Spuul fine-tuning its content strategy

MUMBAI: Movie streaming platform Spuul is fine-tuning its content strategy to remain fit in the high-stakes Indian over the top (OTT) market. On top of the platform’s agenda is to strengthen its regional content library by adding more languages.

The platform currently offers movies in Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, and Malayalam. It is now focussing on the Bhojpuri language as part of its strategy to reach out to larger audience base.

“In 2018, we will add more regional languages. We are adding a significant chunk of Bhojpuri content specifically for hinterland of India,” Spuul content head Girish Dwibhashyam told TelevisionPost.com.

Apart from Bhojpuri, the platform is planning to add Bengali content. Dwibhashyam reckons that the addition of Bengali content will not only allow it to tap the Bengali market but will also help it to target the Bengali diaspora in US and UK.

Spuul has seen huge consumption of Punjabi, Tamil, and Malayalam movies from the Indian diaspora. It expects similar traction for Bengali content from the diaspora.

“There is a reason we are selecting particular languages. We want to develop our strength in each of the vertical and languages and capitalise on our distribution which we can utilise in multiple territories. For instance, if we need Malayalam content then we can use that not only in Kerala but also in the Middle East where almost 60-70% of the population is Malayalis. There is an overlap of interest so we want to focus on those territories,” he explained.

Apart from expanding the library, the platform is also working on improving the user experience. Last year, it had launched recommendation engine and content discovery to increase consumption. This year, it is planning to further optimise the content curation as it expands into the regional market.

The movie streaming has partnerships with major telecom operators for carrier billing and mobile wallets for subscription payments. It is also eyeing tie-ups with Internet Service Providers (ISP) to expand reach.

“We will be focusing more on how to incentivise the consumer who uses wallets. We are also providing customers with an easy way of billing as they don’t have to use their credit card. This has really helped us to tap customers in Tier II and Tier III cities. We are also trying to partners to bundle our services with certain ISPs in multiple geographies. Partnering with ISPs comes with an advantage of reaching out to their customers, as well,” he stated.

Currently, Spuul has a movie library boasting more than 1000 move titles across four languages. It is planning to expand the library by adding more content this year and go beyond feature films. The movie streaming site is also toying with an idea of creating original content and is in talks with creators and producers.

In order to support these expansions, the company, which has so far relied on promoters for fund requirement, is also looking at strategic investors.

“We are exploring ways to carry the next round of expansion and execute certain plans which we are working now and talking to investors. I can’t share much but today it is more of finding the right opportunity and the right time,” he said.

Dwibhashyam also stated that the OTT industry has not reached a stage where customers are switching platforms or OTT platforms are fighting to get exclusive customers.

“Whether, its platform that is creating only original content or whether its Telecos getting into OTT, everyone today is trying to find their space where they are good at and has their target audience. We are at the early stage to say how the competition is impacting. For now, at least with Spuul, we are fine-tuning what content is available or that has scope for monetisation or to figure which audience is to be reached. We believe that this is a fine-tuning phase,” he noted.

Apart from India, Spuul also sees consumption from international markets such as Australia, Middle East, Cannada, US, UK, Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand.

Dwibhashyam also said that the international consumers tend to subscribe to annual packages more as opposed to Indian customers who generally opt for monthly packs or half-monthly pack.

Talking about the TG, he noted that the TG changes from market to market. In some markets, it gets good traction from the youth while in certain markets the 35+ individuals have a greater affinity towards the platform.

“In India, our audience is spread across demographics, age group, and language. Our audiences are not millennial but a slightly older audience. In Australia, US, Canada and Newzealand large set of our users are above 35 but in the territory like the Middle East, we see consumption coming from millennials,” he stated.

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