Times Internet’s online video service BoxTV had gone live for public access earlier this year. BoxTV is a service that allows users to watch a range of content from Hollywood and Bollywood movies to TV shows to short films. It also offers a wide selection of regional content in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Bhojpuri and Bengali.The company claims to have more than 50 million views since launch and says that on an average, over 100,000 unique users are daily accessing the site. Genres like romance, action and drama top the charts at BoxTv with trailing interest in genres like thriller, history, comedy, suspense, family, children and crime. To understand more about BoxTv’s growth, prevailing trends and future plans, YourStory spoke to BoxTV business head Pandurang Nayak. Edited excerpts:
Tell us about so far journey of BoxTV in terms of number of TV shows and movies uploaded and watched by users on the platform including average time spent.
Currently our content catalogue has about 17,000 hours of content which we intend to grow with additional new content which is being acquired and ingested each month.
Which categories contributes maximum impression (# of watch) from consumers across TV shows and movies in India and abroad?
Full-length free movies are currently contributing to the maximum number of impressions as we are promoting those in a big way across platforms. In terms of genres, romance, action and drama top the charts, with trailing interest in genres like thriller, history, comedy, suspense, family, children and crime.Typically, cricket and Bollywood constitute 80-90% of video’s impression in India on mobile across all platforms. Do you foresee some other categories catching users’ interest?
Full-length Hollywood movies, English TV shows, foreign films, and content that is not easily accessible or available through traditional channels are the other content that we host on our platform which is gaining rapid adoption across platforms. Also, we received many requests to host specialty content like the shows and documentaries from National Geographic Channel which we foresee as another emerging content category.
Over the past one year, BoxTv had partnered with content providers such as Sony Pictures Television and Disney UTV, UTV Motion Pictures, Shemaroo Entertainment and Rajshri Entertainment. How have these partnerships been faring up?
All our partnerships are faring rather well in terms of consumption and have encouraged us to acquire more content from newer partners. We share detailed reports with our partners giving them insights on what content gets consumed, and work closely with them for marketing campaigns to maximise their consumption. Partners have given us great feedback on our transparent reporting mechanism that enables them to get detailed insights on how the platform is treating their content.
BoxTv also offers content across regional languages such as Tamil, Telugu and six other languages. Which are the top three regional languages (in terms of video watch) at BoxTv?
Regional content consumption is largely lead by Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu videos – also because these have large quantity of movies on the service currently. We expect to increase the content in all our regional languages over time and expect that every language will have its own niche audience.
Give some sense about new trends emerging in mobile tv and movie watching space.
Some of the key trends that are emerging in the online video space - Most viewers are consuming content online followed by smartphones and tablets, the consumption is prominently male-dominated but the gap between male-female consumption is closing, the age group which consumes most content is 15-24 year old males with popular genre of content consumption being Romance, Action and Drama.
Also devices are playing a major role in the consumption of content. It is always going to be unnatural to do premium, lean-back viewing from a computer/laptop. So tablets and mobiles are growing rapidly as preferred means of consumption. This will further move towards TV-connected devices, such as EvoTV – on which you can watch BoxTV today – or Smart TVs. Some of these platforms are still in very niche stages with not enough industry standards for content protection or optimised streaming technologies, but that is changing very fast.
What are BoxTv’s future and expansion plan? How big is the team?
Our number one priority for 2013 is to build a user base and provide our subscribers with the best of entertainment. We want to also enhance the product, make it available on more devices, continuously look at user behaviour and better the experience, etc. We are a small close-knit team of about 20 people which includes complete in-house development and design team for our web and device platforms.
In which ways does BoxTv generate revenue?
BoxTV is a freemium service with both an advertiser-supported free-to-user model and more premium content behind a subscription pay-wall. We are also working on introducing other revenue models that will be announced later this year. In India, the introductory subscription price is Rs 199 per month; this varies in other parts of the world, for example, in the US the introductory subscription price is US$4.99 per month.