Shivanandan Pare, Chief Operating Officer at Reliance BIG Entertainment Pvt Ltd (BIGADDA) has resigned, and today is his last day in office. Reliance Entertainment Digital COO, Manish Agarwal confirmed the development to MediaNama.
Agarwal informs that Pare’s move was following the company’s decision to exit from the existing “Readers Offers” business model and rebuild the ecommerce business right from scratch; the company was mainly relying on Readers Offers, wherein it used to offer product deals through print advertisements. This was contributing 95%-98% to the company’s sales, with monthly orders in the range of 22,000-23,000. However, when the company thought of streamlining its digital portfolio, it realised that it wanted to stick to pure play digital businesses and look at businesses that have a clear path to profitability.
According to Agarwal, the Readers Offers business model had a long gestation period and to get profitability even to gross margin levels would have taken a substantial scale and required a big investment.So the company decided to move out from the segment and focus on pure play digital business, which gives higher scalability, a clearer path to profitabilty and sustainability. It isn’t lost on us that BigAdda was, until a year or so ago, a social networking site, and a pure play digital business.
Lay Offs: Meanwhile, we have also heard rumours of a massive lay-off at the company. Agarwal confirms that since 95-98% of business was being contributed to by the Readers Offers segment, it’s obvious that positions would have to be repurposed. He however said that only around 25-30 odd people had been laid-off from BigAdda, and that the team was relatively smaller since logistics and call centers were outsourced. He also added that the company did not hold inventory.
Relaunch: At the moment, the company is not looking to relaunch BigAdda and is planning to keep it as it is since online orders were miniscule, according to Agarwal. It now plans to remove some categories and intends to focus on male audience between 18-25 years of age, offering deals on mobile phones, storage devices, gaming accessories and similar products. It also intends to leverage its existing consumer base of properties like Zapak and Big Flix, and has no plans on investing in consumer acquisition, and focus on building a loyal online customer base, which was not the case with customers who came through Readers Offers.