Interview: Andy Kaplan, Co-Founder and Chairman of KC Global Media

Andy Kaplan

An Exclusive interview with Andy Kaplan, Co-Founder and Chairman of KC Global Media

At Sugermint Media, our aim is to bring to our entrepreneurs & startups community some of the motivational and inspiring success stories from the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

As part of this endeavour, we invited yet another passionate entrepreneur Andy Kaplan, Co-Founder and Chairman of KC Global Media for an exclusive interview with us.

Andy Kaplan is a Seasoned Entrepreneur. He is the Co-Founder and Chairman of KC Global Media. Let’s learn more about his inspirational journey and his advice for our growing community!

This is the interview of Andy Kaplan, successful entrepreneur and co-founder and Chairman of KC Global Media, a global multi-media company based in the United States.

Andy Kaplan, who previously served as the President of Sony Pictures Worldwide Networks, is now the co-founder and chairman of KC Global Media Entertainment, a global multi-media company based in the United States.

While at Sony Pictures in Culver City, California, Kaplan was responsible for overseeing Sony’s global subscription video on demand (SVOD) and advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) over-the-top (OTT) services, linear networks, and related investments.

His leadership resulted in over 180 channel feeds that reached almost two billion subscribers. During Kaplan’s tenure, the media networks division grew to over 4,000 employees and generated more than $2.5 billion in revenue and over $250 million in operating profit.

How has the world of entertainment evolved in the new normal? Has there been any remarkable shift in the audience’s behaviour?

India’s M&E industry is expected to grow to $55-70Bn by 2030, with one of the factors being OTT. Television households in India will continue to grow at over 5% per year to cross 71% of Indian households by 2025.

One of the key drivers is the government-led initiative to switch analog television connections to digital television connections.

For some streaming providers, the focus seems to be on quantity over quality, one that’s to their detriment.

There’s growing evidence that more people are turning away from streaming services as it becomes difficult to sustain large amounts of quality programming; Netflix’s 2022 Quarter 1 earnings report revealed their first net subscriber loss in their history, something that marked a collective shift in the industry as well.

Today’s smart consumers have evolved over the years, and they now expect premium content at a good price as great value, unlike in the past where high price reflects premium content as great value.

Therefore, creating compelling value propositions in partnership with national players and leading networks continue to be an important strategy for KC Global Media where we provide great value through good price for premium content with variety and volume, with being accessible across multi-platforms

What led to the foray of an Asian entertainment network into the Indian market? Kindly share a brief background of KCGM.

Andy Kaplan: India has been a key market for growth with its strong demand and adaption for digital-first and OTT content for TV audiences, and this will continue to grow as it drives towards being a 5G nation.

We are delighted to be in India to serve our fans and making premium anime content accessible to the local audiences through our streaming partners’ platform and showcase our extensive channel offerings.

As Asia’s leading entertainment network and positioning ourselves as an innovative media provider, KC Global Media continues to push the boundaries of entertainment through creativity and innovation.

We embrace what technology has to offer, work with the right partners and brands, and offer contents that are unique to our audiences, as we stay true to our vision in creating a new standard of entertainment, while content continues to reign as king.

Our brand continues to create entertaining multimedia content experiences and enhance our accessibility to viewers in the region through linear and streaming platform.

We also focus on being innovation when creating Asian originals and continue to bring the best entertainment from around the world to our viewers.  

How adaptable has the Indian audience been vis-a-vis from other Asian countries? Especially to newer formats of entertainment content?

Andy Kaplan: OTT is a booming industry, and India is expected to grow further in the coming years. Indians are heavy media and entertainment consumers and are open to discovering more variety of content. Prices of OTT platforms are very affordable as compared to other countries.

India is second, after China, in the list of countries where anime is enjoyed the most. On an average, 73% of Indians watched anime in 2020. Many were introduced to anime through Animax India back in the early 2000s.

The pandemic has led to the habit of binge-watching and an increase in popularity for various contents including anime in India.

YouTube channels dedicated to anime, as well as social media influencers professing their love for the medium has helped get more people hooked on the genre.

The inclusion of anime on popular streaming platforms Netflix and Amazon Prime Video has contributed to the increase in popularity and consumption of anime as well.

However, the anime libraries of these streaming platforms are not as comprehensive, and more obscure anime are often overlooked, which is where KC Global Media comes in to fill the gap to anime fans through our channel offering and our position as a pioneering anime channel in Asia.

How does Indian Audience benefit from your recent partnership with Chicken Soup for the soul? Will we be getting to watch content like Messi’s biography and BTS rise in India? If yes, Which platforms?

Andy Kaplan: KC Global Media’s agreement with Chicken Soup for the Soup Entertainment will allow viewers in the region access to more contents across free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) and ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) where viewers can enjoy a fresh volume of curated genres, including hit series, movies, and factual titles.

More of this will be announced in the coming months.

What prompts you to bring popular anime characters like Naruto and One Punch Man into their original language in India?

Andy Kaplan: KC Global Media has always been about focusing on our audiences in Asia. What we curate and acquire as content buyers is specific to the appetite of our viewers through our brands and anime fans have been particularly vocal in their preferred entertainment preferences these past years.

Bringing these popular anime titles in their original language can only enhance the true fans’ viewer experience when watching their favourite anime shows. 

I understand that Animax is the channel on JioTV where all the anime content is aired, can you shed more light on the content aired on Animax and is it a 24X7 channel?

Andy Kaplan: Animax Asia airs Japanese anime, with fresh and classic hit titles that are viewable on multiple Pay TV, OTT and VOD platforms across the region. A select number of titles every quarter is simulcast with Japan.

With its inclusive curation of the biggest anime titles, Animax offers popular genres for action, romance, horror, supernatural, sci-fi, and comedy, entertaining anime fans through the years in more than 38.8 million homes across 14 territories in Asia.

Fans in India can now tune in to enjoy award-winning anime action series like Golden Gumay – winner of the Social Impact Awards at the 24th Japan Media Arts Festival 2021 and Grand Prize winner of the 51st Cartoonists Association Awards in 2022; action fiction series, Naruto – winner for the Best Female Vocal Performance in an Anime Television Series/OVA in a Supporting Role for BTVA Awards in 2014; sports drama, Kuroko’s Basketball – winner of Tokyo Anime Award 2013 for TV category; and the highly acclaimed adventure comedy anime, Gintama – winner of the Audience Choice Award at the Tokyo Anime Awards 2016, and adapted from one of the best-selling manga series of the same title, and many more!

Can we expect you to create animated content of Indian origin in the near future?

Andy Kaplan: At KC Global Media we are constantly looking to innovate and reinvent what it means to be a modern media provider, and we pride ourselves in championing Asian talents and creations onto the world stage. So the possibilities are open given the right partners, talent, and resources.    

Do you plan to work in collaboration with any other major entertainment network in India?

Andy Kaplan: Our emphasis is on quality content acquisition, creation, and curation. We partner with local collaborators to ensure that the type of content we’re producing is relevant and will resonate with the relevant audience.

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