Tom Keighley

The 'on demand' tv model: behind the business

Viewster is an ’on demand’ service, offering a wide range of current and classic films, TV series and celebrity news to watch ad-funded for free. Based in Switzerland, Viewster is available in 120 countries worldwide. CEO Kai Henniges takes Bdaily behind the business.

What key challenges has your company recently faced?

Viewster’s recent and ongoing growth brings a natural challenge with it in hiring new staff, and opening new offices, whilst remaining true to the company’s messaging and vision across four different continents. Currently, 98% of our business is international, with around 15% of it in the UK, and we are well on our way to becoming a truly global business with a localised offering in all of our main markets. Over the coming years, we want to double annually and to help us do that we’ve recently opened new offices in New York, London, Singapore and Adelaide, and made a number of strategic, senior appointments globally.

What is your biggest achievement over the past 12 months?

Our biggest achievement has been racking up more than a billion views in 2012 and growing the business by over 700%. It’s great to see the business shaping up as a leader in our space. We’ve also been cracking into the Top 20 Online Video Properties in the UK according to comScore February 2013 report.

What is your biggest focus for the coming year?

Besides continuously expanding our library with international movies and TV shows, we are involving our community in a much deeper way. Our viewers will be driving the kind of content that is offered on Viewster in the future and they will be able to share the videos that they enjoy with their friends.

If you had to choose one top piece of advice for someone just starting out in business, or is currently operating within your industry sector, what would it be?

If you have an idea that you are convinced makes good commercial sense, go for it and try it out. Persistence is essential in taking a new business to market and although industry knowledge is a very important asset, the most successful companies are the ones which respond to change and have the confidence to take risks and change the focus of their business.

Can you share with us your view of the current landscape of business, in your region or generally, and where your organisation sits within it?

Across the video market, users are turning their backs on linear TV at an increasing rate. As this trend continues, we’re going to see a massive shift in how people access video content and the way that advertisers target audiences who are no longer locked in to a traditional TV schedule.

There are some very big players in our market, but we see ourselves as offering viewers something different: attractive entertainment with international films and TV shows to watch for free with ads – and most of our users worldwide prefer this option. This is helping us to engage younger viewers who are migrating online. As a result, we’re also seeing a huge interest from advertisers. Unable to reach the audiences they want through linear TV, these advertisers are looking for a brand-safe environment where they can reach the audiences they want – and that’s where we come in!

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