be the subject of the next post.


Google Datastore a non-relational database. It is very simple and inexpensive to use. You need to use Google App Engine and Google Endpoints to access it.

For the purpose of this tutorial, each data entry in the database, will be of type Video. Each Video has the following components
  1. ID
  2. Owner
  3. Title
  4. Author
  5. Description
  6. Timestamp of creation
This data is sufficient to retrieve a video from the cloud storage.


The Procedure

The following steps need to be taken in order to use Google Datastore.

1. Setup Development Environment
2. Create a project on Google App Engine 
3. Download and modify the Java Backend and Javascript Web-App code
4. Upload the Backend Code to Google App Engine


Setting up the development enviroment

  1. Download and install "Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers" from Eclipse Download Site. (Make sure you have Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers. My experience was that Google Plugin for Eclipse does not work well with other flavours of Eclipse)
  2. Install "Google Plugin for Eclipse". You can find instructions at the Google Plugin for Eclipse site.

Creating a project on Google App Engine

  1. Follow the instructions for "Creating an App Engine app" at
  2. Copy the project ID of the project you just created

Download the backend code

  1. Start Eclipse and create a Web Application as described in "Creating your first Web Application" section of the Google Plugin for Eclipse site.
    • A directory for this project will be created in your workspace
  2. Download and extract it's contents into the directory created in #1 above.

Understanding the code

First the Java Backend:
  1. the "src" folder 
    1. The file declares the Client IDs that are authorised to use the app engine
      • To generate these IDs, open
      • Open the project you created earlier
      • On the left hand menu, click on APIs & auth
      • Then click Credentials
      • Create a new OAuth ID for each web/Android/iOS application that you want to allow use of theis App Engine project
    2. The file defines the api that will be called by our apps
  2. the "war" folder
    1. the file WEB-INF/appengine-web.xml
      • In this file, write the application ID of the project you created on Google App Engine, in the <application></application> tag
    2. the file WEB-INF/datastore-indexes.xml
      • The contents of this file were suggested by Google App Engine, and I got it right after a few iterations
Now the Javascript code:
  1. war/js/backend.js
    • This file has functions that call the api of the Backend
    • Put the Client ID of the web-app that you created and wrote in the file above 
  2. war/index.html
    1. This is left blank - you can write your own code here to test out the functions in the Backend. The API required for these functions is initialised and installed in war/js/backend.js

Uploading the Backend Code to Google App Engine

  1. Follow the instructions on "Deploying your Web Application" at
And we are done! Once deployed, your project is now available at where application-id is the project ID of your project on Google App Engine. 
(IMPORTANT: Make sure to use https:// rather than http:// when accessing your project. Otherwise, the user signin - which uses OAuth2 - will not work)
I have tried to keep this as simple as possible. If you have any queries, please feel free to mail me at info[at], and I will share what I know.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

DrawTyme Beta launched

What a wonderful start to the DrawTyme Story! 

Beta Trials of DrawTyme for Android have begun, and here's how you can participate:

Please note: You need an Android phone or tablet running Android 4.1 or above.  Here's how you can check the Android version on your device.
  1. Join the community "DrawTyme Beta Trials" on Google+:
  2. Follow the link and click the button "BECOME A TESTER"
  3.  Click the link saying "Download DrawTyme from Play Store."
Please ensure that the email address you used for Step #1 is the same as the one registered on your Android Device. Otherwise, you won't be able to download the app

Once you download it, feel free to use it, and let us know about your experience! (There is a feedback button in the app. You can also write to us at [email protected])