Info-tech

‘Eros Now is past its break-even point and is profitable’

Rashmi Pratap Mumbai | Updated on September 07, 2018 Published on September 07, 2018

RISHIKA LULLA, CEO, Eros Digital

Being an early entrant tothe OTT space has helped Eros Now garner subscribers, revenues as well as market share. BusinessLine caught up with Rishika Lulla, CEO, Eros Digital, on what makes Eros Now India’s highest grossing platform and how will her company maintain the numero uno position amid the onslaught of competition from national and international players. Excerpts:

Eros Now has emerged as the highest grossing OTT platform in the first half of 2018, according to app market data company App Annie. What factors helped you achieve this?

There are a couple of things on that front. Most other platforms are more A-VOD (Ad-based Video-on-demand) and T-VOD (transactional video-on-demand) driven, but we are clear about being S-VOD (subscription) driven from the very beginning. We are focussed on our subscriber goals and that has helped. And we are clear in our distribution strategy. We went for the telco distribution strategy and continue to grow that side of our business well. So it’s the distribution we’ve managed to build across India and internationally as well as being subscription-driven that has helped us.

But the common perception is that people don’t want to pay for content...

Majority of other OTT services in place are an extension of what is happening on television. If you are paying for something that is also on TV, then how will you get a share of the consumer wallet and mind-space? But if you’re promising an experience beyond that, you can actually get the customer into your ecosystem. We have the largest library with over 11,000 movies, music, TV shows, short form content, and upcoming originals as well. Also, we have deliberately priced our offerings at ₹50 and ₹100, which is affordable.

Isn’t this pricing on the lower side?

We want broad and deep penetration in India and in order to do that, we have to be priced in a certain way. We did a lot of extensive on ground market research to come up with this pricing. And it has really worked for us.

The competition is increasing in the market. How long do you think you can hold on to the top spot? Don’t you feel threatened by competition?

I think what helps is that we are the baby of the studio. If you have over 60 theatrical releases a year and a library of over 11,000 as well as originals, you are able to keep the consumer engaged. And because obviously we own the content that is released theatrically, we are able to control the rendering and retain certain exclusivity, which retains the premiumness of the brand.

What is your subscriber base, per subscriber revenue and how do you see the numbers growing going forward?

We have a community of over 113 million users of which over 10.1 million are monthly paid subscribers.

Our India ARPU is sitting at about $5 while International is between $35 and $40. Eros now is past its break-even point and is profitable and we look forward to continue penetrating across cities.

We have a 50-city penetration and we look forward to growing that to 100 this financial year.

What kind of investments will be pumped into Eros Now this fiscal?

We are looking at about $50-70 million in originals over the next 12 to 18 months. A lot of investment in terms of technology, infrastructure, people, has already been done.

And because we did enter in 2012, a lot of those investments have already taken care of themselves.

What’s working better in the Indian market – paid or free content model? And which one will win finally?

I feel the free model has actually taken off in India because there hasn’t been an alternative.

But if you look at the US and other western markets, they’ve managed to amass paid subscriber base and create a war in terms of who’s cutting the cord in each household because people are willing to pay the subscription due to the content, its quality and the sheer scale. That is what we see eventually playing out in the Indian market also.

Published on September 07, 2018
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