MX Player has had a very eventful year with the launching of 2 Seasons of its Mega show Ashram and has carved a niche for itself. There is a plethora of free content, gaming and music options for subscribers.
MX Player also resorted to very interesting and innovative marketing strategies when it came to launching their big-ticket show Ashram with roadblocks.
In an exclusive chat, Viraj Jit Singh – Head Revenue, MX Player, talks about the growth the platform has seen during this lockdown and a structured strategy to drive monetization.
During this lockdown we have/are seeing a huge surge in the engagement on the OTT platform, how has MX Player’s growth trajectory been?
MX Player’s growth trajectory has been robust. If you look at third-party data, both App Annie and ComScores how MX Player as the number #1 entertainment platform, above all the other OTTs. One big reason for this is the fact that we offer high-quality programming, at no cost to our consumers. If you look at our timeline drop of MX Originals and MX Exclusives which are digital-first content, not available anywhere else – you will see that we have launched a show almost every 7-10 days and we continue to do the same, which has actually led to a much larger consumption pattern. In addition to this over the last 18 months, we have continued to build on our entertainment services like music streaming and add others like hyper-casual games and short videos to the Main MX Player app. This gave our users more reasons to engage with our platform and make it their preferred choice for all things entertainment.
Roadblock – an innovation adapted by GEC players what made MX Player do that?
The platform masthead roadblock is a premium real estate package offered to brands on a reserved buy with a 100% share of voice for 24hrs. With a daily reach of 20mn+ unique users, this offering helps brands build scale, impact and high visibility in their campaigns.
Paytm Games is a recent successfully partnership, they wanted to create large impact about their cricket fantasy game offering as well as create an impact in terms of having installed the setup. In a period of 10 days, the brand successfully reached close to 85 million unique users on MX Player through the Platform Roadblock Handset brands use them for their launches, e-commerce to promote their sales, entertainment clients to build buzz/ intrigue for their new shows and FMCG clients use it as it’s cost-effective with scale to use multiple creatives in different markets as well as the reach. And, in the same way with a lot of different brands – we have been able to push a lot of different KPI’s.
Can you share your DMP and scale of data?
MX Player caters to 200 million monthly active users. Through our DMP, we are able to collect different data points with the permission of the user. It is used to optimize content offerings to each user so that it is customized and relevant for them. This data also helps us serve better targeted and more relevant ads to our users, thereby increasing engagement and reducing intrusiveness. In addition to this, we have multiple other data enrichment partners including Columbia (Times Internet) which is a TIL data platform, Zapr, Zeotap and Affle among others.
Any plans in the future to go the Subscription Model way?
As an AVOD platform, we have been very successful thus far – not only in attracting viewers but also in bringing advertisers to engage with our brand. For the immediate future, we will be continuing with the same model.
How are you leveraging your short video app MX Takatak and the approach for influencer marketing?
MK Takatak is both a full service independent short format Video App & also an integrated service on the main MX Player entertainment app. This has helped us grow our user base faster as there is a lot of cross sampling across both platforms.
A short-format video app is as good as its tech and the content on it. We are Tech-First and user-focused, hence our UI, UX has been made to have a great user experience through their digital journey with us and has been at the core of our service offering. In addition to this, we signed up with more than 600 top Influencers to create content on both, the short form and long-form platform. We just launched MX TakaTak Fame House, which is a digital-first initiative for a short video format app that brought different influencers under one roof to give them an opportunity of a lifetime – collaborate, create, and go viral! This was then made into a full-fledged web series that has gone live on MX Player, enabling many to live their dream of making it big in entertainment by featuring in a web series that is streaming on a leading platform as well as saw their followers grow immensely on the app.
Monetization is a big focus area for 2021 and we are building a robust plan for the same. We have currently restricted it to a few brands like Amazon Prime Video, Angel Broking, Flying Machine, Infinix, Instagram, Smule, Amazon Shopping, Dubai Tourism and Sherkhan amongst others.
During this lockdown how have you structured your monetization?
We have been a 100% AVOD platform since we launched the app, which means users get to watch content free and our revenue model is therefore Ad Led. MX’s strength lies in its content, tech, scales of userbase and service. Our vast range of offerings is what is powering our ad led monetization journey.
What differentiates us significantly is the ability to monetize on Premium content and offer a bouquet of innovative offerings across our entertainment super app format. A few key factors helped us anchor differentiation in discussions with our brand partners that included Scale, Multi-Service Offering and opportunity to leverage our original content.
Unlike other most platforms, our premium original content is free to consume and therefore brands can leverage that for brand integration, sponsorships and even reach & frequency inventory buys. Being a multi-entertainment app, we are able to offer very innovative packages which have worked really well for us for this festive season, one of them being the entertainment package. The Festive season “Everytainment package” actually offered the brand an opportunity to engage with a user through his or her entertainment journey for that campaign period. So for example what we offer there is engagement on all our services, the media player, OTT, audio, gaming, TakaTak all combined in one package and this offering obviously sort of covers basic brand metrics that most campaigns have like performance, reach and frequency, engagement and impact.
In addition to this we offered our platform as a distribution pipe to brands that leverage it to host their own content and even live stream special events like launches, fashion shows, etc.
Is Brand placements the future for OTT and do you think it is more effective on this platform?
Content marketing is a strong offering from the MX Player stable and has been an integral part of the way brands are looking at engaging with our users, it’s far more immersive.
Our success lies in the fact that our MX Original content is based on catering to the 18-34-year-old, who ideally does not have engaging content to watch on television platforms. Television is largely consumed together in the household, you’ve got 4 people, the elderly female in the house has hold over the remote and therefore, large part of content across all GECs is soap related, which does not cater to 18-24 year old. This is the strategy gap that we were able to fulfil and that’s why we’ve seen an upside and that’s what we are going to keep fulfilling.
We produce, co-produce and exclusively license a large number of digital-first/only shows and have set up a specialist team to create opportunities that brands can leverage on our content. A recent success is our partnership with Smule on Times of Music, a show that recently won the Grand Final at an all Asia level as well as at a National level in the coveted Asian Academy Creative Awards and The Best Unscripted Non-Fiction Original at the Flyx Filmfare OTT Awards. In addition we are now working with many brands to co-produce exclusive shows that are aligned to their brand proposition and also in sync with want our user’s desire.