By: Yohan P Chawla
Mumbai : MX Player, which claims to have 70 million active daily users in India alone, made the much awaited TVF series Trippling’s Season 2 available on its streaming platform. No problem with that, unless, of course, you didn’t have the rights to do that. Because that is what seems to have happened. What definitely must have happened, too, would have been a big dent in the number of users and watch minutes official rights holder Sony LIV would have been expecting of the popular series.
But let’s start at the beginning.
On Friday, the 5th of April 2019, while browsing through the web shows category on MX Player, I saw on top of the fold, in the ‘primest’ spot on the mobile app,that the second season of TVF’s Trippling staring Sumeet Vyas, Maanvi Gagroo and Amol Parashar, was available for streaming.
Trippling season 2 being available on MX Player surprised me, because I had been waiting for it on Sony Pictures Network’s OTT platform Sony LIV, which was where it was supposed to have been available apart from TVF’s own OTT platform, TVF Play. Since I hada little time at hand, I quickly impulse-clicked on the show icon, and started viewing Episode 1 of the new season on MX Player. I had already watched the first season when it had released about 3 years ago in 2016.
I experienced three compulsory ad breaks, which was understandable and very acceptable because MX Player is currently on an AVOD model. After that, I got busy and so paused the show and exited the MX Player app.
On 7th April, 2019, when I opened MX player to resume watching Episode 1 of Trippling Season 2 from where I had left it, I was surprised by the message: “Oops content is unavailable“. (Check the screengrab). The show had been pulled off MX Player. Oops.
But wait. It doesn’t end there. Even this morning, the 9th of April, the MX Player app on my mobile phone, on its first screen to me – the top story, above the fold – invites me to ‘Continue watching’ Trippling Season 2. Check the screen grab attached.
I reached out to all three OTT platforms for a comment but none of them chose to respond till the time of publishing this story.
A couple of things to ponder upon: First, why was the show even available on MX Player in the first place, since it had been announced only for TVF Play and Sony LIV (not even for YouTube) – an announcement MediaNews4U had covered: TVF Trippling announcement on TVF Play and Sony LIV
Second, there likely would have been a contract between the content creator TVF and OTT platform MX Player for Trippling Season 2, because knowing how the OTT industry works, it is understood that MX Player had access to the episode masters of the series which had obviously been uploaded to their servers, from where MX Player had streamed Episode 1 of Season 2 of Trippling onto my mobile phone. It couldn’t have been a technical glitch, because a technical glitch doesn’t give one access to an episode master of a new, un-streamed/aired episode.
All we do know for sure is that MX Player put up and made available for streaming, a new series, and then, abruptly pulled it off, leaving the audience with just an ‘oops’ message.
What really happened – why the series was made available for streaming, how long before the 5th of April when I watched the first episode, and for how long before the time on the 7th of April when I received the Opps, content not available message, the content was on MX Player… also, how much of a loss this availability to a 70million DAU audience on a platform that shouldn’t have had the season available, represents to Sony LIV… these are things we wouldn’t know, unless MX Player and TVF respond to our query.
But it was definitely a big loss of eyeballs for Sony LIV, the streaming rights holder to the series. We also don’t know if Sony LIV has reached out to MX Player to make amends.
Just wondering whether a continuous second-by-second monitoring of exclusive content you own the rights to, on whether it happens to also be available on any rival OTT platform or online video service, will now get on to auto-pilot industry-wide.
We shall update this story when we hear from the parties involved.