Audio entertainment space on the cusp of a huge explosion: Prashant Panday, Mirchi
The MD and CEO of ENIL (Mirchi) talks to e4m about the launch of its new mobile app - Mirchi Plus - the marketing strategy and the importance of building organic reach
Radio and audio entertainment mainstay Mirchi is all set to launch its new mobile app – Mirchi Plus, which offers a library of original audio stories, podcasts, videos, entertainment news and more. The content will be available in 10 different languages, including English, Hindi, and regional dialects, as will audio stories across genres like drama, comedy, romance, horror, thriller and many more.
In an exclusive interview with exchange4media, Prashant Panday, MD and CEO, ENIL (Mirchi) breaks down the app launch and Mirchi’s plans to dominate the Indian audio space.
Edited excerpts below:
Could you please tell us about the development of the app, from its ideation to its execution?
For many years, we have been creating and releasing content on digital platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, as well as video OTTs like MX Player and music OTTs like Gaana, Spotify and others. Over the years, our reach on these platforms increased to more than 60-70 million, bigger than the reach i.e., 45-50 million on FM radio. In that sense, Mirchi has been bigger on digital than FM for many years now. In recognition of this, we even changed our branding from ‘Radio Mirchi’ to only ‘Mirchi’.
About a year ago, we decided to work on our own platform. There are obvious advantages to this, as we have sufficient information about our users, which can be maximized for creating a bigger revenue opportunity. For instance, we generated 700 million views on YouTube in a year, if we could generate those on our own app, our revenues could possibly be 5x or more. But it’s never an easy task to build your own app. Getting users on the app is a challenge. So, we mulled about it for a long time. Eventually, our confidence in our content skills paved the way for the app strategy. Even now, we are planning to take it one step at a time. We will continue to focus on the quality of content, test how it performs, and then build on the learnings. We launched the app in international markets in February this year and we are now launching in India.
What are the targets you've set viz. downloads, daily users, listening durations, etc?
Like I said, we are taking it one step at a time. We will focus on the quality of content and let the content and the app grow organically. We believe we should be able to grow into a strong audio content player in the coming months. Apart from audio content, Mirchi Plus also has a lot of popular Mirchi video content as well as a lot of entertainment related text stories. We see ourselves as being an entertainment hub with focus on audio content to begin with. In the initial phase of our journey, we will study the results and tweak the game plan along the way.
Could you take us through the marketing plans for the app? Are there any target audiences/regions you'll be concentrating on especially?
We do have a marketing strategy for the app, but our primary focus is on building organic reach. We will continue investing in quality content, and let the content build the user base. We believe this is a more sustainable way of building an app.
What are your thoughts on the audio entertainment space in the country, and are there any trends you've observed in terms of content and consumer demands?
I think the audio entertainment space is on the cusp of a huge explosion. Look at how busy our lives are today; we multitask all the time. In such a world, there is limited or minimal time to dedicatedly focus on one entertainment medium at a time. For instance, a medium like video, which is a great medium, requires the viewer to pay maximum attention and cannot be consumed while multitasking in situations like driving, working, working out, etc. In such times, the use cases for audio entertainment are huge. Also, most stories are better told in audio. For example, news is really an audio product, while stand-up comedy is also purely auditory. So yes, audio is set to boom.
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