Viacom18's Voot to start premium subscription by the end of 2019

Topics Viacom18 | Viacom18 Media | voot

Viacom18’s video-streaming platform Voot will start a subscription-based model by the end of this calendar year, to monetise its growing user base. The OOT platform launched Colors Telugu on Wednesday, as part of its focus on regional play.

Voot gets around 4 per cent of its monthly active users (MAUs) from Andhra Pradesh, and is looking to leverage on the 80-million plus Telugu-speaking audience. The content line-up will include Voot Originals, popular Hindi and regional Viacom18 intellectual properties (IPs), and a massive library of over 150 Telugu movies. Colors Telugu is set to go live on September 23. 

Gourav Rakshit, chief operating officer of Viacom18 Digital Ventures, said that with the 13th season of Big Boss coming up, the firm expects at least 50 per cent jump in MAUs, over the next three months. At present, Voot has 55 million MAUs. The 100 million views recorded by the recent instalment of Big Boss Marathi has come as shot in the arm. 

Voot has already crossed the 100 billion watch-minutes mark in three years, and is now targeting 100 million MAUs this financial year. 

With an average 50 minutes per-day engagement, Voot feels the time is opportune to monetise its base. Rakshit said a subscription model — in line with the industry pricing — will be rolled out by the end of 2019. 

"From a subscription point of view, we will initially go with Hindi content. Once that is established, we will expand into the regional space. The proposition will be tailored around Hindi originals, initially," said Rakshit. 

"We are talking to partners, telcos, and original equipment manufacturers," Rakshit added, speaking about plans to expand distribution. 

Reliance Jio is also expected to go for bundling of broadband packages with over-the-top (OTT) platforms.  

Voot's rival Zee5 has over 56 million MAUs while Hotstar has over 300 million, both of which have subscription models. 

Akash Banerji, head of the advertising video on demand (AVoD) business, said: “Regional has also become the new national and plays a decisive role in the outreach strategy of brands. Our presence in the segment allows us to serve our existing advertisers better and also tap into new region-specific advertisers, thereby broadening our customer base.”

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