We have plans to invest Rs 140 crore in the current fiscal: Vibhu Agarwal, ULLU App

Vibhu Agarwal, CEO and Founder of the ULLU App, lets us in on the platform's 2.0 launch, growth during the lockdown, expansion plans and the reason behind its zany name

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Oct 26, 2020 3:44 PM

The name 'Ullu' in Hindi refers to an owl and is often used to address someone of questionable aptitude. So, naming one's brand, an OTT platform, after the bird may seem counterintuitive to some. But Vibhu Agarwal, CEO and Founder, UlLLU App, has two good reasons why the name is a fit for the platform. "ULLU name is very apt and fits perfectly well for an OTT platform because usually, people spend their free time in nights by watching web-series or movies on OTT platforms."

"The second reason," he explains, "...is that the bird is seen as the vehicle of goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth) and from both the points of view, the team decided to come up the name ‘ULLU’"

Launched in December 2018, the app has been noted for its edgy content. With an aim to change the perception of the app, Agarwal is all set to launch the 2.0 version of ULLU.  The newer version will also show mainstream content to its viewers along with its signature stuff. 

Agarwal told that during a lockdown period, ULLU app witnessed a growth of 220% for the first two months (of the lockdown period) later when unlock began, the growth rate dropped to 150% but still, it remained higher than the pre-COVID levels. 

“Edgy image and criticism are also two of the reasons why we decided to launch ULLU 2.0. But we are not changing the USP of the app. We are just bringing mainstream content along with the existing content. We will show viewers two versions of a content- censored and uncensored and it will be a viewers choice which one they want to watch,” added Agarwal.  

He further spoke about the perception and image that the app had why they decided to bring more mainstream content on the app.  “What we have learnt is that everyone has got an Ullu app on their phone but they can’t disclose that they have an Ullu app on their mobile. We want to change that perception, so in 2.0 version we will offer viewers both a ‘plain’ and edgy content- which will be further divided into two segments of censored and uncensored version.

The 2.0 version is likely to go live from October 30 with some new additions in the app apart from the censored and uncensored version and the mainstream content.  “We are planning to bring a ‘Pay-Per-View’ model for the movies that we have a plan to premiere on our platform for Rs 10 only.  We are also bringing the ‘premier category’ where we will be releasing web series in the budget of Rs  5-10 crore. The 2.0 version will now also have  AVoD model where consumers can watch content for free on ad models.” 

Some of the movies in the premium category include Peshawar, The Last Show and Assi Nabbe Poore Sau.  

On the investment front, Agarwal refused to share the exact figures. However, said he did let us in on the platform's next plan: “We have a plan to invest Rs 140 crore in the current financial year but exact figures are hard to say as we are still in the planning stage.”

The management is also planning to expand its content and reach across geographies. Though most of the viewership in India comes from UP, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra and some part of Delhi and even West Bengal. The app soon will also have content in Bengali and Tamil. “We have a tie-up for 25 web series in West Bengal which will be filmed in West Bengal,” he adds.

Agarwal has also planned to launch three more apps but refused to share more details but by the end of this month, they will be launching ULLU Music app. The music AVOD app will have both audio and visuals of the song. It will be a music video app to promote new talent from across geographies. 

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