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Samuh is a video streaming app where you can watch Bhutanese movies, drama series, kids shows and music videos online. (www.samuhbhutan.com)
Nyema Zangmo first thought about starting a Bhutanese content streaming service when she was in Australia. She felt it would be a good initiative to get Bhutanese content online and thought it would make business sense too. It is why, when she resumed her work at BBS in Bhutan, she planned to create the platform as part of BBS. Some time later, however, she realized the project would be much better as a stand-alone platform. It’s been over 2 years since she made this decision and that’s exactly how long Samuh has been in the works.
In that time, she worked on the details and logistics of the project and in October of 2019, when she figured out how to finance the project, it started materializing into a tangible form,
“Starting in March of 2021, Samuh started calling for and working with local producers to create content. Samuh’s marketing strategy is simple: Content is king and for its production, collaboration is the key,” stated Nyema, continuing, “It is why we are confident that we will be successful even if other OTT (over-the-top) platforms come into the market. No one else will have our content.”
What makes Nyema’s Samuh a success story in relation to the pandemic is how it has managed to create employment for artists, such that there are actually more jobs in the production industry than before the pandemic,
“Before Samuh, Bhutanese artists could monetize through a limited number of ways. They could use their fame to gain sponsorships or they could eventually make movies and sell tickets. Samuh gives a whole new platform for Bhutanese artists to pursue their dreams,” shared Nyema.
Artistic professions are finally becoming viable in Bhutan and Samuh’s model has played a big role in making that possible.
Samuh receives at least 1 proposal a day, of which more than half are rejected. But it doesn’t mean they’re difficult to please. They’ve already worked with 45 production houses and over 600 people. They want to work with as many talented Bhutanese as they can and groom the creative minds of the country. They want to get to a point where they reject more proposals, because it means there are more submissions.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Samuh has almost single handedly started the renaissance of Bhutanese artistic professions. To have done so while the world battles a pandemic requires a business acumen and work ethic that not many have. Nyema is someone with both.
Article contributed by JICA for the UN/JICA We Care We Share Initiative