The pandemic and the ensuing lockdown led to an increase in the consumption of online content. At this time Tata Sky Binge+ is a Set-Top Box got launched on December 16th, 2020, enabled subscribers to watch both live TV and OTT content (when connected to the internet) on one device, without switching between multiple HDMI ports. OTT content that the user can watch on this Set Top Box includes VOD, 7 days catch-up shows from Tata Sky, and content from 10 premium apps. This offering provides the best of both worlds on one Set-Top Box.
Keeping up with the increasing pace of content consumption requirements, Tata Sky has expanded the Binge universe to now include a Binge Mobile App, to take the aggregated content offering to the smaller screen for on-the-go and more individual experience of the younger audience. Tata Sky Binge is a streaming platform that offers a complete entertainment package, aggregating content from India’s premium OTT apps including Disney+ Hotstar Premium, ZEE5, Hungama Play, Eros Now, ShemarooMe, Voot Select, Voot Kids, SonyLIV, and CuriosityStream.
This makes the Tata Sky Binge service accessible on multiple screens through – Amazon FireTV Stick – Tata Sky Edition, Tata Sky Binge+ Android STB, and now the Binge Mobile App. Aligned with Tata Sky’s new Brand Purpose of ‘making tomorrow better than today,’ the new launch aims to add more value and offer a holistic experience to subscribers’ entertainment viewing moments.
Medianews4U spoke to Pallavi Puri, Chief Commercial & Content Officer, Tata Sky exclusively on this new launch, Binge’s contribution to ARPU, and much more…
What made you launch a new set-top box ‘Binge+’ last year and now you have expanded it to the ‘Binge Mobile App’?
The launch of the Tata Sky Binge Mobile app is in sync with our endeavour towards making our products available to a larger stratum of the audience. After Binge Fire TV Stick – Tata Sky edition and Binge+ Smart Set-top box, Binge mobile app was always the next step for us. When we launched Binge Fire TV Stick, the Indian masses were just warming up to the concept of OTT content. Therefore, bundling up OTT content and providing it as an add-on service that complemented your DTH connection made for a great proposition for discerning viewers.
The next step was the Android-enabled Smart STB – Tata Sky Binge+ that brings linear television as well as video streaming apps – all in one box, one interface, and with one remote. It was envisioned to give viewers the best of both worlds, and not give up one for the other. The subsequent step was to broad base the offering through a mobile app, and makes it available to a wider audience segment, enabling them to watch their choice of content individually on their mobile phones.
With most consumers now on Smart TV and OTT services uploaded, was it the right time for launching Binge?
We believe we are on the right track in terms of assessing the pulse of our subscribers and were one of the early movers to launch bundled OTT subscriptions. The timing for the launch of the Binge mobile app is as per our intended plan that has shaped up gradually. Over the last year, we heard our customers that they want an on-the-move experience of Binge. Hence, it was a natural extension to launch Binge on mobile as well.
We know that a lot of the OTT content consumption is happening on mobile. The beauty of our offering is that you not only get the best of OTT apps on a single platform with a single log-in and single subscription but also a rich unified interface that gives access to all content from the top OTT apps – with search, personalized recommendations and a user – friendly experience.
What has been the response to Binge, as OTT is seeing a surge in the past 11/2 years thanks to the pandemic and lockdown?
Binge overall (Fire TV Stick and Binge+ combined) has seen very healthy growth in subscriptions since its launch. The response has been very encouraging as more and more subscribers are opting for a hybrid viewing model going by its benefits, ease of content consumption, affordability, and single subscription & single payment module. While the metros remain important for the Binge+ Set-top box, we have seen some sales from smaller towns as well. Towns with a population of below five lakhs have also shown interest in this product. Due to the lockdown, people are getting an internet connection at home which opens up the ability to connect to other devices also. Binge is finding an audience beyond metros and top cities.
How is Binge contributing to ARPU?
We believe that our customers are interested in watching both OTT and Live TV. We expect their Binge subscriptions to be over and above the TV packages. This will contribute incrementally to overall ARPU. Our experience with the large screen Binge offering suggests this.
How has Binge partnered with the OTT players and is the Binge monthly subscription cheaper than the individual OTT platforms?
We are glad to have joined hands with some of the best OTT players in the industry for our Binge service. The partners and we are well in sync in terms of how we want to support each other. The expectation is always to help them get more eyeballs for their offerings and in the process strengthen our content portfolio for our subscribers. It is a win-win proposition for both. For the OTT partners, this is additional revenue beyond what they are raking.
Tata Sky Binge app is available for subscribers at two attractive plans to choose from – Rs 149 mobile-only plan which gives access to Binge services on 3 mobile screens with content from 7 premium OTT apps and Tata Sky Binge 299 plan wherein they will be able to access content from 10 OTT apps on 1 TV screen (through Amazon Fire TV Stick – Tata Sky Edition or Binge+ STB) and 3 mobile screens.
The way we see it, we are simply offering more options to the viewers to pick from – from a choice of content to its affordability.
Are you planning to add more OTT platforms including the regional players in the Binge bundle?
We are constantly evolving and upgrading our content offering for our subscribers and have almost all the leading OTT players on board. We will keep adding to the list to give our viewers the best of entertainment that they deserve.