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Monday, 28 May, 2018, 12 : 57 PM [IST]

‘GoldSeat ensures free HD licensed content without any downloading or buffering while on the go’

GoldSeat is an on-the-go offline entertainment App for travel services which fills the demand and supply gap by providing latest offline licensed HD content running seamlessly without any data cost or connectivity during travelling, making it available even in the remotest areas. A subscription-based service, GoldSeat has their applications currently running in both premium road transport service in the government and private sector in major States. Gaurav Kapahi, Co-Founder, GoldSeat in a interaction with TravelBiz Monitor explains how their application works and how it gives an opportunity for premium road transport providers to offer a value proposition to their customers.

What kind of demand – supply gap that you see in the on-the-go entertainment in India?
According to EY Report 2017, smartphone penetration in India is expected to grow to 520 mn by 2020, making India one of the largest smart phone economies in the world. The rapid up-take of connected devices and broadband connectivity will be instrumental in media consumption. With the internet penetration rate of 88.5% in U.S.A., the internet connectivity is just at 40% in India. Only 10% of that supports 4G speed while travelling on-road. This creates a huge gap between the demand and supply of entertainment while travelling. With connectivity and faster internet speed, there is a lot of content being consumed today but unfortunately this trend is only seen in static environments and there are negligible options for entertainment on-the-go. The few options that are available are either pirated content pieces or content that the passenger has downloaded on his/her device through one of the OTT platforms. There is a lot of demand for entertainment on the move but a major gap on the supply side which we are trying to address.

How does GoldSeat fill that demand-supply gap?
GoldSeat fills the demand and supply gap by providing latest offline licensed, HD content running seamlessly without any data cost or connectivity during travelling, making it available even in the remotest areas. The content resides on a device which is fixed inside the moving vehicle and all passengers can connect to our device using WiFi for streaming movies, tv shows, interviews etc.

When did GoldSeat start promoting its solutions in the market and who are the primary customers?
Founded in 2016, GoldSeat started its operations in January 2017. The key customers for GoldSeat are private and government operators who run luxury and premium buses across the country. While we offer B2C services, our business model and focus are completely the B2B market.

Which are the cities you currently offer your solutions and what are your expansion plans?
Currently, GoldSeat has its application running across 250 buses which includes Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation and also other private players across Northern and Western regions of India including Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and will soon be available South expanding its pan India services in near future. GoldSeat enabled buses run on 36 routes covering more than 1 lac km everyday collectively.

What are the different entertainment options and its range that you have on offer to your customers?
There are more than 200 movies available for the customers in the GoldSeat entertainment services during their travel journey. We have licensed content from Reliance Entertainment, Phantom Films, Film Companion among others. There is no additional cost which the customer has to bear for the entertainment services provided by the GoldSeat through operators. Hence, the content is free for the bus travellers, making the journey smooth and entertaining.

What is the business model of your partnerships with travel/transport providers? How does the tie-up help transport companies to up sell their products to a new set of customers?
GoldSeat operates on a subscription based model where the operators/owners of the buses pay on a monthly basis and get all services bundled within the subscription amount. While the bus operators who have tie-ups with GoldSeat provide premium travel services, the free entertainment through HD content and 24-hour WiFi availability brings an edge over other bus operators and service providers, and attracts the set of travellers who rely on entertainment while travelling.

With network issues getting better in India day by day, how would your service remain relevant on the long run? What kind of future opportunities you see going forward?
While the network issues are continuously improving in India, the internet penetration still remains only 40%, and only 10% of which performs while using internet on the go because due to fluctuations in the 3G/4G Data. According to the current market scenario, there is a long way to improve internet connectivity while travelling. GoldSeat continues to fill the gap present in the market through the entertainment services including the multi-band WiFi which enables the travellers with internet connectivity throughout the journey. Currently, there are conversations going on with multiple airlines and the agencies which handle media inside the trains. It will take approximate 12-14 months to convert the same.

The main focus of most telecom companies is to penetrate areas which are not currently penetrated. Mostly rural areas and highways are still not a priority. Hence, these places continue to suffer for connectivity. Even if connectivity improves over a period of time, content will continue to pose challenges. Our service ensures free HD licensed content without any downloading or buffering for all passengers.

As a technology start up what kind of future funding you are eyeing to scale up business?
We raised USD 610K in the seed round of funding which was closed towards the end of 2017. We are aiming for a second round of funding of USD 3000K by 2019 and plan to extend our services to 1000 buses by the end of this year.

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