Since its inception, Reliance Jio has been offering its content services such as JioTV, JioCinema, JioMusic and so on free to all its subscribers, but very soon, we might see Jio charging for the content services. At the moment, Jio is bundling content services with its prepaid, postpaid plans itself. For example, if a user recharges with the Rs 98 prepaid plan, then the company will also provide the free subscription to JioTV, JioCinema and all other services. But going forward, we might see Jio implementing a freemium model to its content services, under which it could start charging the customers for using content services.
Subscribers Unwilling to Pay for Previously Free Apps
The report comes out of Strategy Analytics which has highlighted in its report titled ‘Reliance Jio Targets Digital Content Leadership’ saying that Reliance Jio might be plotting to implement the freemium model for its applications. However, the firm said that since users have enjoyed free services of these applications since the beginning, there is bound to be some resistance down the path. Strategy Analytics said that it might be challenging for Reliance Jio to introduce such a thing. To note, the freemium model grants users the access to basic functionalities but to access the entire set of features; the user is required to pay an amount.
Jio to Take the Freemium Path for Jio Apps
The report by the Analytics firm further goes on to say that although Reliance Jio has amassed loyal following via its free offerings in the country, the user base of Reliance Jio might not be as dependable as the company thinks since the Analytics company does not expect the people to pay an amount up front to subscribe to these applications. The report said, “Identifying content that users are willing to pay for combined with business models and a user experience that resonates with target customer segments will be critical for successful monetization.”
Content Platforms Now a Different Competition
Brice Longnos, an analyst at Strategy Analytics also said that Reliance Jio has started a new stream of companies where the telecom operators are laying heavy focus on their content strategy as well. Something which the industry did not witness two years back. After the initiation of competition from Reliance Jio, more and more telecom operators are launching out their content platforms. The analyst said, “Jio’s competitors Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are being forced to react by beefing up their own content strategies.”
Reliance Jio Doubles Emphasis on Content
As per the experts’ opinion, the trend does not seem to be stopping since Reliance Jio is still growing in leaps and bounds in the content segment. The Mukesh Ambani led company has also recently merged its music streaming service, Jio Music, with Saavn to broaden its digital content portfolio. The telco has also stricken a deal with Eros International and seeks to integrate its digital platform with the OTT apps. Further, the company has partnered up with Roy Kapur Films for developing content for Jio branded apps. The telecom operator has also bought stakes in production houses and news channels.
Nitesh Patel, Director Wireless Media said: “Reliance Jio is investing in content and will expect its entertainment businesses to deliver revenue in the future.” He further added that willingness of the users to pay for the services which they are right now using for free is an important point to be factored in. The director further said that telecom operators could afford to do a better job regarding leveraging data from their subscribers and then they should move towards monetisation.
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.