Home-bred cab aggregator Ola has joined hands with TV streaming app YuppTV to offer live TV options to users on its in-car entertainment platform, Ola Play. As a result of the partnership, Ola Play users will now have access to multiple channels, including live TV.
Commenting on the newly-forged alliance, Ola Play head Ankit Jain said, “Coming together with the ecosystem and partnering with innovative OTT platforms such as YuppTV play a huge role in our efforts to keep the experience seamless and relevant for our customers. With this partnership, Ola Play brings LIVE TV inside a cab for the first time, by leveraging OTT services of YuppTV to bring an experience that is easily accessible through the user’s mobile phone as well as the tab mounted in the backseat.”
According to Jain, the on-demand entertainment platform will serve customised content to customers based on their preferences. To that end, the company is looking to leverage geolocation technologies to gather ride information of customers, including time, destination, and preferred language.
Founded in October 2006 by Uday Narayan Reddy, YuppTV is an over-the-top (OTT) content provider that streams South Asian content in the form of live TV, TV channels and movies. Headquartered in Hyderabad and Atlanta, the Global Takeoff-owned company offers more than 300 TV channels in 15 languages globally, including Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, and others.
As part of the partnership with Ola, Yupp TV looks to add 20 more live TV channels on its entertainment platform. Speaking about the development, Reddy stated, “Ola’s unique connected car experience, Ola Play, allows for an immersive entertainment experience that is now going to be customised in accordance to the unique tastes and preferences of Ola cab riders. We are affirmative that in addition to increasing the user base of YuppTV, the association will now make Ola cab rides fun and entertaining for the commuters.”
Ola Play: Leveraging Geolocation To Serve Customised Content
Launched in November last year, Ola Play is an onboard entertainment system that was originally available to Ola Prime customers in Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Delhi. Since then, the service has expanded to six additional cities across India. These include Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai.
At the time of its launch, Ola co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal made ambitious claims saying, “I believe this will completely transform the consumer’s ride experience, giving the user the power to control the interactions within the car and usher in a new era in the ridesharing industry. With over 60 Mn minutes spent in Ola rides every day, the impact on consumer comfort, convenience, and productivity can be transformative. This will further propel ride-sharing as the first choice of mobility for many more millions.”
According to Aggarwal, the in-car entertainment platform is already present in up to 50K cabs. Through the service, Ola offers customers access to a variety of custom features like video and music streaming, for which it has partnered with Qualcomm, Mahindra and Mahindra, Apple Music, Sony LIV, Audio Compass, Fynd, EROS Now, POPxo, and FastFilmz to build an interactive experience for users.
Users can take control of the in-car experience from the Driver Console, which enables interfacing with the consumer’s device during a ride. Customers can have the Ola Play experience from their own devices or from the large screen devices mounted in-car, along with car’s surround sound systems.
In June 2017, Bengaluru-based Lahari Recording Company reportedly registered a complaint of copyright infringement against Ola’s parent company ANI Technologies. According to reports, the complainant that the cab aggregator was streaming pirated music via its platform Ola Play.
Competing Against Uber, Amazon, And Netflix
The on-demand video segment has witnessed the substantial growth in recent times as a result of the entry of some big players. In January 2016, world’s largest video streaming company Netflix launched operations in India.
Later in December, Amazon Prime Video announced its debut in India. Prime Video is an additional offering for Amazon’s Prime subscribers that allows users exclusive access to movies, Amazon’s original series as well as premium content from across the globe.
More recently, in July 2017, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited picked up 25% stake in Balaji Telefilms Limited (BTL) in exchange for $64 Mn. The move is aimed at speeding up the growth of on-demand video platform ALTBalaji. Other players in the space include HotStar, Voot, and Spuul.
Recently in May, Ola’s chief rival Uber announced the launch of its own infotainment system for cab riders in Mumbai. With the latest partnership with Live TV streaming startup YuppTV, Ola is looking to expand the reach of its entertainment platform Ola Play, while at the same time beating competition from nemesis Uber.