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Business News/ Companies / News/  Bigg Boss helps JioCinema limit viewership loss post IPL
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Bigg Boss helps JioCinema limit viewership loss post IPL

The platform says it has sustained much engagement thanks to Bigg Boss OTT

JioCinema has seen a 20% dip in viewership levels basis monthly active users after the IPL peak in April and May. (HT)Premium
JioCinema has seen a 20% dip in viewership levels basis monthly active users after the IPL peak in April and May. (HT)

JioCinema, the video streaming service owned by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd, has seen a 20% dip in viewership levels basis monthly active users after the IPL (Indian Premier League) peak in April and May, according to media and entertainment industry experts tracking the platform. However, the company points out that while services would normally expect a 70-80% drop once a tentpole property gets over, the platform has sustained much engagement thanks to the reality show Bigg Boss OTT which has performed on par with typical monthly viewership for a Hindi GEC (general entertainment channel) show, having recorded more than 100 million viewers over the season and 30 billion minutes of watch time. That said, the churn remains high and quality content low as the platform launches two to three new titles every week.

“Our primary focus was to sustain post the IPL. It was such a huge property that helped us build a large funnel of viewers but what we’ve managed post that has been very encouraging. A key driver of the same has been Bigg Boss OTT 2," said a senior executive at the platform who declined to be named. The show is garnering impressive viewership on mobile as well as larger TV sets, the person added, with 42-43% of all of viewers interacting either through voting or other activities. The finale of the show, on Monday, was live streamed by 23 million viewers with peak concurrency of 7.2 million.

The platform that is betting big on non-fiction, calls the reality show the largest entertainment property on digital. Other than that, removing the barrier of paywall has helped shows like Asur 2.

According to data from Data.ai, a mobile data and analytics platform, monthly active users for JioCinema stood at 221 million for June 2023, compared to 232 million for MX Player and 716 million for YouTube. Daily active users stood at 35.2 million for JioCinema compared to 56.8 million for MX Player.

Shailesh Kapoor, founder and CEO of media consulting firm Ormax, said JioCinema platform has disrupted the OTT category in India, by offering free content in high volumes. “It started with IPL, but since then, the platform has come out with almost two to three films or series every week," he said.

“What JioCinema has managed is to change the rules of the game, and force other platforms to consider the AVoD option more seriously than before. MX Player was also operating in this space, with many launches last year. But JioCinema has sports, and some of their shows and films feature mainline Bollywood stars, which makes their proposition even more compelling," Kapoor said. However, the platform will have to build a strong product from a tech perspective, so that user experience does not become a barrier going forward, Kapoor added.

To be sure, some media industry experts are quick to point out challenges for the service even though content flow and sampling are strong. “Customer churn is quite high, about 40% viewers are estimated to have deleted the app post the IPL. While they are in the process of transitioning Voot subscribers at the moment, buzz and quality content remain low," said a media analyst declining to be named.

Other than keeping track of what is actually working in the maze of content they continually put out, JioCinema will have to focus on social media marketing, said Karan Taurani, senior vice-president at Elara Capital Ltd. He estimated that the platform’s paid user base would be less than a million at the moment and not all of Disney+ Hotstar’s subscribers would migrate immediately. “While they need a wide mix, they will have to be slow and steady with content," Taurani said.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lata Jha
Lata writes about the media and entertainment industry for Mint, focusing on everything from traditional film and TV to newer areas like video and audio streaming, including the business and regulatory aspects of both. She loves movies and spends a lot of her free time in theatres, which makes her job both fun and a bit of a challenge given that entertainment news often just talks about the glamorous side of things. Lata, on the other hand, tries to find and report on themes and trends in the entertainment world that most people don't notice, even though a lot of people in her country are really into movies. She’s a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.
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Published: 15 Aug 2023, 11:01 PM IST
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