Editor’s note: In this interview, we talk to Shaurya Nigam, the CEO of Justbaat, a generative AI company helping content creators, users, and distributors by generating videos at scale using AI.
Transcript starts here:
Krishna: Hi, and welcome to the OTTVerse podcast. Each week, we’ll bring you the latest in streaming technology, platforms, and services. This week, we have the pleasure of speaking to Shaurya Nigam, the CEO of Justbaat – thank you so much for joining us on the show
Shaurya. Thank you!
Krishna: So from what I understand, Justbaat is changing the landscape for content creators, distributors, and users by providing technology that can help you artificially create videos in real time. Can you tell us a little more about yourself first to kick off this interview?
Shaurya: Absolutely. We’ve been running this business for about a year. Me specifically, I worked for about 12 years, in the corporate world. I’ve been with companies like Airtel, the education in Indonesia. So I’ve been growth and product guy for most of my life. And after 12 years of working with the corporate companies, you know, I got a calling that someday that you have to do something which is beyond which is bigger, which probably has a more better purpose to what you’re doing today.
And that’s where you, you know, I started exploring, looking around and stumbled upon this use case, this was something that I went through myself, personally, my last role, I struggled to get, you know, quality videos created. And I was like, how could we solve it, because if we are facing it, a lot of people are facing it as well. And which was actually true – after looking around, we saw that this is a very, very rare real problem that exists in the world. And thankfully, the technology was also catching up. So it just happened, that we discovered the problem at the right time. And there was also an obvious solution, which was available. So I literally was able to marry the two.
We are not the only ones doing this, by the way, there are a couple of other companies as well. We are also in to it. And today, in India, we’ve been able to make some level of progress. In the AI space, we are working with a couple of news broadcast companies. So that’s where we are.
Krishna: Fantastic. And congratulations on the startup journey. It reminds me of the saying that “entrepreneurs work 80 hours to avoid working 40 hours”, I guess. Okay, so can you tell us a little more about just but what is your product? How do you actually sell it in the market?
Shaurya: Absolutely. So just about the end to end video creation platform. It’s fully automated, we have built over generative AI. So today, if you were to create a video in the physical world, you would start from scripting to concept, then you would create assets, then there would be couple of iterations around the storyboards, you will create a storyboard do iterations and then finally, the assets for the media will be created where either the video will be short, or you will, you know, take a video editor tool, drag, drop a couple of images, drop videos and create something, do a voiceover create something and then finally, finish it and then over the period, monitor the performance.
This entire process is completely manual. So there is a lot of human dependency. So the entire creative ops today is driven by humans.
And when as a business if you have to create videos at scale, this is where dependency on humans or people become a challenge because if that specific person is out of the loop, then it’s very difficult to replace that skill set immediately.
So you know, there are instances where you would see a lot of fluctuation when it comes to personnel scale. There we saw that we probably is template I will substitute using AI to some extent of the process that you know people entail upon for creating a video. That’s where the Justbaat AI platform was born.
So, today we’ve got an end-to-end platform right from scripting, to creating and publishing a video – it is completely done by machine so there is no human intervention at all. People can choose to intervene if they want to, and, you can just give very, very minimal inputs to the machine and the output that you get is phenomenal. So so that’s what we do.
Krishna: That’s very interesting. So I’m going to actually now show you show everyone the demo. I think this will give you a fantastic idea of what they do. So let’s move to the demo.
Krishna: Okay, so show you I’m gonna just pause at this point. Can you explain what we just saw?
Shaurya: So this entire video was created by the Justbaat platform. Okay, every bit of this video has been done using AI – the girl that you see is the avatar of the actual person. The VoiceOver has not been narrated by the lady that we see here. Animations, the highlight that you see has been picked up from the script by the AI and put out there. So it was not part of the script, not highlighted specifically by the script. It was kind of taken in by AI itself. And all the transitions animations that you saw, everything was done by AI – no human intervention was required.
The input to this video was a newspaper article, or a website article. So, when we worked with Times of India – this is the demo that we created for them.
Krishna: So this is interesting. So this is an English language video. Do you also support other languages?
Shaurya: Absolutely. We support 63 languages across the planet over the right from nine Indian languages like in the Tamil Telugu, Marathi, Bengali Oriya. And then Spanish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Japanese, Mandarin, a couple of African languages, basically, all the major languages.
Krishna: This is this is very interesting. So I think I have a couple of questions here, the avatar that we saw, can I substitute it with my own avatar? Or do you provide a library of different news readers perhaps?
Shaurya: Absolutely. So you can such we can substitute anyone, we can create an avatar, anyone. There’s a process to create that our that we do require five to 10 minute clipping of the person that we want to clone. But that’s just once – the machine takes some some time to learn and clone that person. But once the clone is done, it is done forever. So it’s like a lifetime clone that can be created within five to 10 minutes of the video recording of the person that we want to clone.
So you can clone anyone who have a library of couple of anchors that we maintain today. But the library is kind of not owned by us because we are a B2B business. So, we work with the clients. And the anchor that you see is one of the and one of the actual actors who work for this media house.
Krishna: So do you work on any other use cases? Apart from news?
Shaurya: So today, in our business, we are hyper focused on the news and broadcasting industry. For the broadcasting industry, we operate both on the digital side of the business and the broadcast business where we are able to get news videos created for YouTube, websites, applications, and in television. So, that’s what we do.
Krishna: Could you could you help us understand the difference between the two – broadcast versus the digital space?
Shaurya: So digital is all about the need to consume, where you know, you can come in and consume at your will. Versus, broadcast which is something live 24×7. The difference is more from the way it is consumed, where broadcasts are supposed to be more aggressive in tonality versus digital, it’s supposed to be more calm so that there are differences in the way the videos sound and looks.
