Nisha Qureshi

Decoding Rusk Media's five-year evolution: Short-form content and Gen Z focus

  • Initially focusing on advertiser embedded content and YouTube, Rusk Media diversified into gaming and content distribution, driving revenue through collaborations with OTT platforms and advertising partnerships.

  • With a strategic focus on audiences below 25, it is aiming to directly engage this demographic through its content, gaming entertainment verticals etc. 

  • The company aims to expand beyond Hindi-speaking markets, and is eyeing investment in regional IPs, and target ambitious revenue growth. 

Five years ago, amidst a bustling digital entertainment landscape dominated by long-format content on YouTube, three IITians – Mayank Yadav, Shantanu Singh, and Karanvir Sofat – identified a noticeable gap. They observed a distinct absence of content tailored to cater specifically to the Gen Z demographic.

Recognising the unique demands of a younger audience, consistently immersed in mobile usage, the platform shifted its focus. It actively engaged in the creation of short, compelling content through its YouTube channel, 'Alright.' This channel specialises in producing lighthearted comedy sketches tailored to the preferences of the target demographic.

In an elaborate chat, Rahul Arora, national sales head at Rusk Media, decodes the platform's five year journey and growth. He says while they started off with making advertiser embedded content, they have evolved and have segregated business into multiple verticals like gaming and content distribution.

“Our largest business is fiction content, we started off there by doing advertiser embedded content. We have a strong suite there along with a strong social presence, YouTube channel (Alright) that has millions subscribers and of billions of views. Slowly and steadily we build our credibility and viewership. We also expanded our calibre and started making content for large OTT platforms like AmazonMiniTv and Disney+Hotstar.”

Arora highlights that a substantial portion of their revenue, around 30-35%, is generated through collaborations with major Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms, while 50-60% is derived from advertising partnerships. He reveals that Rusk Media achieves an impressive viewership of 20-25 million per week and reaches over a billion viewers monthly. This considerable reach is predominantly attributed to the popularity of its fictional content.

“Shorter content and its distribution is the flavour of the season. You don’t need to watch a five minute trailer today, a reel will tell you what it's all about. Short format is designed to be like that and then if you like it, you can go ahead and watch the larger content.”

He emphasises their strategic focus on developing content that possesses adaptability and resonance across diverse platforms and verticals.

Catering to the Gen Z

According to Arora, the optimal avenue for business growth in the contemporary landscape lies in catering to audiences below 25 years of age. He asserts that brands are currently directing their efforts towards either selling directly to Gen Z or positioning themselves to indirectly target this demographic.

“A 15-16 year old today takes shots on what electronics the household will purchase. A 22 year old is purchasing cars today. Even though Unilever is traditionally perceived as a brand that talks to women, today even they want to target Gen Z.”

He notes that despite the ongoing trends, there is a notable absence of significant Intellectual Properties (IPs) specifically tailored to cater to this demographic.

“Roadies was supposed to do that in the non fiction space. Today even Roadies doesn’t talk to a 19 year old. Cricket even though it cuts across demographics, the percentage contribution of 25 and below is way less than what it used to be. We want to be able to do that,” adds Arora.

In response to the demand, Rusk Media is strategically expanding its focus beyond content creation. In 2022, the company took a significant step by launching a gaming reality show featuring notable Indian online gaming and esports personalities such as CarryMinati, Scout, and Mortal.

Arora asserts that Rusk Media pioneered the category of 'Gaming Entertainment,' marking it as one of its largest investments as a start-up.

He says the show has garnered associations from brands across categories. “Season one had brands like KFC and ITC. Season two brands like IQOO and Coca-Cola, which did their first ever gaming integration in India with us.”

Looking ahead, the company has aspirations to expand its audience outreach beyond Hindi-speaking markets. The company is actively preparing to dub some of its shows and is making strategic investments in regional IPs.


According to Arora, companies like Pocket Aces may be doing commendable work, but Rusk Media's distinctive strengths lie in effectively connecting with the younger demographic. “Pocket Aces is doing some great work however we have defined our cohorts where we work. Pocket Aces makes content for 30-35 year olds. We don’t do that. We have clearly said we cater primarily to the Gen Z, mobile first audience. We back this with data. There is enough space for everyone to exist, we want to know as someone who really knows how to entertain the younger audience,” claims Arora.


Rusk Media, established in 2019, reported an overall revenue of Rs. 16 crores by 2022. Arora outlines ambitious plans, stating that they aim to close the current year with a substantial increase, targeting Rs. 60 crores in revenue. “The idea is to grow 80-100% year-on-year and we have been successful since the very beginning. We are consciously picking up projects and clients and investments towards those goals.”

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