Having realized the growing demand for Mobile-Based Entertainment services in Sri Lanka, Lahiru Wickramasinghe, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Evoke International Limited, has built a success story within the Digital Entertainment space.
Lahiru founded the company in 2008, with a simple idea of providing mobile Value-Added Services (VAS) to the Sri Lankan market. At that time, very few companies in Sri Lanka had the forward thinking and understanding of the importance of growing mobile internet penetration. Evoke, one such pioneer, definitely enjoyed the first mover advantage by taking the pioneering steps towards facilitating mobile VAS. Today, the company has diversified its product range and amassed 1.8 Million subscribers with a leading footprint in Caller Ring Back Tone services.
“Evoke is an end-to-end solutions provider for the VAS market. Through affiliations with all the five major telecommunications providers in Sri Lanka, Evoke is the only company to own content and deliver them through their own platforms to businesses and users alike,” Lahiru remarked.
Evoke acts as a platform developer and a content aggregator for various movie and music apps offered by leading mobile telecommunication providers. Your favourite app to download or listen to Sinhala or Tamil songs, could be a platform either developed by Evoke or a platform to which Evoke is the content partner. Evoke also caters for mobile and web based VAS platforms that facilitate Media services, quiz competitions and gaming services. Elaborating on the organization’s product diversification, Lahiru stated, “As of now, we have 30 plus products in the market. We have a dynamic team and we introduce new products when we foresee changes in market trends.”
Evoke is also the exclusive digital distribution partner for Hungama, which is one of South Asia’s largest Digital media platforms and content aggregators. Evoke has a prestigious eight year long relationship with Hungama. Hungama has a content library consisting of over 15 Million Bollywood and international content consisting of latest songs, music videos, games, and movies.
Evoke’s YouTube channel ‘Evoke Music’ occupies the top position among YouTube channels in the Music category. The channel has over 470,000 subscribers and some of the most popular songs from the top artists in the island.
Evoke’s diversified portfolio of products and services coupled with its exclusive content portfolio, adds further value. It has access to international content, movies, teledramas, songs, and music videos, and is one of the largest catalogue owners for Sinhala language content. “Simply, we have something for everyone while having our own platforms to cater to our customers,” Lahiru added.
Unlike many tech startups who vanish after a few years, Evoke is a success story, which has transitioned into a profitable venture. The company generates over LKR 200 Million of revenues and has maintained healthy net profit margins.
Evoke is further looking to stretch its boundaries by expanding into Bangladesh and the Middle East. The Company is in the process of duplicating one of its local celebrity platforms in Bangladesh which has a large celebrity fan following with a little over 60% of the population (96 Million) having internet access (source: internetworldstats). Evoke also plans to expand its footprint to the Middle East where a large number of Sri Lankan expatriate workers are longing to connect with their home country and its musical and cultural content.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world that is likely to have lasting effects. As a consequence, the present situation has positively impacted Evoke, even though there’s a negative impact on many businesses around the world. Speaking about the same, the CEO revealed, “Since everyone has limited mobility and mostly limited to the confines of their home, the only entertainment platform becomes their mobile devices. As our services are designed to provide the user with all kinds of entertainment through their mobile phones and laptops, we experienced a large growth and consumption of our products and content.
“We are more than ready and prepared!” exclaimed Lahiru when asked about the organization’s readiness to adapt to the future of entertainment. “With our upcoming products, we are excited to enter new markets by providing entertainment to all who use our products and services. And, partnering with all the telecommunication operators in Sri Lanka makes our services accessible through any mobile device.”