Rajeev Raman is currently the CEO at 1 Mainstream, is a cloud-based digital TV distribution platform for broadcasters and operators optimized for deploying HD services in weeks across the most popular TV, game console, tablet and Web devices. Raman is an experienced entrepreneur, but has previous experience as Head of Product at Roku, and VP of Product and Engineering at Questra Corp. The Makegood recently spoke with Raman about the experience he will bring to 1 Mainstream.
The Makegood: As an experienced entrepreneur, what does 1 Mainstream mean to you? What makes 1 Mainstream different from other companies of similar nature?
I often joke that 1 Mainstream is a 2-year-old in a 10-year-old’s body. My team and I have been working in various aspects of the content industry—from streaming technologies to apps and advertising—going all the way back to when Palm Treos were cool. There is an extraordinary amount of learning over the years that has come together into the vision that now makes the 1 Mainstream platform.
I think the biggest difference between us and other companies in this market is that we are the first to attack the problem of digital distribution starting with devices as the primary outlet rather than PCs. Also we are afforded the luxury of a clean slate for our platform which means we are taking extraordinary advantage of cloud technologies to deliver the lowest possible end-to-end cost to serve HD video with the fastest time to market. Brand new broadcast-quality services can be deployed to every TV household in the country in just a few weeks.
The Makegood: 1 Mainstream is at the “tipping point where HD quality video can be streamed to your TV” without relying on cable or satellite video technologies. Could you elaborate on what this means, and why this is so important?
Sure. The aha moment for me is when I walk into a room with a TV playing something and I can’t tell whether TV is connected to a Cable or Satellite Set Top Box or an Internet Set Top Box. It’s a little like that time when you first listened to an MP3 song, you knew there was no going back to CDs. The consumer now has a much greater say in their entertainment and TV options. Every aspect of the value chain from video delivery, to apps, billing, and ads has to be revisited with a digital-first perspective.
The Makegood: What technology do you think will be most vital to 1 Mainstream’s performance, and why?
Without a doubt it is the availability of inexpensive, good quality broadband. Internet video in the past has been about grainy, short-form videos of kids falling off skateboards. Getting 5-10 Mbps consistently in every corner of your house is going to be crucial in the next year or two, as it opens the door for professionally produced, high-quality videos, TV shows, and movies to be viewed. The good news is that there are parts of the world where this is already the case.
The Makegood: With technology constantly changing, how do you plan to keep 1 Mainstream ahead of the rest of the industry?
Pretty much the only advantage a startup has over its larger counterparts is speed. As a startup we can be quick and nimble. It’s the one thing we have that big companies can’t get no matter how hard they try. We understand this and internalize it in everything we do. For example, we will soon make some interesting announcements with regard to 4K TVs. The most basic aspect of a video service is the quality of playback; in this area, nothing comes close to 4K.
The Makegood: What strategies have you used to further grow 1 Mainstream? How have your consumers responded to what you are providing?
We see two large adjacent markets to our core focus but frankly our immediate objective is to build the best digital video distribution platform and have our customers be our biggest evangelists. If there was a Net Promoter Score for enterprise products, we would want to be at least an 8!
Even today we have no dedicated sales organization, and every one of our customers has come through word of mouth. We are a consumer team building an enterprise platform and we can’t help but think like a consumer company.
The Makegood: Thank you, Rajeev.