OTT platforms depend on two types of content Original and Acquisitions. In the early days OTT solely depended on acquired shows but in the recent past a slew of original content is being produced, but in most OTT platforms acquired content makes up the bulk of the content offering or catch up TV. There are varied acquisitions, broadcast partnerships, cross-platform partnerships and content partnerships. Investments into these partnerships is an ongoing process as content has to be refreshed on a month-on-month basis.
The annual ‘State of Mobile 2020’ report released by App Annie states that mobile has consistently emerged the go to entertainment device for consumption of video streaming content. The report found that globally, consumers spent 50 percent more sessions in Entertainment apps in 2019 than in 2017. India has been leading this growth with 80 percent more time spent on entertainment apps compared to 2017 (on Android phones).
MX Player has emerged as the #1 entertainment app in India, according to the annual FICCI Report on India’s Media and Entertainment Sector titled ‘The Era of Consumer A.R.T’. The ranking is based on apps classified under entertainment categories on iOS and Google Play. The entertainment streaming app that launched in February 2019, has dominated the market in terms of Monthly Active Users, followed by Hotstar, Tik Tok, BookMyShow, Jio TV, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, SonyLiv, Airtel TV, and Voot.
Understanding the growing needs and preferences of viewers, MX Player, expanding on their everytainment brand promise, is building a catalog of dubbed foreign content from across the globe along with offering a plethora of original content. Their programming includes an eclectic mix of films, web series and TV shows including Spanish & Latin American, Turkish, Korean and Pakistani libraries all available to binge-watch for free.
Maintaining its position and reputation as the #1 breakout video streaming app based on the App Annie report, MX Player is home to Hindi-dubbed Hollywood blockbusters like ‘London Has Fallen’ and ‘The Expendables 1, 2 & 3’, International TV shows like ‘Our Story’ (Turkish) and ‘Brave and Beautiful’. Among their latest acquisitions in international content is ‘Shannara Chronicles’ along with ‘Rich Man’ and ‘King’s Love’.
At MX Player, Mansi has amassed a library of licensed content of over 1,00,000 hours of entertainment from leading content creators like TVF, Alt Balaji, Arre, Sony amongst others. Her vision is to build a repository of entertainment choices for the digital first viewer that caters to every mood. She spoke to MediaNews4U on the acquisition strategies and much more.
Market for acquired content
It is massive and the consumption would be upwards of 70% for acquired content that has been viewed. Also, that is a function of the fact that it always takes time to develop original content. It’s a longer process. As far as acquisition is concerned, it is a long tail, you can acquire catalog mentions and TV content that is ready and available. So on MX Player, the consumption is very massive, as I have mentioned an upwards of 70-80% in regards to consumption.
On acquired content, I really cannot comment on others actually, because everyone is looking at a different strategy. For example, some of the bigger players have their own GEC stables where they are not really acquiring content, but acquiring content from their broadcast pipeline, which is catch-up TV. For us our entire focus is basically on acquisition as we do not have a GEC platform and it plays a major role for us. We are also not owned, we don’t have our own in house studios, per se. Sony would have Sony LIV or other partners may have other sorts of studios that are part of the group companies, for us, our content is a pretty important pipeline as far as acquisition.
Originals are very much available. Even the originals are dubbed, so for our newest originals which are ’Samantar’ or ‘Queen’, we are dubbing them in multiple languages. Now we have acquired ‘Hello Mini’ which is an MX exclusive show, then there is ‘Bhaukaal’ which is also exclusive. While the main language for our original content has always been Hindi and dubbing them in other languages.
The overall content, in fact, dub is the only way forward for us. We really believe that dubbing is what is opening doors as far as viewers are concerned. We have dubbed content from Korean, Chinese, Ukrainian, Spanish and Latin American content. We have not yet explored Russian but I am looking to see if there is any possibility there. But all of this content is being dubbed in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. We do believe that our audience wants to watch dubbed content as opposed to subtitled content.
Once we see a little more traction in these languages, we will eventually look at other languages as well, we will look at Bengali and Marathi first. But for us, these three i.e. Hindi, Tamil and Telugu cover a significant component of our viewers, so we are starting there.
The library content actually is free, we have got 80,000 upwards of content which would, typically fall under library content. The year ahead, we are really excited about a lot of shows that are coming up across the regional as well as the dubbed spaces. We are looking at a huge category of web shows, as well other kinds of Hollywood shows that we are trying to dub in Indian languages. The year ahead for MX is also going to mean in terms of trying out different genres, we started off with Turkish and then Korean.
The next big one for us is Spanish and Chinese. We’re excited about getting new stories, new shows with different kinds of production qualities in local languages. In addition to that, regional is also big for us. We have aired Punjabi to Marathi to Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, and a couple of Hindi ones as well.
We have a total of about 120 shows that are coming up for MX, in the year ahead so we’re pretty excited about.
I see massive traction and I am assuming it is the same for all platforms. But MX is free and I think the consumption on it over the last two weeks, has seen a huge spike almost 40% rise in the DA use, we have seen almost seven times the consumption that we would otherwise see, which is expected as I said, but it is, of course, a time where entertainment is one of the easy options to engage with and MX being available to tier 1, 2 and 3, and it is available absolutely free. We are seeing the advantage of this lockdown and it’s good to see the viewership in this robust number.
Films have been an integral part of the Indian content consumption pattern. Curating global content in languages and expressions they understand has always been MX Player’s vision and forte. Staying committed to our consumers, we are proud to have partnered with international studios like Paramount and Sony Pictures. This is the first time in India, that leading Hollywood studios have collaborated on an AVOD partnership.
Going forward for us, the number of shows that we do in the regional and dub space is important to us we also want to expand with movies, we are launching a significant partnership with Paramount, our first offering would be Transformers and it will be available in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu for the first time on a free platform.
We’re excited about that, there’s a lot of Hollywood content now, and we also want to focus on bringing it in the local languages. Other than that, we also have plans of expansion in terms of other categories like games and we would be adding more Live TV. Few other Hollywood lead partnerships are in the pipeline, later we will also look at English at some point.
Streaming on Live TV
Yes you can and it is already there and I believe there are other partnerships that are in the pipeline. Presently available only on Samsung TV, it is available on Fire stick and Google Chrome. I believe one or two partnerships like other brands might be in the pipeline. It’s just that 98% of our consumption however is happening on the mobile. Actually we also, have seen many viewers in Tire 1 on the mobile as people are on the go and working through the day etc.