In The Spotlight: Gautam Raj Anand, Founder & CEO Of Hubhopper

Hello folks, Hubhopper is an Indian content discovery platform that marries text and audio and aims to offer the best of both worlds. Given how nascent the Indian podcasting scene is, they are one of the few platforms trying to grow the podcasting medium. We had a Q&A with founder and CEO, Gautam Raj Anand on all things podcasting. Gautam has a really unique perspective and his responses are thoroughly fascinating. I enjoyed what he had to say, I hope you do too. 

From being a risk analyst in Barclays to building Hubhopper, how did that happen?

Gautam: I always had this need to consume content. When I was in Barclays I would try to find time and ways I could consume content during the day. It involved me moving across different channels and platforms to quench my need to consume content. This entire process was a tedious and hectic activity to perform. So, the thought process of starting a company like Hubhopper actually came from trying to solve my own problem and in making content consumption easy.

Tell us a little about Hubhopper and who’s your target audience?

Gautam: The trend that follows among consumers today is that the demand for content consumption is exponentially increasing, but the consumers themselves are becoming lazier when it comes to consuming content. Hubhopper makes content consumption as easy and seamless as possible for consumers. We provide both audio content and short content within our platform.

We want the activity of consumption to be effortless and allow our users to consume content at places and time when previously they could not. With Hubhopper, consumers can now have their own personalised content in one place. They can read or listen, allowing them to be able to consume during any time during the day. This passive form of consumption seamlessly fits into a consumers’ schedule without diluting their primary task, and that I feel, is the beauty of it. Our target audience is people who want to consume content, but, do not want to perform the tedious process of discovery and consumption of content.

Hubhopper started off as a social network in 2015 then pivoted to content aggregation in 2017 and now podcasts in 2018. What’s the plan with podcasts and how does it fit into the long-term strategy

Gautam: To begin with, I want to state that Hubhopper never “pivoted” to different ventures. Hubhopper was always about “making content easy”. To make content consumption effortless and easy for the consumers. Yes, the format did change, but, our goal has remained the same. We wanted to answer the consumption problem that the consumers are facing, and that is what Hubhopper works towards. We never know what format might work best tomorrow, but we can assure you that when it comes to content consumption, Hubhopper can ensure that the process will be simplified for you.

You guys introduced podcasts on the app in June 2018, how has the response been so far?

Gautam: The response has been amazing! Yes, podcast is isolating, but, the trend is rising phenomenally. What we need to remember is that, such type of content consumption is natural. We always have been listening to stories told to us by our parents or our grandparents reciting the Gita or the old radio playing in the background. Hence, we are not introducing a new format of content. We are actually changing in medium, which is now called “podcast”.

A country like India has always been an audio-based content consumer. The radio was the lifeline for information in the country and people even today, tune in to it. But, what’s happening is, the consumers are diverting towards a demand for a more personalised content. The entry of the internet into this space has opened it up to meet that demand. Hence, Podcast is actually perfect for the Indian market.

There is no dearth of podcatchers out there. What makes Hubhopper special?

Gautam: Hubhopper for me is not just an application but a platform for many. It is simply not just a podcasting app. We are trying to solve the relatable content consumption issue prevailing with the consumers. Hence, our focus is always on the users and the creators of content. The gap between the demand for content and the supply is forever increasing. The supply cannot keep up with the demand, and we at Hubhopper work on breaching the gap between the two. We want to showcase to our users the conten out there in the space and in return, we want consumers to easily access these creator’s content.

How does the podcast curation on the app work?

Gautam: We have been working on this task tediously from the start. All I can say is that the process of curation has been designed to suit the need of our users and ensure the entire process of consumption is as easy as possible.

How would you describe the podcasting scene in India?

Gautam: The podcasting scene in India right now is small. But, what I can assure you that it is exciting. It is growing exponentially, and this trend is soon going to take over the consumption space. Hubhopper feels lucky to lead this space in India and is working towards making Hubhopper synonymous with podcasts. Exciting things are unfolding everyday and I can tell you, give it some time and this space is soon going to take over the country.

There are probably under 500 podcasts in India. Given the size and scope of India, that’s a huge opportunity. Do you guys intend to get into original programming?

Gautam: Yes! We are currently working on the “Hubhopper original” podcast collection. We want to expand this community of podcasters and ensure that there is great content generated frequently. Like I had previously said, the supply of content cannot match up with the demand for content. This is where we thought starting an original programme will benefit us and the space.

What’s the monetization play with podcasts?

Gautam: We are currently working on the monetization play for podcasters on our platform. I know it is going to excite every podcaster once the monetization structure is ready. You will soon find monetizing your podcast to be a simple task and the opportunity to be vast. To all podcasters out there, hold on to your breath as Hubhopper will soon be coming up with a solution to your monetization problem! 

What excites you the most about the podcasting space?

Gautam: Personally, I am excited! I consume anywhere between to 8 to 9 hours of podcasting a day. I even listen to podcasts to sleep. Listening to podcast to sleep meaning not listening to it actively, but passively. Look at the beauty of the potential of audio content! The way I consume podcast interprets the potential of the podcasting space to me personally.

As a consumer, I feel the podcasting space is amazing. It is language agnostic, location agnostic and genre agnostic. The method of consumption can breach spaces where previously people could not consume content. People can consume content while driving, running, sleeping or even while taking a shower. A country like India where travel time is immense, such a format of consumption fits perfectly with the consumers.

Globally, podcast has already taken over content in many countries. India has just recently started to pick up on the trend. We all know that radio is now a dead medium, and globally, podcast has been able to capture this space and take over. This medium is personal, expressive, independent and flexible. We are witnessing the power and the evolution of this in a global scale, and for India to be a part of it is amazing.

What’s on your podcast playlist?  

Gautam: Well, I have so many on my playlist. Any podcast related to ‘thriller’ or ‘start-ups’, I definitely have it on my playlist, on Hubhopper haha.

Posted by Bhuvanesh

A podcast junkie on a mission to make podcasts great.

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