Jungo TV bets on free content

To unveil video streaming app Jungo+ in India this month.

Updated - February 10, 2021 11:04 pm IST

Published - February 10, 2021 11:00 pm IST - NEW DELHI

American media and entertainment firm Jungo TV, which plans to bring its video streaming application Jungo+ to India this month, is looking to leverage ad-supported, free, niche content to compete in the market that already has about 40 players.

The company has also set a roadmap to export Indian content, albeit with slight modification, to its users the world over, its CEO George Chung told The Hindu .

“It is a very crowded market. But one of the things that the research has showed us is that pricing of the content makes a big difference. In our case, the content is completely ad-supported, so it’s free for users. With this, we believe we can reach a larger audience,” Mr Chung said.

He added that the company would also focus on a ‘passion-centric’ audience. “We are extremely targeted.” Jungo + already has an audience of about 25 million in India for its channel on combat sports, which is mixed martial arts. Likewise, for K-pop, there is an audience of over 35 million people and for eSports, about 30 million.

“We also have the first international LGBT channel which sees an audience of 10-15 million people alone. When we look at those audiences and put them together, those numbers can add up to over 100 million people, but they’re divided into very deep verticals,” he said.

Replying to a query, Mr. Chung said to grow the audience for Indian content globally, the service would target the about 30 million Indian diaspora, with the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and West Asia being the major markets. “We see tremendous opportunity in serving those markets or other underserved countries where quality Indian content is either not available or isn’t available for free. For example, in the U.S., if you want high-quality Indian content, you have to pay anywhere between $10 and $30 a month, maybe.”

However, the company will steer away from Bollywood as the space is already crowded with lots of big players. “We are looking at content which is much more specialised. For example, we have a channel called ‘waah’, which is non-bollywood, Indian classical music. This is a very interesting channel for us because not only do we see that channel serving a very targeted South Asian market, but also we see this having American play. Rather than positioning it as classical Indian Music, we take that content, mix it with beautiful images, and suddenly that content has become a meditation channel for Americans.”

“So that way, we are able to take the content and by making modifications in the certain way, [and]... can still give people a very rich culture of Indian content but in a way that’s very palatable for them.” The company is also working on taking outside India, content in regional languages such as Punjabi, Bengali and Tamil, among others.

Asked about the Indian government’s plans to bring over-the-top players under regulation, Mr. Chung said, “When I enter a market, I see it as entering someone’s home... My thoughts, my action, my speech, could affect people in your home...if I start passing out questionable material or mature content, it could be offensive to you culturally.”

“I look at the opportunity to honour the interests of people that have an interest in content but if regulation says that we cannot serve that content for any reason, I’m not going to fight that regulation because I think it’s important that we abide by rules. We wish to work within a culture and regulation...I don’t want to just say that I’m just going to restrict my content but I also need to respect the rules and the culture,” he added.

Mr. Chung said it was not his job to fight the rules, but to work within the rules so that the company can be a “welcome guest”.

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