TIMES INTERNET GETS BACK INTO OTT RACE WITH MX PLAYER

Karan Bedi, CEO, MX Player talks about the one big asset which differentiates MX player from competitors like Hotstar, Amazon Prime and Netflix

09 Jul, 2018 by NEETA NAIR

Q] So what happens to the basic MX player in August, will it be an altogether new avatar for the app?
We are keeping the change in branding to the bare minimum, will retain the name of course. Just how there are updates in every app from time to time, the update in August will have the addition of the streaming platform as well in India. It was an eight months long process from start to finish. October is when the deal got finalized. We have been working hard and wanted to have our ducks in a row before starting to talk about it. Now we are ready.

Q] In the sea of OTT platforms in the market, what new offering would MX Player have for the advertisers?
It has to be scale. Some players have launched their own OTT platforms but haven’t got the kind of scale we have. Typically these are all in the single digit millions, or may be early double digit millions and a little more for the bigger apps but nothing is close to even half of what MX player has. So we have 175 million monthly active users. So, that opens up a big opportunity even for advertisers. Such a scale exists on TV right now but not on Digital.

Q] You are going to have a Freemium model, so the stress would be on revenue from ads, what is the strategy?
To give you an example, today on TV an advertiser can say, ‘I want to be a presenting sponsor of KBC’. So the advertiser would become a presenting sponsor, be a part of the logo of the show, have content integrations with a certain amount of inventory packaged along with that. That is exactly what we can offer advertisers on MX player now in addition to the pre rolls and usual programmatic advertising which is the norm for online videos. Platform, content and inventory are all in one place. Another big differentiator will be the fact that we are specially catering to the digital first, millennial, young audience that is dissatisfied with a lot of content that is available to them. We have got this massive audience who are relevant to brands and advertisers; and we have got content that is relevant to users, along with scale. So, it’s a good marriage.

Q] Will you also focus on regional language content?
Yes, absolutely. So, our focus is on Hindi and on regional languages both. We are looking at content in Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Punjabi and Bhojpuri as the growth will come from regional languages. In India, entertainment in general has always been very focused on Hindi and regional and so is the advertiser.

Q] Who is your closest competitor and how soon do you see MX Player going beyond its existing user base to cannibalize on other OTT players’ share
Closest competitors will be Hotstar, Voot and Zee. But there is a very clear differentiator in terms of size, scale and ambition. We are going to be talking to world about the content we are offering. And we hope that many will come, not just those who are on our platform, but anyone who wants to watch content relevant to them. Some of them will come from competitors, some of them will be people who don’t necessarily currently subscribe to or watch any of the other competitors. Some will come from being pure offline watchers to online watchers. So, I think there will be a whole gamut of different user bases that will come to us. We have got coverage in urban, non-urban, north, south, east, west, it’s sort of fairly universal. Across the world there is a shift happening, advertising dollars are moving from TV to Digital.

Feedback: neeta.nair@exchange4media.com Category: Spotlight Volume No: 15 Issue No: 5

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