Eros Now targets to take total subscribers to 50 mn by March 2023

Topics Eros Now | OTT services | Cinema

Representational image of OTT services

Over the top (OTT) entertainment platform Eros Now is targeting to increase its subscriber base by nearly 14 million to 50 million by March 2023 and upping the content offerings to attract more customers, a top official said on Friday.

The OTT platform, along with its parent's theatrical arm, has invested $1 billion in content creation over the last five years and will continue investing, its chief executive Ali Hussein told PTI.

The platform, which had made its services free in the initial part of the lockdown, added 6.9 million subscribers in the first six months of the fiscal to get the total number of paying subscribers to 36.2 million as of September, he said.

We will continue to add subscribers and target to be at 50 million subscribers in the next 18-24 months or by March 2023, Hussein said, adding that the company will launch more marketing activities to increase the subscriber base like the free services during lockdown.

He said a large part of the new subscribers are coming from tier-3 and 4 cities in India and interested in watching original content in their native tongues, which has led the platform to announce the addition of 46 new titles in eight languages for 2021.

Hussein said big-budget content driven by highly paid actors does not work as good as content with strong storylines performed by lesser known talent. The platform's strategy will be driven by a similar understanding of the market, he said, adding that going ahead, the per unit cost of content will go down even as the overall volume of content goes up.

The company depends on subscriptions and in-content advertising for its revenue, he said, adding that it is testing a newer source of revenue generation at present.

Hussein said he expects the average revenue per user (ARPU) - which stands at Rs 49 at present - to be stable in the short term and go up over the medium to long term once the stickiness goes up.

At present, expansion in smaller cities is compressing the revenues, while the large screen viewing by families in their living rooms in bigger cities is helping to push the average revenue per user, he explained.

The diaspora audiences spread across the world are also a source of ARPU maximisation even though they form a small portion of the overall subscriber base, he said.

When asked about changing regulatory landscape, Hussein said the OTT platforms were governed by the IT Act earlier as well and hoped for the effective implementation of the newly introduced changes in 2021.

He said Eros has a legacy of family-oriented content and it is ultimately users who decide on what gets served through their preferences. Eros has also handled subjects like flesh trade, he added.

When asked about competing with major players like Netflix and Amazon, he said their presence helps increase the universe of content consumers.

The 46 titles include 13 original series and 33 film premieres across the eight languages, Hussein said, adding no new capital infusion will be required to produce the new shows as the company is getting revenues from subscribers.

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