We have 70mn daily active users in India: Karan Bedi, MX Player

The AVOD model of revenue generation suits MX Player reveals Bedi, CEO of MX Player at the launch of its OTT avatar and announcement of its original shows

by Moumita Bhattacharjee
Published - Feb 20, 2019 8:50 AM Updated: Feb 20, 2019 8:50 AM
Karan Bedi

‘Jaisa Man Waisa Manoranjan’ is what MX Player is banking on as they launched five original shows yesterday. The world’s largest local video player boasts 70 million daily active users on its platform. 

The South Korea headquartered MX Player, which was recently acquired by Times Internet, has been a popular video-playing app for android devices since it is capable of playing all possible video formats. After being the host for an array of content from Arré, Balaji among others, MX Player jumps into the originals bandwagon in the OTT space. The shows are ‘AAFAT’, which is about five women breaking stereotypes, ‘Hey Prabhu’ that talks about a man who is a hero on Twitter and zero in real life; ‘ImMature’ (A TVF story) is about the many firsts in life that three teenage boys deal with, ‘Lots of Love’ (Tamil and Telugu) charts the journey of four friends and a trip that changes everything and lastly, ‘Famously Filmfare’ which goes regional this time.

And that’s not all that MX Player is aiming for, there is a historical fiction drama titled ‘Ponniyan Selvan’ directed by Soundarya Rajinikanth. A brief glimpse of the same was shown at the event which promises to be extravagant in terms of VFX. Then there’s also a political thriller called ‘Queen’, a sketchy promo of which was also unveiled. But it’s the Gaana integration in the app which seems like a fresh idea. Karan Bedi, CEO, MX Player seemed quite upbeat about the same saying that users won’t need any other music app to listen to songs now. 

In our interview with Bedi, he revealed why an AVOD format works perfectly for them. There were reports that MX Player has been looking to get Pakistani content from Hum and ARY on their platform but given the present scenario in the country post the Pulwama attack, we asked Bedi if there will be a change in strategy. He replied, “We are always talking to people and if we feel it is appropriate we will decide what to do. We have Turkish content on the platform right now.”  

Below are the edited excerpts of the interview:

The number of users consuming content on MX Player is staggering. Can you take us through what the database the originals will be catering to?

Just to reiterate some of the big ones; 275 million monthly active users, 175 million monthly active users in India, 100 million daily active users globally and 70 million daily active users in India. To put that in context, 70 million daily active users in India is literally the population of many European countries. Overall 650 million users is twice the population of United States. So that’s a very large number. We are privileged to be working at that scale. So I think it’s a very important part of our promise to our customers that look we have this massive scale and we are here to truly and deeply believe in our brand philosophy of Everytainment. Jaisa man waisa manorajan, you know. We showed you today a millennial story, urban story, nostalgia, politics, historical fiction, Bollywood’s first game show – ‘Bollywood Bazingaa’. It will go live in a few weeks, actually the show is on and we have a live component of it as well and people can participate so they can win. We also have an interesting show call ‘Love Okay Please’. It’s a combination of a travel and dating show. We form couples during travel. We have potential people meet together and see if they click.

What is the most consumed content on MX Player?

With 1 lakh hours already on the platform today our biggest consumption comes from web-series. Then you have TV, music, movies, all get consumed quite a bit. The biggest is the web series and we think there is a big reason for that. There is a large segment of the population that actually doesn’t have enough to watch on TV. They come to watch over here. We have got the entire Balaji catalogue available, the Arré catalogue, the TVF catalogue. In fact, the TVF catalogue is exclusive to us.

Did that prompt you to try your hand at original content for MX Player?

We felt that there is a big need for stories that were differentiated. We have a range of stories catering to different audiences. Romance, drama, comedy satire, biopics, action, you name it. We feel there is a big market and need for such content.

What kind of revenue target do you have in mind in the coming years?

The interesting thing about being at this scale is AVOD makes sense. In lot of other platforms what is happening is that the scale is not there so you have to find other ways for revenue. Advertising makes sense, although I am not sharing the specific revenue numbers, we have the advertising revenue already and we hope it will continue to grow. We have already got over 30 advertisers advertising on our platform; big names like Google, Godrej, Nerolac and lots more to come.

Bedi also promises that MX Player will go from five original shows to maybe 12 in the next couple of months.

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