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MX Player has the largest consumer base on OTT at over 200 mn MAUs: Gautam Talwar

OTT players have been seen increasing traction during the pandemic period, as the user base continues to grow. During the first wave of the pandemic and lockdown, when all shootings had come to a standstill and fresh TV content dried up, content consumption on OTT platforms saw a tremendous spike. 

MX Player, the homegrown streaming platform from Times Network, has been growing from strength to strength. According to App Annie, MX Player topped the OTT space in 2020 in terms of time spent, with each user spending 7.8 hours per month on the app. Moreover, MX Player garnered over 500 million downloads on the Google Play Store. This apart, MX Player has also curated one of India’s largest catalogues of foreign content dubbed in Indian languages for its wide user base. 

In conversation with Adgully, Gautam Talwar, Chief Content Officer, MX Player, speaks about the rise of OTT content consumption, growth of the regional content space, success of ‘Samantar Season 2’ and much more. 

What is your observation on the content consumption scenario in the pandemic times?

Genres like crime, thriller, suspense, comedy are preferred more on OTT by the audiences and will continue to be preferred. Such genres and content are not available on television right now and thus, OTT gains a lot of traction with genre bursting. Every genre and format is finding a place in the hearts and minds of the viewers, but Originals continue to be an audience favourite. 

MX Player’s ‘Samantar 2’ (an original Marathi series dubbed in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu) has been seeing massive traction. What is the reason for this?

‘Samantar 1’ was a phenomenal success and we wanted the audiences who have watched Season 1 to opt for Season 2 as well. After the launch of ‘Samantar 2’, we have experienced a huge traction towards Season 1 as well.

The audiences wanted a chain line of watching both the seasons together and without doubt ‘Samantar Season 2’ has been super successful. Becoming more popular on social media handles, the audiences loved the show in the dubbed versions as well. Originally a Marathi series, the thriller has been much appreciated in non-vernacular areas – roughly 45% of the show’s viewers are for the Hindi dubbed version. As far as entertainment is concerned, it has given much more than what the audiences expected and on the brand scale, it has helped us to reach a wider user base and closer engagement. 

How do you view the demand for regional content in India? What are the factors driving this growth?

As we go down towards Tier 4 and Tier 5, the opportunity to share content in their own language is very high. At MX Player, the majority of the international series are dubbed in Hindi, while a lot of others are dubbed in different regional languages, which attract the viewers and gain a lot of traction. If you put down content in their language, the audiences are more than happy to watch the shows. Thus, the demand for regional content has been growing and will see a huge market value in the future. 

OTT content consumption saw a tremendous spike during the lockdown period. Do you see this momentum continuing as India has ‘unlocked’ and is returning to some semblance of normalcy?

The digital world has been attracting new consumers and expanding to new locations and demographics. These two years have been a behavioral change for OTT platforms. People now opt for OTT first rather than any other medium to entertain themselves. The first pandemic and lockdown saw massive growth and good retention for OTTs and similarly in the second wave, the experience for OTT has been far more than what the initial pandemic gave us. With the changing behavioral patterns of audiences, the adoption of digital is now becoming a new normal and giving rise to OTTs viewership, which will continue to grow even after the things get normalised. 

Could you share a brief idea about the concept of H.266 (Versatile Video Coding) With the reduction in data consumption, will the HD quality be the same for the users?

MX Player, India’s entertainment super-app which has over 200 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs), has become the world’s first OTT platform to upgrade its video encoding and compression technology to H.266 (Versatile Video Coding) that slashes data usage for streaming videos by more than half. It is the first ever OTT platform to come up with such reduction and implication for users. As our consumers are very data sensitive with consumption, it is important for us to implement these product simulations with better quality and lesser data consumption. This is the beauty of compression technology that has only been adapted by MX Player. 

What makes MX Player different from other OTT platforms?

  • Largest consumer base on OTT platforms (200 million MAUs)
  • Premium quality content for free
  • Unique population and regional content consumption (Key focus on consumers and their expectations)
  • All the international series to be dubbed in hindi versions making a benchmark for the brand
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