Portico Media CEO Jay Lin speaks about his LGBTQ-themed OTT platform

Taipei-based Portico Media CEO Jay Lin has weaved an OTT platform in service of elevating LGBT visibility and accelerating acceptance in Taiwan and, hopefully, beyond. As the Portico-backed GagaOOLala aims for original LGBTQ content, Lin shares how he plans to spread his footprints beyond the borders and across the world.
Taipei-based Portico Media CEO Jay Lin 
Lin spoke to AnimationXpress over a cuppa, touching upon a variety of market trends, challenges and opportunities as a content distributor and platform. Excerpts :
  100 percent of ownership of content creation is allowed. But news broadcasters are allowed only up to a limit of 49 per cent. Satellite up-linking is a no – no for foreigners, You have to go through Indian channels. India is as much of a close wall in certain areas. So don’t get disillusioned that India is open. In the area of content we’re open but in the area of distribution, you can own a cable network but you can’t own a news channel fully as foreigners, you can’t down link in India unless you have a licence. In order to have a licence, you have to have a transporter at ISRO which is India’s space research organisation. They have a division called ANTRIKSH and they don’t give you a license easily. That’s already better than China, In China, foreign channels can only be in foreign compounds. In hotels, Its very limited. Foreign channels in India are bigger. Viacom18, It’s totally Indian. It’s just the name they have localised totally they are producing Indian content.  Still foreign-owned right? No, its majority owned by Reliance, 51 percent owned by Reliance.. Still 49 per cent in a significant number. Viacom is also our partner in Taiwan. So we distribute Comedy Central, MTV etc. Through your platform? No, that one is completely separate. Kinda like the first iteration of our company is the content aggregator and distributor. We rep NBC comcast, we rep Viacom.. Blue Ant So we distribute a lot of their channels to the various operators in Taiwan. Cable operator, TV operators and mobile.. So what’s the revenue model there? So we have like around twenty channels with different media groups, we have different models…Some Like a flat fee, some Ref share and others pay us a fee to like execute to carry. So it kind of varies.  So you get a percentage of the carriage fees? That’s kind of like the MG model where there is a profit share distribution.  
  Distribution to every platform, whether it is Telco, OTT, Cable or DTH? Some is for all distribution. Some is a scope to IPTV. It kinda depends because we’ve been doing this for ten years. And the relationships came at different times. So the structure of the deals is different because the landscape was also changing at the time. So certain periods of time, like more and more recently it was impossible to get a big flat fee from any operator because the market is so saturated. So it tends to become more of a profit share. Have you been coming to MIPCOM? MipCom No but ATF couple of times because it coincides with me meeting some of our media partners because they are all based in Singapore, its the Asian headquarters. Is IPTV big? Is it like a million strong in Taiwan? It’s about two million now  Is it still relevant in the era of streaming? So the linear channel aspect is not as relevant but the SVoD offering from the IPTV, the largest Telco is very relevant because they have the bandwidth they have the reach.. The last mile… They get a lot of people to put their content to movie SVoD animation, SVoD, TV Drama SVoD and just share the revenue shares just based on the minutes watched…depending on how well an IP does. So that’s really thriving for them. So what’s the top line, 10 million or 5 million dollars for this kind of a business? For the IPTV? Its a lot more.. It seemed as though streaming would do away with IPTV.  They could also set their own OTT then why are they on IPTV unless they are putting different content. With telcos, they also have their IPTV mobile application on which they can put the same content for people to access so it’s doing quite well. For all Telco operators, they have their own app they have their own SVOD with hundreds of thousands of subscribers each. I think that’s very small numbers for India but Taiwan is 40 or 50 times smaller than India in terms of population so  that’s quite significant but ITE is the largest OTT service in Taiwan because they have very deep pockets. They have produced a lot of content in China that is their original that they can just like put onto the platform without licensing cost, and make it exclusive just on their platform kind of content. So it’s driving a lot of viewers over to ITE. So they are by far the number one OTT platform in Taiwan although there is a kind of political issue there. So the government is really thinking if we really want ITE to be the dominant OTT.   So you’re running an LGBT OTT which is interesting. How many subscribers? That is five to ten per cent of our existing number share. So like twenty thousand. In Taiwan? Yeah, we have a lot of subscribers in Taiwan. Again, it’s all very relative right? But we launch in India in June… We launch in South Asia in June in twenty one countries. So we launch in partnership with the 10th Kashish film Festival that happens in Mumbai. It’s run by my friend. We really didn’t put a lot of marketing effort aside from launching it with Kashish because we still need to do a lot of homework and let the data reflect on how we approach. I think the LGBT issue is quite a taboo  Its difficult to find a lot of very vocal advocates or influencers who can be very out in space. I think there are some that we found. We only have like a dozen people who work on this particular brand. How much do you charge? Its about  six dollars 50 pennies. All the other OTT services.. Many are free.. No they have two models. S-ward model, A-ward model, depends on what model you’re going for.. You’re going for S-ward. Second is the content I think they are so familiar with Indian Bollywood…. I get that sense I think they want more of an Indian LGBT content. The movie called Fire.  Girl with the yellow boots is also another LGBT movie There have been many LGBT movies in the past. I think Amazon did one called Made in Heaven or something like that. Balaji did one called Jamaal and Jabeel which is like the gay version of Romeo and Juliet. I don’t know what happened with Fire. I would love to bring it on and do something special about it. Do Gay films rate? Gay films rate, lesbian film rate, romantic comedy films rate but serious documentaries, in general, don’t do well… How do you see India as a market? I think it is such a new market for us in terms of how we market which we still need to figure out.. And what kind of content is relevant and interesting to the community. And also we need to have a big adjustment on the pricing.. We also need to evaluate whether that big adjustment makes sense economically.