There are differences in the way we integrate and you know, we go live in these platforms because that’s typically are still legacy platforms versus digital platforms that are fairly evolved. So, there’s a certain legwork Got the required data in, which is why we demarcate or differentiate these two businesses. But they’re fundamentally they’re the same.
Krishna: That’s that’s a very interesting nuance, right? You see the nine o’clock shows with people all angry shouting at each other. You want if you can get into AI, it’s just fantastic.
Shaurya: Started substituting the off-peak hours and started picking a couple of non-prime time use cases. So that’s where we are. The technology, is still developing – what you just mentioned that probably we might be able to, you know, get into primetime as well, as the technology progresses.
Krishna: You know, that is amazing, actually, if you can actually come into primetime and generate news. I think this opens the avenue for people who can’t really afford a studio, who can’t afford anchors, but can actually write. I know people – I myself love to write. So if I can write news, and then use your platform to have an anchor talk and then syndicate that on different channels like YouTube, Instagram, I think that’s a game changer for independent content creators. Do you see more of such use cases? Are you exploring that? Or are you still doing enterprise today?
Shaurya: No. So we do see a lot of use cases to this technology. And right now, we are hyper focused on the Enterprise play, because the idea was to also validate the concept at scale. See, it takes time to train the models, it takes time to fine tune the AI to serve a specific use case. And we are still a startup, we’re a smaller team. So there are only limited things that we can do, given the bandwidth that we have. And, you know, knew that broadcasting industry, which creates content at scale on Tinder is what they’re all about. The idea was that could we substitute their content requirements with AI? So that’s where we started off. But yesterday, we have demos for Prop Tech, we have demos for auto, we have demos for E-commerce. We would want to do it – its just that it’s only a matter of time you want to get one thing right, and then probably move on to the last one.
Krishna: So that that’s almost like a segue to my next question. So from what I can see, you have kind of cracked the code for text to audio, text to video, lip, sing backgrounds, everything. So what’s next? What’s next? What’s the next challenge that you’re actually picking up? Or have you kind of pivoted into a platform and cost optimization phase of your product?
Shaurya: No. So right now, we are not optimizing the platform at this stage, I think, at this stage, still, evangelizing a couple of more use cases that this technology can get to also we are hyper focused to get the product right. At stage, what we’re doing is see the idle product should look like well, you could literally give minimal inputs to the machine and get output either in the video format. Or you could just write that create a video to teach a five year old Newton’s third law of motion, right.
And then the hidden such a tonality, with all the animations and plays, were literally a five year old look at you and understand what Newton’s third law of motion is all about. So that’s the ideal product that we visualize. We are a bit far away from there.
So that is the journey that we embarked upon. So for the couple of weeks, months, probably years, we will still be in the field at that point I think of because AI is is literally just at the cusp, if not even started growing today, right? I mean, we you know, we’ve just started entering the market, people have just explored AI as a use case or other technology.
The way I see it right, from 1995 until 2020 The world was looking at digitization, whatever we did travel transactions, you know, everything digitization came and you know, everything was just getting digitized, but I get my food because I have an app that travel but I’m able to book my tickets online.
And also whatever I do, everything has just become digital right? It will be and beyond the future.
I see AI now topping over wherever digitalization entered. So across every industry, every vertical, we would see artificial intelligence coming in. We are just solving for content creation videos. So we’ve built a very, very minute use case right now but artificial intelligence itself with a very, very strong technology. And there will be more and more revenues that will open for the world at least for us as well. Where we are trying to solve for one use case.
Krishna: Amazing! Okay, so I think that almost answered my last question. So let me just come back a bit, changing gears a bit with the rise of deep fakes, right? What are the ethical considerations that you see that just one has to see?
Shaurya: So there are a lot of ethical concerns with deep fake and AI coming along, right. And this is something that we all kind of foresee and starting to work with enterprises with a very, very cautious attitude that we can not open platform to everyone out there, we are not giving the platform to the creators today.
Technically, we are probably ready. But you know, those ethical practices and a little more deeper thinking to how the process should look like to, you know, get it out there to the world to use it the way they want to. Probably we are a bit away from there.
So we are also definitely thinking through how could we make sure that this product or this technology is not misused, which is why we are trying to do in a very controlled fashion. But and this is true for everybody who’s operating in this space. There will definitely ethical concerns with AI. We’ve seen enough examples in the in the recent past where there was a video where, you know, the President of Ukraine was shown a surrendering in an AI video. There are concerns around this.
So at least we can do this, but that we could be cautious in the way we scale the product that say we are. But I think we as humans need to be particular as an industry and to be particular of how do we use that. Because this is a very, very powerful tool. But then it comes with it for nuisance value as well.
Krishna: Absolutely. I think you’re probably placed in the right, right place at the right time to take these kinds of calls, and probably also educate the rest of the Indian industry. That where should the line be drawn? And how to run this as a very ethical, ethical platform.
I think that brings us to the end of this short interview. It was fantastic learning about your platform, your success stories. We wish you all the best and look forward to having you again on the show and reporting on all your successes.
Shaurya: Thank you for having me around. It was fun chatting today. Looking forward. Thank you.
Krishna Rao Vijayanagar
Krishna Rao Vijayanagar, Ph.D., is the Editor-in-Chief of OTTVerse, a news portal covering tech and business news in the OTT industry.
With extensive experience in video encoding, streaming, analytics, monetization, end-to-end streaming, and more, Krishna has held multiple leadership roles in R&D, Engineering, and Product at companies such as Harmonic Inc., MediaMelon, and Airtel Digital. Krishna has published numerous articles and research papers and speaks at industry events to share his insights and perspectives on the fundamentals and the future of OTT streaming.