YuppTV Founder Uday Reddy’s difficult journey of OTT leader and philanthropy

For someone with a telecommunication background, it does seem like an apt use of experience.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Thursday, September 22, 2022, 04:39 PM IST
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YuppTV Founder Uday Reddy had foreseen the rise of OTT platforms back in 2006. What began as a solution of entertainment for Indians settled abroad, Reddy envisioned an Internet-only TV that would stream Indian content worldwide. For someone with a telecommunication background, it does seem like an apt use of experience. However, Reddy’s journey was riddled with challenges.

An engineer from a farming family

Hailing from a small village Veenavanka near Hanamkonda town in Telangana, India, Reddy grew up in an agricultural family. As a young boy, he dreamed of solving the day-to-day problems of farming communities. So while studying at Government Junior College in Hanamkonda, Reddy dreamed of joining the civil services, as a logical course of his career plan. The next step in his plan was to study engineering so he joined the Delhi College of Engineering, pursuing Electronics and Telecommunication. During campus placement, he cracked Siemens interview. Since then, there has been no looking back.

“Siemens was like a dream come true because the company is the most sought-after Digital Telecom Services company for any candidate. I decided to work for a year and come back to my goal of civil services. But then, I became more and more fascinated with telecom technology and it became harder to leave the industry,” Reddy recalls. He remained in Siemens for another two years before joining Nortel in 1995.

Building an entertainment solution for Indian expats

In the next 11 years, Reddy got an opportunity to travel to 50 countries working in Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia.

“As Director of Sales for Nortel, I got to know how the Serbian and Latin American markets work. This was the best time of my learning,” he says.

During this time Reddy starkly realized the dearth of Indian news and TV content for Indian expats living abroad. Starting an office from his basement for YuppTV, Reddy was ahead of his times. When he founded YuppTV USA Inc. back in 2006, the idea was fairly new even as per the US standards. YuppTV.com gave the Indian expats access to entertainment and information anytime anywhere in the world with just two channels. However, Reddy eventually expanded Live TV adding 300 channels in different Indian languages in 180 countries worldwide.

“I used up my savings for YuppTV initially because at the time I was just focused on my kaing live television viewing available via the internet. Another problem that I saw was why viewers had to take some time aside every day to watch their favorite TV shows, why they couldn’t watch those shows later. This also became one of the major solutions on YuppTV,” he shares.

Hurdles along the way

Reddy’s company had begun to do well but he had to constantly fight against one large corporation who had monopolized the market. As a result, Reddy and his team struggled to retain customers while they had run out of capital.

“In 2010, I sold off a plot of land and took loans from my friends to keep the ship going. However, my team and I did the best we could from this money, modified our strategy and began building a larger customer base while attracting the Indian diaspora living abroad,” he informs.

Headquartered in Atlanta and Hyderabad, today YuppTV is one of the world's largest OTT players for streaming South Asian content and a pioneer in Internet TV. It reaches more than 400 million households across the world with more than 8 million app downloads.

Coming back to his roots

YuppTV’s success has not deterred Reddy from pursuing his childhood dream of helping the farming community of Telangana. He created a mission called Modern Village Vision - 2020 that began its work in Veenavanka village in Telangana. The project aims at introducing technology in the villages to create awareness about health care and education. Reddy had envisioned a time when his village along with other rural areas will use technology to access healthcare, a dream that has come true with the use of telemedicine in these areas.

His inspiration for his philanthropy comes from his late grandfather Sudhakar Reddy who was also an agriculturist and philanthropist. “I was blessed to have seen my grandfather helping his community enthusiastically. I had to follow in his footsteps,” says Reddy.

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