Already seeing a steady revenue growth of 30% for the last couple of years, the homegrown travel channel Travelxp intends to grow by over 30-40% in the coming year.
Prashant Chothani, CMD and CEO, Travelxp, said, â€śWe have not been able to reap the benefits of advertising on India channels since we started advertising right before demonetisation happened. This year, I am expecting that bit to grow faster. Also, channels in a lot of international markets where we had invested are now coming out of the investment mode. For example, we launched Travelxp HD Europe on August 15, 2016 and it has now reached the break-even point. So, as we move along, many other channels keep on adding into our profitability. Hence, we are expecting a higher growth than the previous years.â€ť
Travelxp intends to expand to at least 15 more countries by the end of 2019 fiscal, launching the channels in as many languages as required. The channel is already available in English, German, Czech, Slovenian, Serbian, Croatian and Bulgarian, and will be soon launched in Chinese too. The channel caters to the Indian local markets through its Hindi, Tamil and Bengali feeds. There are plans to launch in a couple of Southern languages and Marathi.
It announced its entry in the Singapore market recently, partnering with StarHub. The network aims at focusing on two things from geographical expansion point of view â€“ entering into more countries, and also riding on more platforms in the countries that they are already present in.
Right now, the channel has different feeds named Travelxp, Travelxp HD Europe, Travelxp Tamil, Travelxp 4K, Travelxp 4K North America and Travelxp 4K Europe.
Speaking about the importance of getting into the specific markets with the local languages, Prashant Chothani said, â€śOnce you are present in the local language, you become a local channel which all the platforms want to carry and the chances of getting distributed and get monetised increase. Unlike some other infotainment channels that target only the affluent audience through English, we want to be a mass channel across the globe.â€ť
It is a huge cost to even get the content dubbed apart from the cost of entry into a market. Despite this, the channels are available in almost all the major countries, except Latin America. Chothani said Latin America is one of their target markets before the end of this year.
With such a huge focus on the international markets, it is no doubt that more than 50% of the networkâ€™s revenues come from outside. Chothani says that earlier it contributed to about 70%. He explained, â€śWe started taking advertising on our India channels around October 2016 and they have seen a boost in their revenue numbers. Due to this, the contribution from Indian channels to the total revenue increased. We started off as an ad-free channel in India in 2011. Advertisers are giving us positive feedback as the audiences watching travel content are aspirational.â€ť
For the India channels, the network has a ratio of 50:50 for the revenues earned by the advertising and subscription streams. However, Chothani is confident that the advertising revenues will grow faster than the subscription revenues, owing to the increasing aspirations and the Prime Ministerâ€™s Udan Yojana.
â€śWe try that no channel remains ad-free after 5-6 years of the launch. That is when we typically start taking ads on the channel,â€ť added Chothani.
Chothani also pointed out how the industry has been putting all the niche sub-genres like food, travel and fashion into one genre â€“ Lifestyle. He feels that itâ€™s time for all these sub-genres to come out on their own and there are enough channels that are waiting to be launched once they see a gap out there.
About the Singapore launch, Chothani added, â€śOur partnership with StarHub would take Travelxp to all 449,000 subscribers of StarHub TV. The channel will include Chinese subtitles in the coming months to appeal to a wider audience. Further launches in the Asia-Pacific region with more languages are on the anvil in the coming months.â€ť
Lee Soo Hui, Head of Content Business Unit, StarHub, said, â€śWe are delighted that our customers will be the first in Southeast Asia to enjoy Travelxpâ€™s content. Travelxp is the single largest producer of travel content in the world and a welcome addition to our lifestyle offering. With Singaporeans being avid travellers, we are confident Travelxp will resonate with every backpacker, guidebook follower and adventure seeker.â€ť
Travelxp is promoted and led by Prashant Chothani and Nisha Chothani, Director and Head of Content.
All shows on the channel are original in-house productions, planned to appeal to the best of global audiences. The channel had even set up a production facility in the UK where it is expected to produce many more hours of content from UK.
Travelxp divides its content in six main categories â€“ Destination, Lifestyle, Food, Culture, Nature and Heritage. Some of the popular shows are Backpack, Off The Grid, Glimpses, Xplore World, Xplore India, XP Guide, City Breaks, Nordic Quest, Summer Escapes, Bliss, World Spas, Great World Hotels, Great Indian Hotels, Best From The Rest, Cruise XP, Tracking Royalty, Strictly Street seasons 1 and 2, Food Fact Fun, Food Highway, Quest and Foodicted, Divine Destinations, World Festivals, The Special Mount Kailash Series, special culture series like Hornbill Festival, Desert Sunset, Rann Utsav, Fair@Pushkar, Spring Fun, Bada Weekend, Hills & Valleys, World Heritage, Landmarks and more.