The platform is expected to earn at least 15-20% of the company's total ad revenue.
In 2020, Connected TV (CTV) subscriptions stood at a mere five million subscribers. It quickly doubled to 10 million in 2021. As per the EY-FICCI report, ‘Tuning into consumer - Indian M&E rebounds with a customer-centric approach’, it is estimated to become 20 million by 2025.
Preparing itself for this boom, last month, QYOU Media launched QPlay, a direct-to-consumer app, featuring content from its television channels. Through QPlay, QYOU Media aims to reach out to the cord-cutters beyond the metro cities.
The platform currently carries QYOU Media India’s five channels – The Q, Q Marathi, The Q Kahaniyan, The Q Comedistaan and the most recently launched Q GAMEX. All channels feature curated content from social/digital media stars.
Krishna Menon, chief operating officer, QYOU Media India, says it is targeting both the existing TV audiences and also reaching out to a new audience base that consumes digital content.
"For the existing audience, QPlay gives them the freedom to watch its TV channels on any device – phone, tablet, etc., from anywhere – while travelling or at home. We are also trying to reach out to a new audience set that doesn't watch TV anymore and is leaning towards the digital."
These channels cater to the youth beyond the metro cities, where there is limited digital access. They aim to bridge the gap through their content. Their shows include sketch comedy, food shows hosted by popular digital creators, animation and lifestyle/travel shows.
Menon says the app is catering to the audience that is shifting to digital. But if they have limited digital access, how will they consume QPlay content?
"We are packaging the existing TV offering for the app. Currently, there is no video-on-demand. It is only the live channels playing on the app. Even though the Internet penetration is not great in these non-metro cities, the bandwidth required for this content is far less, as compared to VOD. The bandwidth is more compatible for live streaming, than pulling content from the cloud."
Menon believes that 5G will make it easier for the platform to reach out to people.
QPlay is yet to start advertising. It recently partnered with Amagi to grow its viewership and ad-based revenue in India. It also relies on Amagi’s dynamic ad insertion (DAI) solution with advanced analytics - Amagi THUNDERSTORM - to monetise its content effectively.
"Advertisers are still looking at platforms where there are paid subscribers. They have started experimenting with free platforms. But the interest is yet to mature to a level where they can add us to their campaigns. It is more of a push, than a pull, strategy."
Menon expects that by next Diwali, at least 20-30% of the ad spends would be allocated for CTVs. He hopes that the platform will earn at least 15-20% of ad revenues, as compared to television earnings.
"This won't be from the TV ad spends, it will come under the digital header."
QYOU Media aims to launch at least 10-15 Free Ad-supported Streaming TV (FAST) channels over the next one year.
"We are on the cusp of explosion, when it comes to CTVs in India. This entire ecosystem will become a big play over the next one year. We want to ensure that by the time it reaches its peak, we should have at least 10-15 FAST channels. We are working on channels on social commerce, food, travel, etc. Over the next 2-3 months, we are hoping to launch a couple of channels," Menon adds.