Look no further than Atlanta-based YuppTV Inc. to speculate about the Internet’s power to transform television viewing habits around the globe.
Launched in 2006 by Uday Reddy — a self-proclaimed country boy from Hanamakonda, India, some 80-plus miles north of Hyderabad — with the objective of creating Internet platforms providing access to information, entertainment and communication “no matter where the user is on the planet.”
In an autobiographical sketch on his personal site, he credits his academic honors from Delhi University of Engineering in electronics and communications for widening his horizons.
Hired by Siemens AG following a 1993 campus interview, he calls that opportunity “a dream come true for any individual of my thinking.”
“Since then there has been no looking back,” he adds reflecting on the 50 countries where he has traveled and a career where he also made a mark as a successful salesman on behalf of Nortel Telecomm Ltd.
In these capacities, he says that he came to recognize his strengths as a market strategist, and his skill in recognizing the potential of new technologies as well as an ability to manage people. The upshot was that he realized his desire to become an entrepreneur and take the risk of launching YuppTV.
YuppTV, which began with only two channels, now offers more than 200 channels in 13 South Asian languages including Tamil, Hindi, Telugu and Sinhalese, and has an established presence in expat communities in Australia, Europe and the U.S.
In December the company launched YuppFlix which makes available more than 5,000 Bollywood films in 12 languages through a new Internet streaming device.
South Asian content is offered via live TV, catch-up TV, and movies, and now broadcasters and content providers may reach their target audiences over six screens of connected TVs, set-up boxes, personal computers, smart phones, tablets and game consoles.
While the focus is on Indian diaspora markets, the company’s promoters say that the new service should be able to increase the availability of Bollywood films to others interested in a market that sells three billion movie tickets a year.
“There is a larger audience who might not speak or understand the languages but would love to watch a Bollywood movie with subtitles,” Pooja Diwan, manager of public relations and corporate relations, told Global Atlanta.
A reverse strategy also appears to be working. YuppTV and BBC Global News Ltd. have signed an agreement enabling YuppTV to offer BBC World News, the 24-hour English language news channel, to its Indian audience.
Another interesting development for YuppTV is its recently announced agreement with TyC Sports, the No. 1 sports channel in Argentina, to provide content to Argentines living outside of Argentina.
Herman Chiofalo, YyC Sports’ business manager, said in an announcement that his channel hopes “to reach more Argentines wherever they are located in the Americas and offer the best sports programming ‘live’ and ‘catch-up’ through the YuppTV app.”
Although Mr. Reddy claims in his autobio that “there has been no looking back” once he launched his company, in fact, he has been focused on the potential for expanding his company’s services in villages and farming areas like where he grew up.
In an effort to increase the “social benefit” of his company, he has developed what is called the “Modern Village Vision — 2020,” which is to introduce technological infrastructure in rural areas to create awareness about education and health care while increasing economic growth and decreasing income inequality.
Mr. Reddy has focused on the village of Veenavank in India’s Karimnagar District as a test case for his ambitious undertaking that is to provide the foundation for it to evolve into “a self-sufficient, aware and educated community.”
His seven year rollout plan includes Internet connectivity computer literacy through online and broadcasted training programs, E-health care, use of optimized techniques in agriculture and micro finance.
He says confidently that “Veenavanka will act as a prototype of a successful model which will ultimately be implemented all over India and other lesser developed countries across the world.”
Obinna Morton also contributed to the reporting for this article.