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How Mirchi Is Making Inroads Into The Digital Audio Streaming Space After being involved in the music and entertainment space for the last 20 years, Mirchi has now made inroads in the digital audio streaming space with the launch of its mobile application.

By Kabir Singh Bhandari

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Mirchi Plus

After being involved in the music and entertainment space for the last 20 years, Mirchi has now made inroads in the digital audio streaming space with the launch of its mobile application. As a multi-format, multi-content, hyperlocal brand Mirchi has curated its app to cater to different markets by featuring content in various regional languages on the app.

Mirchi Plus is a full-fledged entertainment app which offers entertainment in multiple formats like audio, video, and text. The biggest section of content on the app, and the current focus area is audio content. There are hundreds of audio stories across 10 languages and genres like romance, horror, drama, mystery, and thriller among others that you'll find in the audio section. The differentiating factor for is that each of these stories are hand-picked.

"The biggest story that we have launched so far is called '1000 crore ki laash', which is voiced by the brilliant Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The fascinating storyline and narration keep the audience on the edge-of-their-seats. We also offer a lot of humor content under the comedy genre, the biggest of which is 'Mirchi Murga' - a 10-million views per creative kind of property," said Prashant Panday, MD and CEO, ENIL (Mirchi).

Mirchi Plus also offers a lot of video content featuring some of their biggest shows like 'What Women Want featuring Kareena Kapoor Khan,' and 'Shape of You featuring Shilpa Shetty'.' In addition to video, there is a whole lot of text entertainment content. All the latest gossip and news from the entertainment industry is available on the app. All of these sections are updated regularly.

But what sort of a role shall the app play in the brand's business and marketing plans?

"Mirchi's business is made up of three components. First, there's FM radio, which now accounts for about 2/3rds of our revenues. Then there is the 'Solutions' business, which is how we provide ideas and execution to advertisers for their unique marketing challenges. Finally, there's digital. Of the 1/3rd which is not radio, Solutions is about 20-25% and digital about 8-10%. So far, our digital business has been about creating content for external digital platforms and monetizing the same via ad spends," explained Panday. For example, they are very big on YouTube with nearly 14 million subscribers as well as on Facebook and Instagram with millions of followers. In June 2022, they got 100 million views on YouTube.

The main challenge which Panday foresees, like on any other app, is attracting users. "If users are attracted by spending an unending stream of marketing dollars, then those users tend to be fickle, and they exit quickly. Users attracted organically, on the back of content tend to be sticky users. So, the biggest challenge is attracting a large number of committed loyal users," he said.

In order to achieve this, they shall need to produce some great quality content. While this is their strength, it is still a challenge because there is so much good content available already. But the advantage they have is that high-quality vernacular audio content is in short supply. Finally, ofcourse, there will be the task of managing the profit and loss because initial spends on launching an app tend to be very high.

But will we see Mirchi becoming a digital first company soon? According to estimates, 60-80-100 million users consume Mirchi content monthly on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. But the number of FM radio listeners monthly is probably only around 50-55 million. So, in that sense, they are already digital-first. Panday says being digital-first really means thinking digital-first. "Today, when my creative team makes content, it makes it in multiple formats – audio, video, and text. Today, we have inhouse team for video production, direction and editing. Earlier, we only had talent with audio skills," he explains. They have at least 75 people in their creative team who have worked with video products in the past. The sales team is also digital-first as they have experience in selling radio, social media, YouTube, external OTTs like Gaana, Google, etc.

Kabir Singh Bhandari

Former Senior Assistant Editor

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