How Singapore based Lomotif plans to win India’s short video market

How Singapore based Lomotif plans to win India’s short video market
Paul Yang, founder, Lomotif
8 Jul, 2021

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower!” 

This mantra from Steve Jobs reflects the story of Apple and how it became a trillion-dollar company. But we're not here to talk about iPhones or Macs. We’re talking about Lomotif -- the Singapore born TikTok rival that aims to be the next “innovative leader” in India’s crowded and exploding short video market. 

The offering from Lomotif, which was acquired by Los Angeles based ZASH Global Media and Entertainment Corporation earlier this year, is similar to others in the category -- create, share, and explore short videos that are synced to music. 

But, in this case, the product and the company’s strategy will make the whole difference, Paul Yang, co-founder and CEO of the Singapore-based platform, told TechCircle

“We bring the global perspective. And we will help bridge creators and consumers in India with the global creator economy and vice versa,” he said. 

Launched in 2014, Lomotif has been downloaded over 225 million times in 200-plus countries. In India, the product has soft-launched, with the company still testing the waters and gradually expanding its footprint. 

“We have already got teammates hired in India, very experienced in this space,” Yang said, noting that they will soon set up an office with a workforce ranging between 50 and 100 (depending on the requirement) while complying with the law of the land. 

The platform gets over 300 million views per month on a global basis. 

Hyperlocal is the name of the game

India, the world’s second largest short video market, is on track to have over 450 million social media users by 2023 and 900 million active internet users by 2025. To tap into this opportunity, Lomotif is targeting a localized approach, where it will deliver content resonating with people from different cultures, people speaking different languages. 

This strategy, the company expects, will trigger growth in hyperlocal geographies, eventually resulting in organic growth across the country.  

So far, Lomotif claims to have made almost no investment on user acquisition. However, in India, it is investing resources in campaigns to gain initial traction and turn the flywheel of hyperlocal growth.  

“Lomotif's first campaign in the country - #DanceOff witnessed a jump of over a 1000% increase in content creators on the platform and a 1500% increase in total video views,” Ted Farnsworth, co-founder of ZASH, told TechCircle, without detailing how much the company plans to invest in the market or how many users it anticipates onboarding over the next six months. 

Yang said their spending focus remains on drawing new creators and empowering them to create and earn in unique ways.  

Lomotif’s biggest highlight is a patented tool that allows creators to edit and stitch together multiple clips. But this does not mean the user needs to bring five different clips to create. The tool also has an ever-evolving library that suggests clips based on any keyword you feed in, much like Google recommendations. 

“So, for every word in the vocabulary, there will be a video clip that you can use. You type running, there will be a whole bunch of running clips you can use...and it's going be different for every creator or every user,” Yang explained while noting that videos created and tagged by users are automatically added into this library. 

Lomotif monetizes this tool by selling certain attributes to brands. 

For instance, it could sell the ‘running’ attribute to Nike, which would mean that Nike’s video would surface among organic suggestions as and when a user searches for clips associated with running. If the user picks it to create something compelling, they would have an opportunity to earn. 

Other monetization features in the product include paywalls to separate free content from premium content on channels and an option to use videos from ecommerce partners to sell products.  

“If you are a creator that just wants to sell merchandise, you do not need to get the inventory yourself, you can simply pick product video from the partner and create something to drive the sale and earn,” Yang said.  

Lomotif is in talks with various brands and companies in India, he said, without revealing the names of potential strategic partners. He added that the company will convert some of these conversations every quarter and establish a transparent system to split revenue with the creators, just like the one Google and Apple maintain with developers. 

Global opportunities

Since Lomotif hosts a diverse user base spread across different parts of the world, creators will also get global opportunities to collaborate. 

“A producer in India, for instance, can be laying down a beat, and when we work with someone like Wiz Khalifa which we do, he can be like let me rhyme to it, resulting in a sudden collab,” Yang said.  

The company stores such IPs under labels and then distributes them globally with the help of its distribution partners.  

“With Lomotif’s foray into the country, we want to build a platform for Indian content creators giving them global visibility and vice versa,” ZASH’s Farnsworth said. “It will be a bridge between creators and fans worldwide, enabling global partnerships. The upcoming global campaign, 'You've Been Scouted' just re-iterates the commitment where the budding talent will get equal opportunities to be discovered, with the winner receiving an exclusive record label contract and much more,” he added. 

For now, it remains unclear when Lomotif would go official in India. However, when it does, the platform would go against several homegrown short video apps, including Sharechat’s Moj, Glance’s Roposo, VerSe Innovation’s Josh, Chingari, and Mitron TV. TikTok, meanwhile, still remains banned in India.