Video-sharing app Firework ramps up India operations to take on TikTok

A large chunk of this investment would go towards building premium contents targeting the Indian users, Nair said

The artists are seeking a better deal after they missed the rise of the social video platform and sold music rights for a flat fee

Video sharing app Firework, which recently hogged the limelight with reports stating that internet giant Google is considering buying the firm, is ramping up its operations in India as it gears up to take on TikTok.
While the Silicon Valley-based startups has recently brought on board former AltBalaji COO Sunil Nair as its India CEO, it is also looking at investing around $20 million in its first leg of expansion plan in the country.
A large chunk of this investment would go towards building premium contents targeting the Indian users, Nair said. “At this point, we are not focusing on volumes or milestones, but on (building) premium quality of content. We are already in talks with leading Indian players for strategic tie-ups that will give us access to a very large captive audience,” said Nair.
Firework app has been created by Loop Now Technologies, a US-based incubator start-up that focuses on next-generation consumer mobile applications.
The company, which introduced the app last month in India plans to cross a million users within the first three months and five million user base within the next six months. “Even globally, our growth has been fueled by our strategic partnerships and the passion for our users to publish creatively strong content,” added Nair.
The app differentiates itself from TikTok in terms of the levels of moderation the content go through before going live on the platform. The app has an AI tool called ‘Clarify’ which screens any nudity or violence in videos and flags it off to the moderators sitting in the company’s Mohali or Dominican Republic moderation centres. A moderator takes into consideration the cultural nuances of a place to decide whether to block a video in that certain geography or not. There are three levels of human screening that a video goes through if it is flagged off as offensive by the Clarify tool.
TikTok which is owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance earlier this year landed in controversy after the government ordered it to be removed from app stores following allegations that the contents hosted on its platform were promoting pornography.
“Our content is a big differentiator. We don’t want to do silly memes or lip sync videos. We want to give a service which is a cut above others with content ranging from food to health, fashion, parenting and sports,” said Nair.
While Firework is currently valued at $100 million, TikTok is valued at a whopping $75 billion.
With the short video content market gaining popularity around the globe, Facebook too has launched a similar app called Lasso though it’s yet to pick up.