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Eros Now is aiming for 50 million paid subscribers in the next 18-24 months, CEO Ali Hussein tells us his strategy for making it a reality
Eros Now last week announced its content slate for 2021 which include 33 film premieres and 13 original seriesEros Now
Eros Now has also launched a campaign featuring Ayushmann Khurrana and Kartik Aaryan
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Eros Now is aiming for 50 million paid subscribers in the next 18-24 months, CEO Ali Hussein tells us his strategy for making it a reality

Eros Now has also launched a campaign featuring Ayushmann Khurrana and Kartik Aaryan
  • Eros Now last week announced its massive content slate for 2021 which includes 33 film premieres and 13 original series. It will offer a range of program formats in languages including Malayalam, Gujarati, Marathi, and Hindi amongst others.
  • We speak to Ali Hussein, CEO, Eros Now who walks us through his roadmap for bringing 50 million paid subscribers onto the platform within the next 2 years and his key areas of focus for 2021.
Roughly a month after announcing it had added roughly 6.9 million net new paid subscriber additions over the past six months (as of September 30, 2020), Ali Hussein, CEO, Eros Now said that the platform has set its sights on touching 50 million paid users from the current 36.2 million in the next 18-24 months.

Last week, the platform also announced its content slate for 2021, with 46 new titles including 33 film premieres and 13 original series. It will offer a range of program formats in languages including Malayalam, Gujarati, Marathi, and Hindi amongst others. Additionally, Eros Now will debut 30 new Quickies and 10 new short films.

To understand the platform’s growth strategy and its larger plans for the upcoming year, we caught up with Hussein who gave us a sneak peek into all the Eros Now is up to.

Thought behind Eros Now’s 2021 content slate

Eros Now which is the over-the-top platform of motion picture production and distribution company Eros International already has a rich repository of films under its banner thereby giving Eros Now a strong content library.

With the lockdown, more and more people opened up to experimenting with different digital content platforms and Eros Now, which also on-boarded around 6.9 million paid subscribers during the lockdown months now want to ensure their users get something extra on their platform.

“Our strategy is actually quite simple, we will roughly look at one movie premiere every week and we will also look at 1-2 big budget originals. India is a diverse country and its difficult to predict what people like to watch. Hence, we will offer a combination of content like originals that will drive the younger audiences who have the propensity to pay a subscription price, leading to more episodic behavior. We will also have movie premieres of theatrical scale that will create a deeper penetration both among regional and mass audiences.”

The platform has also launched a campaign - #KahaaniHarRangKi, based on insights derived from Eros Now’s proprietary user data, and is customized to satisfy the demand of Eros Now’s target audience in the Indian and global diaspora. The promo features Ayushmann Khurrana and Kartik Aaryan and has already created a buzz on social media.

Factors that gave a boost to Eros Now

The lockdown has led to a behavioural change where consumers no longer mind spending on content that they like. However, there is a lot of clutter in the OTT space with many global players spending big bucks on both content and promotions.

So what are the factors that have helped Eros Now woo consumers and bring them to their platform? “When new content was not being launched on television, people started sampling content on different platforms. People realized that Eros Now had a rich collection of movies including Badlapur, Tanu Weds Manu, Bajirao Mastani etc and then suddenly people started watching movies sequentially. So films is one of the core areas where we differentiate ourselves because the rest of the ecosystem is a combination of maybe Hollywood and some Indian originals. But the largest slate of films is only available on Eros Now. So a lot of people broke the inertia and went through the learning curve of understanding how to use the platforms. Secondly, we kept launching a lot of packaging. We resurfaced some of the older catalog with interesting mash-ups. It was more about remarketing to our customers in terms of the depth of the catalog and that enabled discovery. We also did a few shows which were completely shot during the lockdown and those did well too,” explained Hussein. Eros Now had also removed the paywall in the initial days of the lockdown which also helped introduce a lot of new users to the platform, he added.

Apart from providing varied content, Eros Now has also been strengthening its technology side to ensure that consumers get the best experience, which is also ensuring long-term stickiness.

Eros Now’s expansion plans

The platform has been steadily building its global presence and is already available in the US, UK and Canada through Apple TV Channels. It is also available in China and the Middle East and Southeast Asia. “We've been spending a lot of time and resource in aggregating international audiences and that will continue to be a significant trend for us as a brand,” he shared.

He also added that owning to the popularity of Indian content in markets like the Middle East or Southeast Asia, the next step is looking at how we get more local. “Our aim would not be to take our learnings and data sciences to maybe develop more crossover or hybrid programming for these markets and become more local. That will be a big theme for us in 2021, getting into 2022,” he said.

On what his overarching focus is going to be for the upcoming year, to take Eros Now to the next level, Hussein said, “One clear area of focus for us is going to be technology, because that's a clear differentiator of how we operate and distinguish ourselves in the ecosystem. Secondly, we will keep focusing on our content. Along with the announcement of our content slate for 2021, we will also have a few more announcements for the first half of 2021, when we will talk about our studio slate. Also, due to our merger with STX Filmworks, we will be bringing a fairly interesting strategy on English programming on Eros Now, which is a first for us. So content and experiences for customers in India will be a big part of 2021. And our final focus area will be international expansion.”

While not revealing the whole story, he also shared that the platform might soon expand to Africa.