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Anil Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment invests in digital media firm, launches multilingual entertainment app

MUMBAI: To cater to what it considers a need gap for digital content in local languages, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Entertainment has announced a new investment in a digital media content and distribution company called FunOnGo Media & Entertainment.

Founded by Vijay Singh and Ujjwal Narayan, FunOnGo was launched today and its first offering is an entertainment Android app called Chillx.

Chillx is being positioned as a complete entertainment-based platform offering content in 10 languages, namely Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi and English. It will offer movies, short-form content and games. The revenue model is a mix of advertising and premium content. Premium content will include some movies as well as games.

The app will give consumers choice in terms of languages, entertainment formats, genres, as well as payment mechanisms. The app promises to be a digital entertainment departmental store offering a mix of games, music, viral videos and clips, entertainment news, short films and full-length movies. The company is also looking to crowd-source content across different genres. The key markets are Tier II and III towns and cities.

According to Reliance Entertainment CEO of content syndication Sweta Agnihotri, smartphone penetration is growing and that presents the opportunity. The other opportunity is that 48% of the country’s population is below the age of 25.

“While apps downloaded are mostly in line with global popularity, interest in content consumption in regional languages is high. We see smartphone screen as a fantastic gateway to the consumer and our cross-functional team will leverage its understanding of content and industry relationships to amplify value offering to the consumer,” Agnihotri clarified.

She noted that there are about 7,000 pieces of content out of which 700–800 are movies. The South Indian film industry accounts for almost 50% of movies made. “Entertainment is moving towards digital. Currently, rural India uses the internet to keep in touch. But with infrastructure, preferences would become more skewed towards entertainment. Smartphones are becoming the primary device for consumption of content.

“By 2020 India’s Internet users will almost double to 730 million and the majority of new users (75%) will consume content in local languages. No app in the market offers a complete solution that includes offerings like games. There is not much content in the regional space. The digital landscape has changed our lives. We check our phones every 10 minutes. One in 10 internet users posts videos online. One in three are online while watching TV,” she added.

Chillx contains a games section, with several premium games available on a try and buy basis. The portal also lists and recommends apps for Indian users depending on their usage habits. The SVOD service costs Rs 49 a month for SD and Rs 99 for HD.

FunOnGo Media & Entertainment CEO Vijay Singh said that the first phase is to target 30 million handsets. To this end, the company has tied up with Intex, Micromax, Karbonn and Lava.

“We have 100 content partners. This endeavour allows us to widen the scope of consumer engagement on a scale that is possible only when you are a part of India’s leading entertainment conglomerate like Reliance Entertainment,” Singh said.

Chillx’ short-form content will be in genres like lifestyle, DIY and fitness, he added.

Reliance Entertainment COO Shibasish Sarkar said, “Digital platforms are encouraging a wider audience with diverse consumption patterns. This calls for innovative approach in the manner we produce and present our content. The launch of Chillx is in line with our business vision.”

He added that the name Chillx came about through a dipstick. The brand is about relaxing, chilling and enjoying entertainment and games. Agnihotri also said it is a cool name to have with the youth.

The approach that makes Chillx relevant to partners and consumers alike are:

(a) Accessibility : Chillx is distributed to consumers via three routes; On device with select Indian OEMs, side-loaded at telecom retail stores, and on Google Play Store.

(b) Connectivity: Chillx offers both online streaming and download options

(c) Usability: Convenience to customise the user interface in multiple Indian languages.

(d) Simplicity: Free and premium content is available on Chillx. For paid content Chillx has integrated telecom billing option.