What makes MX Player bigger, bolder & better?

The Times Internet-owned MX Player already has over 175 mn MAUs and is looking to launch 20 originals in various languages by March 2020

e4m by Shikha Paliwal
Updated: Feb 10, 2020 4:39 PM

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MxPlayer

The year started on a fantastic note for video streaming platform MX Player. According to App Annie’s report titled 'State of the Mobile 2020', the OTT player stole the top spot as India’s Breakout Video Streaming App of 2019, ahead of Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Reliance owned Jio TV.

In a market that has over 30 players in the OTT space in India, it is no mean feat to race to the top of any popularity charts. But MX Player has time and again rewritten the rules and won, whether it was to boldly convert from its original avatar of a mobile video viewing platform to a mainstream OTT player or to fulfil its mission of ‘everytainment’ of not only serving video to its users but music, games and more. It has pushed the boundaries on regional content and has shown no signs of stopping. Their ambitious plans to capture international markets are bearing fruit. It comes as no surprise that the Times Internet-owned MX Player already has over 175 mn MAUs and is looking to launch 20 originals in various languages by March 2020.

More importantly, it has achieved this within a year of its launch, or as Karan Bedi, CEO, MX Player points out "in less than a year." He says, “We formally launched in the market less than a year ago, in about three weeks, it will be exactly one year.”

So, what has MX done differently from the others to taste success in a content loving yet highly competitive market like India? Bedi explains it is a combination of factors,

“The real key thing is our focus on execution. We came into the market with this big hypothesis that we can convert our existing user base, that are using the app to watch videos, into a streaming user base with OTT and we have very successfully done it. We’ve not only done it with OTT, but we have also done it successfully to execute music. And last month, we have also introduced gaming. There has been a lot of movement where users have not just continued use the player to playback a video file but also heavily converted to OTT. So, it has been really good execution on the teams part on the product, on the content obviously and also on communicating that for our users.”

Buoyed by the success they have seen in India, MX is now looking to launch its OTT services in the overseas market. Bedi shares their expansion plans: “MX has a pretty big user base outside of India. For the local player product, there is more than a 100mn MAU we have across multiple different countries. We have identified clusters of countries where we can introduce our digital platforms in many of these markets, whether it’s OTT, music or gaming."

He further adds: “We are currently in a very early stage. We are examining a few markets to see which of these are viable for us to pre-launch. We have already soft-launched the OTT product in Bangladesh, Nepal and also testing out beta launches in a few other countries. Bangladesh and Nepal have performed very well, so we are figuring out what the next steps in those countries are. And we are taking a similar approach in other countries. We identify a country that has potential, we do a beta test then if we find there is good traction, there is the right metrics, we actually launch formally and go bigger.”

Meanwhile, he remains very positive about the future and the monetisation model of MX Player in India. He says, “The one big thing that we said from day one is that AVOD is the model that we believe in and that there is a large amount of ad dollars that is coming into the business, not just for MX but the industry in general.”

He further adds, “ I think digital video has become pretty mainstream as well. Today whether you are talking to a buyer, a client or a planner, you are quite clear that digital video is very much a part of every brand's conversation. Earlier, digital was mostly spoken about as social, search or display. Now, video is a major category in that mix. It’s been very good for the industry and for us. We are well on target on the monetization path.”

While Bedi believes that consolidation in India’s overcrowded OTT space is only a matter of time, he underlines several factors that have and will ensure MX Player remains comfortably placed in the top league. He explains, “Our reach and penetration is unparalleled, and I am not just talking about OTT or the entertainment industry. I think MX Player in India today is one of the largest apps in India in any category. We are in the same league as some of the big social media and comm apps in terms of the kind of reach and penetration that we have in India.”

Another big advantage that they have, says Bedi, is the unique user base that they cater to. It's not easily accessible to marketers through traditional mediums like television. Add to this the 360-degree entertainment focus and their continued efforts to engage with audience through various new formats --  they have a winning formula.  

With the aim to fulfil every entertainment need of its user base, the company has recently added gaming its existing offerings. Bedi sees huge potential in gaming in India and hopes to increase engagement on their app through the multi-model approach they have adopted.

On a parting note, we prod Bedi on how they are placed as far as consolidation is concerned in the OTT space? “Right now, we are not out there actively looking out to acquire or be acquired so to speak,” says Bedi signing off.

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