Startups like PressPlay fuel the Evolution of in-bus Entertainment

By January 24th, 2016 AT 10:06 AM

Most of us enjoy the freedom of being able to access content, be it related to work or personal, through our own devices. This had led to the evolution of what is known as BYOD or Bring Your Own Devicein businesses, especially the IT sector. Pervasion of smart devices has also resulted in innovative entertainment solutions being made available to travellers. In-flight entertainment is not just limited to flights anymore but can be found in several long distance buses, thanks to offerings from startups. 

Evolution of in-bus Entertainment

Looking at how in-bus entertainment has changed over the years, more so in long distance, overnight journey sectors – 

  1. In the 1990s it used to Video Coach Vs. non-video coaches
  2. In early 2000s came Volvo buses, which literally changed the way Indians travel. Since then Indians are used to Volvo’s comfortable Air-conditioned coaches with LED TVs. Once longer buses came into picture, coaches started getting equipped with two (Volvo B9R) or three (Volvo B11R) televisions.
  3. Since then we have welcomed Mercedes-Benz and Scania too.

Frequent travellers in long-distance routes are used to watching the same movie during every journey. In the case of travel with the same operator, one might end up watching the same flick during both onward and return journeys. At times, passengers request for change of movie but end up watching some already watched movie. To overcome this, many passengers even carry movies, TV shows loaded on phones, laptops etc.

This perennial situation is now slowly changing with startups venturing into in-bus entertainment space. The predominant ones here are TouringTalkies, PressPlay and Dwingloo. In one of my recent journeys, I got a chance to experience PressPlay services.

This sticker beckons passengers to try out PressPlay –IMG_20160119_200311345

Once after connecting to the WiFi hotspot and navigating to the URL, users are prompted to save and install the APK file. This can alternatively be acquired from Google’s Play Store. Soon after the application installation, you are all set to enjoy the content.

Here are some screenshots –

Screenshot_2016-01-19-20-20-29 Screenshot_2016-01-19-20-19-35

My Experience

  1. There was absolutely no buffering and movie started to play instantly
  2. I even had the choice to download the movie. I tried downloading one but it failed for some strange reason, not once but twice. However, the download was fast with estimated download time of ~10 minutes.
  3. You won’t be charged for internet usage, unless you choose to install the application from Play Store
  4. Battery consumption of smart devices was not a problem since buses these days are equipped with charging facilities.
  5. I felt that the catalog was limited but I hope that it will change as user base grows in size and content creators view the platform as a significant contributor.

Our Take

  1. In-bus entertainment solutions are a step in the right direction and passengers would certainly like to explore the options.
  2. 100% legal content – good for content creators as they get their rightful revenue share
  3. Bus operators who implement such solutions will gain from increased occupancy as passengers would love to have a choice w.r.t. entertainment.
  4. The introduction of ad slots can mean increased revenues for all involved parties. At the same time, passengers would not YouTube kind of banner ads at the bottom for free and quality content.
  5. There is also scope to provide premium content in the form of newly released movies, song downloads in open formats etc. TouringTalkies reportedly offers a premium tier.

Did you use any in-bus entertainment solution? How was your experience and do you have any suggestions on how they can be improved?

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