The much-anticipated merger between Voot and JioCinema will bring their content together, creating a lucrative platform for a broader range of advertisers, Karan Taurani, SVP of Elara Capital said while adding that the platform will emerge as the leading hub for the most extensive and diverse content catalogue compared to their competitors.
Viacom18 is in the advanced stages of finalising the merger between Voot and JioCinema, according to reports. With this, not only the content of the two apps will be available under one roof but also those who have a Voot Select subscription will get a JioCinema premium subscription for free.
Taurani said that in terms of JioCinema and Voot, it will get the content together and there will be a wider range of advertisers here because a lot of them like to advertise very aggressively on reality shows like Big Boss and others wherein Voot had a very strong recall.
“If you consider Voot from the perspective of the content they offer, it primarily consists of catch-up TV content. As a result, I believe this will expand their advertiser base. So, this will lead to better ad revenue growth potential,” he added.
According to Taurani, in terms of the targeted advertising capability, it will be enhanced because digital is driven by more new age companies, tech verticals, FMCG, auto and telecom. These are verticals which are traditionally low in terms of digital advertising. But as mentioned, VooT has got a lot of catch-up TV content so they will primarily have TV-led advertisers kind of piggybacking in the form of bundle deals.
“So, from an advertising standpoint, they can draw synergies. Now, will the revenues of Voot and JioCinema put together be much higher as compared to what they are doing right now as separate entities? That is a question mark because the current environment may not be conducive to taking price hikes for that matter or rather increasing inventory in terms of advertising,” he added.
In terms of content strategy, JioCinema first started with cricket, then they moved to originals, and movies and with Voot this will be like an all-end offering. They will have the largest variety of offering today versus the other OTT platforms because there are sports, catch-up TV, original films, and original web series and there is also global content.
“In terms of variety of content, they will stand to be the centre of the largest catalogue or variety of content as compared to peers. In terms of new content as well, we are seeing that JioCinema is and will continue to be the most aggressive player because they have a large slate of original films and web series which are to be launched. So they are catering to all ends of the audience. The only leg left for them to tap in terms of the potential market is the regional market. They will have plans to expand in terms of the regional content offering too because otherwise, they are there in all the major genres in terms of content consumption,” Taurani said.
“Voot and JioCinema can play on two strengths. One is distribution because Jio has such a large customer base on Jio mobile. So, the cost of distribution will come down drastically as compared to other platforms who give hefty discounts to the telecoms,” he added.
Secondly, they will do much savings in terms of tech costs and a lot of synergies will come around the tech cost as well. And it made all the more sense to merge both apps because OTT as an industry is already very fragmented. You cannot have so many players competing with heavy content costs, high distribution costs and high tech costs, Taurani said.
“It's very clear that JioCinema just wants to go aggressively and chase market share for now, which is why they have offered the most premium content like sports free of cost.”
While speaking about how JioCinema will be able to capture a larger market share, Taurani said they are in a better position at the distribution level, wherein they have got a direct reach to the Jio customers, which other platforms don't have. “Others have to spend a hefty amount to get that reach and distribution,” he added.
Taurini believes that JioCinema has not left any stone unturned in terms of capturing the premium audience because they are offering the Indian Premier League (IPL) and HBO kind of content which is clicking well with the premium audience as well.
“SVOD as a base is something which is not scalable for JioCinema for now because the premium English content viewers are less than 3-4% of the total subscriber base for Hotstar. If they continue to offer premium content and the wider catalogue of premium content free, it is a big negative impact on SVOD revenues because SVOD revenue has got two legs of growth. One is subscriber edition and the second is ARPUs,” Taurani said.
“As far as pricing is concerned, with a wide variety of content, I think that execution has to be on track. The content needs to click and perform well whether it is original movies or web series. If all the content performs well, there is a potential to increase inventory and take price hikes as well, given the wide variety of catalogues and content that they have. Going forward, we will see JioCinema getting bundled with Jio Fibre and Jio Prime subscribers. So, content is going to be like a huge value add for the Fiber and the Jio mobile subscribers in our view,” he added.
Migration of subscribers
Promotional codes are being provided to users of Voot Select, allowing them to access JioCinema Premium subscriptions at no cost.
The merger of these two OTT apps has been under consideration for several months. Previously, media reports indicated that the merger between JioCinema and Voot was scheduled to take place after IPL 2023.
Voot has introduced a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help users comprehend the process of accessing Voot's content on JioCinema.
To redeem the promo code, one will have to visit JioCinema's website, log in with their mobile number, type a unique promo code in the 'Apply Promo Code' section and click 'Proceed' to activate your subscription on JioCinema. This information was found in one of the FAQs.
"We recommend continuing your Voot Select subscription on JioCinema as soon as you receive the promo code. While the Voot Select subscription will remain active for a short period, it will eventually lapse. In case the promo code is not redeemed before this happens, the promo code will expire," another FAQ stated.
The subscription of the promo code will at least be equal to the remaining validity of your Voot Select subscription. Also, the subscription on JioCinema will not auto-renew as on Voot Select. Subscriptions resulting from promo redemptions will not be recurring. This can be set up during the following renewal.
The Voot Select subscription will remain active for a short period and will soon be discontinued. Hence, we recommend that the promo be redeemed as soon as it is received.
Voot was originally the OTT platform of Viacom18. Their two subscription-based platforms are Voot Select and Voot Kids.
The merger between JioCinema and Viacom18 was approved by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in September last year. It also struck original content partnerships with HBO and NBCUniversal to bring their films and TV shows to India.