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ALT Balaji Chief Marketing Officer Manav Sethi steps down

ALT Balaji’s CMO Manav Sethi has stepped down, exchange4media reports. Sethi reportedly had his last day at the company on Friday. Confirming the departure, Sethi told afaqs, “For now I am looking for bigger challenges and will be signing up with a new assignment very soon.”

Sethi’s departure comes as Balaji Telefilms primes its streaming service at an international viewership, having gained over 3 million ‘subscribers’ with a smattering of deals with telecom companies, aggregators, and hardware manufacturers. The service expects to break even within the next three years. It was launched internationally to begin with, and is dubbing and subtitling its content in other Indian languages, similar to its parent’s strategy for TV content.

ALT Balaji operational data

Over 70% of ALT Balaji’s viewing comes from telecom apps, Balaji Telefilms said in its earnings call.

  • Gandii Baat, possibly the service’s most popular show with four episodes, netted 800,000 average views per week. The company did not provide viewership data for other shows.
  • 3.4 million paid users this quarter, excluding Reliance Jio subscribers, but including Vodafone Play and Airtel TV subscribers. This was 1.2 million for the last quarter. In August 2017, MediaNama estimated ALTBalaji’s subscriber base from 200,000 (minimum) to 266,667 (maximum), likely to be close to the 240,240 mark.
  • 21 Original shows (excluding Kids and Comedy short clips) so far. Content also dubbed in regional languages (Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam and soon in Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia)

Note that in January this year, ALTBalaji did a content deal with Reliance Jio to make its original content available to Reliance’s users of Jio Cinema, Jio TV etc. In April, the company also started offering its digital content portfolio on Airtel’s Airtel TV app. ALTBalaji also went live on the Vodafone Play service in September 2017 and its content is available to Vodafone users in India.

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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