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Our focus is to monetise MX Takatak and scale its user base, says Viraj Jit Singh of MX Player

Viraj Jit Singh, Head of Revenue at MX Player, talks about the platform’s overall growth and how they managed to attract advertisers. He discusses monetisation plans for MX Takatak

Viraj Jit Singh

MX Player has seen significant growth in terms of revenue as well as viewers. According to Viraj Jit Singh, Head of Revenue at MX Player, this is because they are an AVOD platform and have managed to not only attract viewers but also advertisers.

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Over the last few months, they have partnered with some well-known content creators, broadcasters as well as movie studios. “We've reached about 200 million monthly active users. I think we've seen significant growth in both the number of users that have come in, the engagement, and the time spent over the last five or six months. I think the reason for that is simple. If you look at our content strategy, it's free to consume. All our premium content that falls under the umbrella of MX Originals and MX exclusives, which are largely digital-first and produced or co-produced and partnered by us, are releasing to everyone.”

“The other reason is the frequency at which we were able to offer this content. I think what everyone is aching for is fresh content. If you see the calendar of our launches, across different genres, just specifically, MX Originals from February itself and all the way through Covid, every 10 days or two weeks, we launched a show of a different scale of a different genre, across multiple languages. So that worked really well for us,” he said.

He said they got international content dubbed in different languages, which penetrated into different parts of the country.

According to Singh, for MX Player there has been a month-on-month revenue growth. “There may have been a sort of a speed bump in April but otherwise month-on-month we've grown substantially in terms of revenue. We are an ad-led business. So it's 100% advertising and while obviously, the overall ad ecosystem has de-grown, digital is still holding. You've seen a lot of reallocation of budgets from traditional media coming into digital and obviously, this is being led by the consumption of video. And as I mentioned, MX Player is leading consumption of video. We've seen substantial growth from that perspective,” he added.

Singh said what makes them attractive for advertisers are the scale and reach. They have managed to offer branded content and create relevant partnership opportunities for the brand. He said MX is beyond just being an OTT app. “We have gaming, audio and media service. So when we go into the market, we're offering a bouquet and a basket. This festive season, we actually launched something called the everytainment package, where we're able to offer the brand, opportunities for the media player, the OTT platform, the live stream, the gaming platform, the audio platform, as well as our short video platform MX Takatak, so it becomes a single integrated offering.”

“I think the other thing that we did was we went out to the market and we said, listen, we've got 200 million monthly active users, we can become your distribution pipe. So let's say you've created your own content, and it's relevant for our audience, we're happy to host it for you, and match all the KPIs that you may want. So there are two ways in which we did this. We looked at certain categories that we're looking at launches: it could be handsets, liquor surrogates or it could be auto, etc., and we did live streaming of the launches.”

“The other opportunity was where brands created content but didn't know where to host it. So someone like Skoda had created a web show earlier this year, we were actually able to host that content for both options, which is live streaming and content. There are four KPIs that we meet — one is hosting, the other is creating discoverability so that people can actually see that there is this content that's available. Then you amplify to make sure that a lot of people can see it and then you create viewability to make sure that there's a specific number that I'm able to deliver and that becomes an interesting piece. Again, we do this, because we can bend the rules being an AVOD platform,” he explained. 

Audiences use MX Player not only to stream original content, but it also acts as a media player to stream a range of content. Talking about the platform’s media player, Singh said this was the legacy of the app which helped make it number one. He said they are further enhancing the user experience for example for playing media like using hand gestures to command the brightness, etc. However, the main focus now lies on video streaming.

“What we realised was that people from 18 to 35, which is the largest contributor to our audience buy, also enjoy spending time on games and music. We integrated all that into a single app so that when they open the app at any time, depending on whatever the need of entertainment is, we've got everything to offer,” he added. He said the time spent on games on the app has grown by 60-70 minutes.

Speaking about the platform’s short-format video platform MX Takatak, he said the third-party reports have shown it to be number one over the last six to eight weeks. “While we have the service offering on the main app of MX Player, we've independently released the MX Takatak app, I think the focus over the last month or so has been to be able to create a great user experience, and to be able to bring in the right content creators and because, again, we're a tech-first platform.”

He said they are now focusing on monetising MX Takatak. He said they have signed up close to 600 influencers and content creators recently. “So now we are going to go out, we've just started going out to the market to offer this platform, which has got a high engagement at a very short time to advertisers and it's a different offering from what we have from the main app so that's the next step,” he said.

Asked about competition in the short-format video space, Singh said competition is good in every industry but everyone is at a nascent stage. He said MX Takatak is a strong offering as it’s a strong tech product platform. It has the right content creators signed up.

“I think from now on, our focus primarily is to be able to increase the scale of our user base. We want to get to that 40- 50 million daily active users over the next year to be able to create really good content with the content creators that we've signed on board, and to be able to offer all of this as a package to our advertisers,” he added.

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