Times Internet-owned MX Player plans to launch 20+ original web shows in 2019

MUMBAI: Times Internet-owned over the top (OTT) platform MX Player is making an aggressive play into the crowded online entertainment space. The platform is planning to launch 20+ original web shows in 2019. Five of these shows will go live on 20th February 2019.

The five MX Original Series will appeal to different audiences across varied geographies. The web shows include ‘Aafat’, ‘Hey Prabhu’, ‘ImMature, A TVF Creation’, ‘Lots of Love’ (in Tamil and Telugu), and chat show ‘Famously Filmfare’.

The platform will explore several genres including comedy, drama, satire, chat shows and historical sagas for its original web content.

“We are targeting more than 20 original shows this year,” MX Player CEO Karan Bedi told TelevisionPost.com.

Last year, Times Internet had acquired a majority stake in MX Player for Rs 1000 crore. With a brand philosophy of ‘Everytainment’, the platform hosts a library of over 1 lakh hours of licensed content that caters to 70 million users every day.

The ad-supported platform streams premium content for free. It offers viewers an online content hub ranging across web series, TV Shows, movies, sports, and news. It has partnered with content creators and platforms like SonyLIV, ALTBalaji, TVF, and Arre.

Bedi said that the vision is to build an entertainment platform that caters to every entertainment need of the discerning viewer and this starts from playing a video in any format and extends to watching stories across every genre and even listening to music for every mood.

“As more people move towards consuming content online, we want to create digital-first stories that appeal not only to the urban audiences but also much beyond. We have collaborated with some of the best talents in the industry to create our slate of MX Originals that will bring us a step closer to becoming the go-to destination for entertainment in India. We have a huge amount of content across many stories, genres. We say play hard, play smart, play nice, play naughty. We have got something for everyone,” he stated.

Talking about the brand philosophy, Bedi said ‘Everytainment’ is the core of the product and combines not just all forms of entertainment but also caters top content for every season, every reason, every occasion and most importantly every mood.

“We showcase films, web series, sports and news and with our original programming we are exploring various new genres spanning satire, drama, comedy, chat shows, historical sagas, biopics, big-ticket reality shows and more across multiple languages. The new music tab on our platform will allow viewers to stream music powered by Gaana on the same app and has made us the one stop shop for all things entertainment,” he added.

Bedi said that the five new originals being launched by champion diverse stories ranging a wide spectrum. Bedi also noted that the company will look at having interactivity in some shows and subsequently a quiz show will be launched that will feature interactivity.

He is also excited about ‘Queen’ an upcoming show that is under production to be released this year about an iconic powerful female political leader who ruled both with benevolence and with an iron hand. There is another show that uses VFX, visuals and a tight narrative incorporating drama, romance and espionage.

MX Player chief content officer Gautam Talwar said that the platform wants to make sure that the content that is put out appeals to every kind of need state or mood.

“The lens through which we want to see our content is through the lens of culture. We want every single piece of content that we put out there to become conversation starters. People must talk about our content. People must understand something more through our content. What we want to do is participate in popular culture. We want to participate, engage and create popular culture. We have created a cultural portal through which there will be a free exchange of ideas and stories between us and our consumers. Once you get to this portal the most important part is what we put on the app. We will put out shows that will bridge this cultural portal between us and our consumers.”

MX Player, Bedi said, has a user base of 275 million monthly active users. Every month nearly 300 million people use the app and every day nearly 100 million use it. “In India we have 175 million people use the app. There are 70 million daily active users which puts us well ahead in the ranks of the ecosystem. We have 650 million downloads globally which is twice the population of the United States and we are present in one out of every two smartphones in India.”

Times Internet chief strategy officer Vivek Jain noted that the belief is that people mainly consume short-form content on the mobile. This, he said, is very far from the truth as people consume web series, movies, TV shows on MX Player. The average time spent on the MX Player app is 40 minutes which he said is significantly higher than all the other OTT platforms and the industry average is 27 minutes.

He added that MX Player has taken video engineering to the next level. This means that users do not have to wait for videos to buffer even if the network might be poor or fluctuating. Videos load in less than one second.

The company has focussed on building better compression algorithms to optimise streaming on the top of global compression standards like H-265. To further enhance the user experience the app comes with features like adjusting volume and screen brightness on the go while streaming, vertical trailers for special shows and offline playback features which allows users to download content and view without an Internet connection.

The app has been built keeping in mind low to high-end devices. He noted that most Indian users have 1 GB data pack. On MX Player, one can stream five hours of content and see more compared to 2.5 hours that one would normally do.

He also said that MX Player captures four billion data points every month which is massive in scale. This allows the company to provide a very rich, very personalised experience. A different experience is provided for every user. The content, product and tech teams are working to offer immersive, engaging experiences and this includes interactive content.

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