MX Player has been exploding as a platform, recording 2.5x growth: Gautam Talwar

Gautam Talwar, Chief Content Officer, MX Player
Gautam Talwar, Chief Content Officer, MX Player

The lockdown period has been a boom time for digital content consumption as people remained confined to their homes and there has been a lack of fresh content on TV due to cessation of all shooting work.

OTT players have been ramping up their content line-up throughout the lockdown period with new Original shows. MX Player recently launched its big ticket offering, ‘Times of Music’ – a music reality show helmed by India’s finest musicians and their recreation of 22 iconic songs. The show, which premiered on June 20, 2020, is presented by Smule and powered by Ace2Three.

Each episode showcases 2 legendary composers of different eras, where they recreate each other’s songs with their own little twist. Hosted by Vishal Dadlani, the show also highlights interesting and unheard stories if these composers and their experiences in the music industry. New episodes will be released every Saturday and Sunday.

Adgully spoke to Gautam Talwar, Chief Content Officer, MX Player, on what makes ‘Times of Music’ a unique show, MX Player’s performance during the lockdown period, content strategy for the coming months, challenges faced during this period, and much more.

Please tell us about the inception of ‘Times Of Music’. How was the programme shot amid the lockdown period?

We'd had this idea for more than 3 years now and we’ve refining it over the course of this time. We shot the show in May-June of 2019 and the idea was to pay homage to these legendary music composers. We purposely wanted to feature people who actually created the music rather than just the singers.

The other idea was to pair up a legend of the industry with a comparatively newer, more contemporary artist. We wanted to see how they interpreted each other’s music and I think that’s the unique factor of this show. Something like this has never been done before in the world. We’ve never seen a show like this before and neither does the format exist.

How has MX Player’s performance been during the lockdown period? What kind of traction has the platform seen?

I think we’ve been exploding as a platform. We are one of the few players to launch 6-7 shows during this time. Some of these shows were Originals, while the others we got exclusively from our partners. The traction that we have seen is fantastic. The fact that people are restricted to their homes and have fewer options of entertainment is making them consume a whole lot of content. We have had an overall growth of 2.5X from where we were at. It has been an excellent growth period for MX Player. We’re happy to have managed to bring so many shows to our audiences. Thankfully, we’d shot all of them before and just had to work on post-production.

Why did you choose to launch the show now during the lockdown and not earlier, as you had said the show was shot in mid-2019?

It’s a strategic objective that we need to meet for certain markets and consumers. We had to make sure certain markets are alive on the platform. For example, Maharashtra became extremely alive on our platform after the launch of shows like ‘Ek Thi Begum’.

There are massive strategic reasons we need to think about before launching a certain show on our platform.

What is your content strategy for the next few months?

To be honest, nobody has been able to shoot anything for the last 90 days. The content library is drying up for everybody.

But fortunately, we’d shot many shows before the pandemic and most of them are in the post-production phase. Many shows needed more post-production work, which we couldn’t do sitting at home. But now as reliefs are coming about in the lockdown, we would see resumption of many things to facilitate that. We have a few shows in the bank and hopefully, we’ll be able to launch them in the coming months. We have also been pushing fresh content with our partners like TVF and Array to provide exclusives for our audiences.

How has the growth of the user base and advertisers been on the platform?

Most of our metrics have grown by 2X. What we predicted to reach at in the next 2 years, we’ve probably already achieved it in the last 6 months. That’s the kind of growth we’ve been witnessing.

As far as advertisers are concerned, the shift to digital has especially helped us partner with several brands during this time.


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