Starting out as short film makers to founders of a growing community platform for Southeast Asian short films aficionados, the co founders of Viddsee, Ho Jia Jian and Derek Tan, have definitely come a long way. With the support from the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE), both Jia Jian and Derek has created something that marries both their love for short films and technology.
We talk to the the duo to find out more about the origins of Viddsee, their take on how the industry is evolving and their plans moving forward.
Ho Jia Jian and Derek Tan, Co-founders of Viddsee
POPCulture Online: From engineering to a video social media platform that is all about short films, this is one big jump in fields. How did the idea come about and what’s your motivation to step into this “foreign ground” of short films?
Viddsee: It was not exactly a very big jump as the idea had spread over a period of six years. It was rather gradual as we were making short films while studying engineering. It was a natural progression for us as we were looking at how to marry both our love for film and technology. Having worked in a Pay TV environment and the telecommunications environment, we decided to start Viddsee to solve the issues of distribution of film content that we had faced.
POPCulture Online: What were some of the challenges starting out? Did you have help, and were there moments when you felt like giving up? What kept you going?
Viddsee: The initial challenge was taking a big leap of faith where Jia Jian had to leave his full time job to start Viddsee. The journey has been a creative endeavour fueled by passion. What kept us going was the desire to grow the local and regional film community with our unique blend of film making passion and technology background.
Through our journey of entrepreneurship, Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) provided platforms for us to create awareness of Viddsee through publicity efforts, start-up conferences and networking events. These have been great exposure for Viddsee, where we got to share with more people about the platform. ACE together with NUS Enterprise Incubator also provided incubation space and ACE supported us in starting up Viddsee.
POPCulture Online: Did the both of you have different roles to play in this initiative? Did both of you always agree with each other, and if not, how did you resolve it? (Can you share 1 example?)
Viddsee: We started out making films together and it had been a seven-year working relationship. When the time came where we contemplated starting Viddsee, the synergy that we enjoyed while working together spurred us on. With a mind-set to experiment, we decided to let data and analytics make the decisions whenever we had different opinions. For example, when we had different opinions towards Viddsee such as a design of the film page, we will go with one design and analyze the outcomes.
Getting straight to the point, visitors to the Viddsee page will have no issues finding content
POPCulture Online: What makes your site different, and what would you say are the 3 main reasons why people would go to and stay on your site?
- We are a niche content platform – users do not have to sieve through millions of content just to find good quality videos
- We focus on compelling Southeast Asian content that sends across a message and engages social interaction where people talk about it. This can be reflected through our logo which is a video screen within a chat bubble. We focus on content which is never seen before and is fresh, local and good!
- Through Viddsee, users can enjoy a convenient access and discovery to videos. Our platform has the films categorized according to the relevant topics, directors and countries.
POPCulture Online: How has response been, and who are the people who visit your site? Local, overseas (from which countries), age, gender?
Viddsee: So far, we have had a global audience of over 60k since we launched in late January.
POPCulture Online: Among all the videos currently on Viddsee, which is your favourite video and why? (For both Jia Jian and Derek)
Derek: I would like to say my favourite video is CASHLESS as it is my film, but I will stay objective. I would say 3 Days Grace. I love a short film that expands a short moment in our life and explore the characters and relationships at that moment in time. And that we, as the audience, know that life continues (hopefully for the better) and that it carries on even after the film ends and helps us to reflect on ourselves and our own relationships. These films reflect our lives subtly and this is truly what I enjoy about short films!
Jia Jian: It is really tough to say which film is my favourite as there are just too many. If I had to pick one, I would say a highlight for me will be “The Reunion Dinner” directed by Anthony Chen. I personally like short films that are very human in nature and how it triggers memories and celebrates life.
POPCulture Online: The improving video capability of DSLRs and Mirrorless Cameras over the years has given rise to many film productions from the simple hobbyist to the serious amateur. Is this something that you see a lot in the various short films on Viddsee and do you see this trend as something that will continue to grow?
Viddsee: Yes definitely. We have seen how film making cameras that used to be very expensive have become so affordable and this accessibility to equipment certainly opens doors and encourages creativity among many content creators.
We see Viddsee as a platform for content creators to reach their target audience. We feel that it is essential for content creators to know how their work is being distributed.
POPCulture Online: Viddsee has definitely come a long way from an idea to something that has been received very positively. Moving forward, what can users of Viddsee expect to see in terms of improvements or upgrades to the Viddsee platform?
Viddsee: In line with our vision of making films accessible, users can expect to see new and convenient ways to access Viddsee and also an exciting line up of content. For content creators, they can expect more tools and ways for them to engage with their audience.
Thank you Derek and Jia Jian for your time.
by Kenneth Wong
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