nexGTv COO Abhesh Verma is making headlines with his expansion strategy. The Gurgaon-based COO is already going international in 140 countries with nexGTV, Digivive’s flagship mobile TV app., targeting the expat Indian community. The award-winning app, with 24 million downloads, has 150 channels with content from different production houses like Rajshri Entertainment, One Network Entertainment and 9X Media (for which it has secured worldwide rights).
Here are some excerpts from an interview with Abhesh Verma, COO, nexGTv.
Tell us more about the global plans for nexGTV.
As a subscription-led platform operating on a freemium model, we’ve opened our subscriber billings via Google wallet, which currently operates in 141 countries, including India. Most of the content on nexGTv will now also be available for subscription by our global audiences, including people of Indian origin, most of whom enjoy Indian entertainment and news.
Having earned our spurs in the Indian market as a Mobile TV/ Live TV pioneer, we possess several insights about consumers, content and platforms that will help propel our growth in the global market as a leading aggregator, creator and publisher of original premium content. Our endeavour is to deliver the very best product and streaming experience to our audiences around the world.
We will naturally have a stronger appeal in geographies that already have a sizable Indian or South Asian population, who have been missing choice as well as Live TV. This includes countries such as UK, USA, Australia, Canada etc., and explains our initial focus on aggregating global content in Hindi, English and Tamil languages as we’ve found these to have the strongest resonance with audiences.
How many viewers are you expecting with your new expansion strategy?
We currently receive close to a million subscribers on nexGTv every month. We are extremely confident that our offerings – both current and proposed shall resonate very well with our global audiences, including our very first original series and India’s first mobi-series- ‘It’s My City’, starring Priyanka Chopra. We expect a healthy upwards of 20% month-on-month growth rate owing to our expansion.
Tell us about your content strategy. What kind of content are you looking at?
Our content strategy has always been consumer-oriented, regardless of us being an aggregator earlier or now, when we’re creating and publishing original and premium content. Being a digital business, the strategy has also been quite dynamic.
As a first step, we are securing global rights to all the content we presently have on nexGTv – close to 20,000 hours of programming across Live TV, movies, and VOD in more than 10 different languages. About 12,000 hours of that or roughly 60% is already available for our global audiences. Going forward, we will be monitoring the content consumption to gauge consumer response and use it as inputs in our subsequent phase of content acquisition -- both local content for global audiences and global for local ones, in order to create a premium, relevant content library comprising comprehensive bouquets in genres such as devotional, fitness, comedy, kids, infotainment, entertainment, news, movies and music.
What kind of budget have you allotted for content acquisition?
Content acquisition is 24x7 work and without going into specifics on how much would we finally spend, we have nevertheless provisioned for acquiring relevant content worth a few million.
What’s your take on the competition on OTT platform, which has been bustling with activity since the launch of Netflix?
The action in the category has just begun and is slowly maturing. This will mean that the Indian consumer will begin to understand and acknowledge the need to pay for quality content online regardless of whether it’s on web, WAP or mobile. However, the category battle for OTT/Mobile TV industry will not just be restricted to technology and content; but will soon spill over into emerging areas such as app. aesthetics, UX/UIs, mode and ease of payments etc.
Having invested in both content as well as other parallel parameters, nexGTv is well positioned to play a dominant role in the OTT and online video content segment. Moreover, our integrated relationships with leading Indian telecom service providers gives us another competitive edge, which we are working to emulate globally.
nexGTv launched a unique feature to save 5 X data while streaming videos, which made headlines. What other unique features can we expect in the near future?
We strongly believe that as in all other markets, the battle for consumer eyeballs will eventually not be fought on content alone. Soon, in a bid to create competitive differentiation, other factors such as innovative and richer user experience, user interface, intuitive recommendation engines, convenience in terms of accessing the product (app), easier content discovery and payments will start to become important, helping the market attain maturity.
Our ‘Save Data’ feature was one such development which allowed our users to derive the maximum value from their data subscription plans by significantly enhancing their viewing timelines and reducing streaming data consumption. We are well on our way to roll out further enhancements in other areas as per our pre-determined schedule and accompanying subscriber growth. Stay tuned!