GOQii enters OTT space, eyeing 10 million users by 2020: Vishal Gondal

GOQii, a company providing a smart preventive health ecosystem, has ventured into the OTT space with GOQii Play, touted as India’s first OTT platform for healthcare. GOQii Play is an interactive live-video platform, where users can watch and learn from fitness experts as they talk about lifestyle tips and perform fitness workouts. 

GOQii has recently received funding of $1 million. The latest investor is Mitsui from Japan, who are one of the biggest investors in the healthcare space. 

At the helm of the company is Vishal Gondal, CEO & Founder, GOQii. His passion for technology, fitness & gaming led him to set up GOQii, which is focused on helping people make a change towards a healthier lifestyle and be the force of good. Gondal started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 16, founding IndiaGames, and is best known as the Father of the Indian Gaming Industry. In 2012, IndiaGames was acquired by the Walt Disney Company, post which he served as Managing Director Digital, Disney UTV. He is also a notable Angel Investor. 

In conversation with Adgully, Vishal Gondal speaks at length about the strategy for GOQii Play and the way forward. Excerpts:  

Will GOQii Play be the start of a new genre-based OTT platform trend?
Let’s talk about this context, if you are looking at the health and fitness space, then what is the problem? The big problem is that when you search on YouTube for videos on how to get fit, 10,000 of them will come up and there is too much of junk content. Another problem is that everyone who wants to get healthy today is going online and searching and they end up with multiple solutions. What happened was that when these people came to GOQii, they began asking such questions, which gave us the data. There is a huge demand for curated specialised expert content. 

One can find every possible video on exercise and healthcare on YouTube, why would one need GOQii Play?
GOQii Play as an OTT platform was started for 2 reasons. One, because there was too much confusion and the other, because there was too much unreliable content by other users. We have created a unique experience where we have live classes. It is like you have joined a gym, where you can do the exercises along with your coach. From 7 am in the morning to 10 pm at night, there are nutritionists, fitness coaches, health experts, who take individual training classes. On the GOQii App, a player is able to see which coach’s class is at what time, along with the topic and the description of the class. 

The concept of GOQii Play is that it is Live, but you can watch the recorded version later after it is archived. 

Could you tell us about the business and revenue model?
The business model is based on an annual subscription of Rs 500. If you are a free user, then you cannot engage with the coaches, but can only watch the exercises. If you subscribe, you get to use all the facilities. Every 30 minutes there is a new class and the timing of each class is mentioned on the App and the user also gets a notification reminding of their class. 

We have two revenu models. First is subscription and the other is our GOQii Store, for which you don't need a subscription. There is also a third angle to it, which is selling insurance and banking services. Our users are at lower risk when it comes to insurance. So, data based on the usage of GOQii, we create a health score, which is then given to the insurance companies. Thus, those companies can directly impact and reduce the premium for a healthy individual. And that is a very unique model.

What can a GOQii Play subscriber expect from the service?
Apart from our regular classes, we also have star coaches. Luke Coutinho is the No. 1 nutritionist in the country, Sardar Singh is India’s ex-hockey captain. Jeet Salal is big on YouTube with 3 million followers. We have recently introduced international coaches as well, such as Thalia, who is our coach from the UK. We have an Italian coach, Olly. It is a completely different concept. Currently, the service is available in English, Hindi and Telugu, but we are in the process of introducing more languages such as Marathi, Tamil, Kannada, etc. 

Another service that we offer, which is very unique to GOQii Play, is commerce. For instance, if a coach recommends a certain product to you, it is integrated with the GOQii Health Store. The GOQii Health Store is a holistic services marketplace within the GOQii app offering a range of health related products and services, curated by our team of experts. We have partnered with various companies that offer healthy, natural and organic products. We have 2,000 products already listed on the GOQii Store.

Thus, there is integration of commerce and content. We also have a points system, called GOQii Cash. User of the app can earn GOQii Cash by doing various activities on the App and can avail discounts at the Health Store. 

Compard to gym memberships, GOQii Play, which is priced at Rs 500 a year is way cheaper. What is your marketing strategy?
We have just launched the India Step Challenge - a first-of-its-kind 100-day nationwide challenge with an aim to encourage Indians to walk. Millions of people are participating in this challenge across states and there is a score board. Our goal is that anybody who wants to be healthy goes to the GOQii platform and then they discover much more. The simplest way to become healthy is walking, so what better than a walking challenge? This is also a digital age and hence, people will prefer everything being on a gadget. 

Who is your TG?
Our younger TG - from 16 to 25 or 30 - is more concerned about body building, how to get abs, how to build muscles, looking more beautiful, getting good skin and hair. The content for them revolves around how to look good. For the TG in the 30-50 age group, whom we call the direct preventers, are married and have a kid or two. For them, the primary concerns are preventing illnesses, weight loss, regaining their youthful health. The next category of TG are those above 50, who might already be suffering from different ailments. Their primary conern us how to manage their condition. Therefore, our content caters to all of the above audiences. Once your class is done, you can rate it on the basis of how much you have liked it. It is like inventing a new thing. And this for sure is a very new thing. 

Going forward, what are your growth plans?
By 2020, we will have about 10 million users. That is our target. But the best thing is that we are not competing with any kind of category. We are not trying for that at all. Our competition is laziness!

GOQii is already an e-gaming platform, with the 6K step challenge - called Meta Gaming. The next evolution of gaming is going to be Meta Gaming, which all started with Pokemon Go. The future of gaming with augmented reality is not about playing your games on a computer screen, it will take you outdoors as well.

Do you see a specialised OTT platform like GOQii Play opening up doors for other players to get into genre-based content?
The best example I can give is that of Patanjali, which has 24-hour advertisements on all platforms. Suddenly that company has become the biggest consumer brand in India. What we are doing today is going to lead into different consumer brands.


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