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MX Player’s super-app format offers advertisers a well-rounded opportunity: Karan Bedi

The platform has seen 150 new brands coming in post lockdown.

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KOLKATA: Indian audiences have acquired a taste for premium originals offered by the over-the-top (OTT) platforms in recent times, and their appetite has only grown stronger in the wake of the Covid 2019 crisis. Exploiting the huge opportunity, MX Player has witnessed 5X increase in engagement during this period, thanks to its library of originals. The user and engagement growth has translated into monetisation, with at least 150 new brands coming to the platform, MX Player CEO Karan Bedi said.

Bedi is pleased with the platform’s performance this year across all metrics. But he mentioned that when Covid2019 swept the country initially, high anxiety was prevalent in the market. However, stakeholders soon saw the silver lining in terms of users and engagement, with the platform registering significant uptick on the revenue front within a few weeks, overcoming the concern of decline in ad-spend.

“We have had a lot of retention of users. Along with high growth, users stuck with us because of the content we were putting out. We had a very large set of users returning to watch more and more content. Initial concern was users may come and go away but that has not played out with MX Player,” Bedi shared.

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Bedi noted that the pandemic has brought about an unprecedented acceptance of OTT services. Viewers are now experimenting with previously unexplored genres and languages, especially with online content that has become the new mainstream. MX Player majorly caters to audiences in the 18–24 age bracket, followed by the 25-34 years group, with a sharp focus on tier-2 and tier-3 markets going beyond the metros.

MX Player has added new features to the platform in recent times including music streaming and casual gaming. Bedi highlighted that they have always maintained MX player is not only a video OTT platform, but it also aims to address the different needs of users – more precisely, all entertainment needs. Hence, the experiment around new features has yielded positive results in terms of engagement and revenue, he claimed.

It’s also worth pointing out that MX Player forayed into the short video space within a week after TikTok was banned. MX TakaTak was built entirely from scratch in the space of one week. While two-three smaller players tried to bridge the huge void, Bedi claimed that MX TakaTak had the highest growth owing to its scale, content, and technology.

“Our super-app format promises all forms of entertainment to the user and allows us to offer our advertisers a well-rounded opportunity to suit their marketing goals - including impact, reach and engagement. We have been successfully catering to categories like FMCGs, F&B, mobile handsets, gaming, e-commerce, SMB, social media and service apps, auto and BFSI,” Bedi stated.

“To give you an example, one of our most seamless branded content solutions was with Smule on our flagship music reality series - Times of Music. On the live streaming front, we’ve had associations with Blenders Pride Fashion Week, Oneplus TV + 8T launches. We’ve hosted content for brands like Skoda and Oppo, among others, and for gaming sponsorship, we had Duracell. We’re also looking at scaling monetisation for our recently launched short format video platform - MX TakaTak,” he added.

MX Player has a unique positioning in the market, being the only platform with premium originals not locked behind a paywall, which could be lucrative to many brands. Bedi is quite pleased with the AVod business model that MX Player is based on as it has scaled up courtesy of its swelling user base; he has no intention to abandon it for the subscription. He pointed out that the key factors behind a successful AVoD service are scale and technology.

Additionally, the platform is deepening its library in regional languages. It is now seeing a lot of action happening in other regional markets like Punjabi, Bhojpuri, Bengali along with the core ones like Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi and Marathi. It is also making its presence stronger on the international stage, with a higher focus on the Middle East market.

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