Eros Now has established a strong base in tier 2&3 cities: Ali Hussein
The COO of the platform says Eros Now users in Tier II/III cities watch content for more than 21 hours in a week, which is the highest among all major OTT platforms in India
Having doubled their viewership in the last one year, OTT platform Eros Now is now experimenting with newer content format and employing technology to reach the heartlands of the country backed by strategic tie-ups. In a conversation with exchange4media, COO Ali Hussein talks about what is new on Eros Now and what is planned for the days ahead.
You have been experimenting with formats, tell us a little about Eros Now Quickie
We launched Eros Now Quickie in December 2018 to expand our content strategy. It was basically to grab eyeballs during people’s commute time in a day which is anywhere between 30 minutes and 45 minutes. Quickies are high quality episodic content for morning, evening and lunch time. They are for people who watch video while travelling but doesn’t necessarily want to see a 120-minute or 200-minute film. We’ve done seven Quickie pieces, such as The Investigation, Date Gone Wrong, Paisa Fek Tamasha Dekh and Tumse Na Ho Payega, and plan to launch around 25 to 30 more in the next 12 months.
What about originals? OTT players are going big on originals, what is the kind of work you are doing there?
We are not in the business of launching four originals a month, but innovation and investment is constantly being done to explore the range of genre that can be tested and tried on OTT. We have done an anthology Flip, a Guajarati household comedy based in New Jersey called Metropark, a classic crime drama called Smoke and a biopic called Modi. And with content like Modi, we are opening up the ultimate video economy in certain cities of the country. When Modi was launched, Ahmedabad was among the top three markets, a spot which is generally reserved for Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
We are constantly innovating and would be launching 8-10 originals by the end of this financial year.
Tell us about your user base and consumption pattern and reach
We had 7.9 million paid subscribers at the end of financial year on March 31, 2018, and that grew to 18.8 million paid subscribers in the year ended March 31, 2019.
The rapidly increasing internet penetration has opened up the domestic market for OTT players in India. As much as 65 per cent video consumption is coming from the rural parts of the country, as per industry figures. New user profiles indicate that digital video streaming companies are steadily shifting focus to small towns and Eros Now has, as per our Counterpoint Survey 2019, established a strong base in tier II/III cities of the country.
Eros Now users in Tier II/III cities watch content on the platform for more than 21 hours a week, which is highest among all major OTT platforms in India. It holds the largest share (59%) of users in the 25-39 age brackets in Tier II/III cities. More than half (53%) of Eros Now users in Tier II/III cities own a Xiaomi smartphone. And 65% Eros Now users in Tier II/III cities consume content on the app during the primetime between 8PM and 11PM.
Eros Now is also employing technology to improve user experience. Tell us a little about it
We are constantly investing in technology and also tying up with technology leaders to enhance the experience of video viewing. Just last month, we announced a partnership with TMW Fintech PvtLtd’s ‘The Mobile Wallet’. It is a fast-growing financial technology service that makes daily transactions easy as users never have to reach for their physical wallets. As part of the partnership, The Mobile Wallet users can take advantage of a special offer and enjoy Eros Now’s entertainment library which consists of over 12,000 movie titles, original series, music videos, short form content and more. We have also partnered with another company that will help us take videos to places that doesn’t have consistent electricity.
You want to reach out to people staying far and wide, what are you doing to increase your reach?
Eros Now has partnered with DU, a Dubai-based Telecom Provider, to explore the market. We have also partnered with BSNL. The association with BSNL will further leverage Eros Now’s presence in India and give access to the rural customers who are increasing content consumption and are predicted to be consuming maximum content by 2019 as an impact of growing smartphone use. This partnership is one-of-a-kind as this is the first time BSNL is doing an agreement for the large pre-paid and post-paid based consumers. The access to Eros Now is available and valid for all kind of packs offered by BSNL and will not restrict it to only monthly packs but is also accessible to weekly packs. While, Eros Now has partnered with many telco service providers, through this deal, Eros Now is looking at expanding their reach in tier 2 and 3 markets as BSNL has a strong hold in small towns/villages.
We also have an agreement with Tata Sky to make Eros Now content available on the Tata Sky Binge platform. The complete library of Eros Now is now available on Tata Sky Binge – a unique platform by Tata Sky that brings digital content on to your TV. We have also partnered with netgem.tv, the fast-growing TV service offered in the UK which is delivering the best customer TV experience with a global presence. netgem.tv simplify the access to entertainment using an immersive user interface allowing enhanced content discovery, whether it is from a remote control, a simple app on phone, or through voice control for the Connected Home. We also have a deal with China’s streaming giant iQIYI and the only Indian OTT player to have video distribution rights in China. Another deal with China is also underway and is expected to be announce next week.
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