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Times Internet ad revenue increased by 22% in FY20

Times Internet said Thursday that last year it had more than 557 million monthly active users, and over 110 million daily active users, using its digital offerings. In FY 20, the company’s revenues grew 24% over last year to Rs 1,625 crores, as revenue from advertising  grew 22% over FY 19.

The company owns a number of digital products including on demand video platform MX Player, music streaming service Gaana, restaurant discovery app Dineout, along with the web versions of the Times of India and the Economic Times. It said that Gaana and MX Player were its fastest growing entities in terms of user base, seeing a 75% increase over last year. Its news platforms meanwhile, grew 31% over FY 19.

The company also claimed that in terms of monthly reach, it is the largest digital platform in India, outside of Google and Facebook. (It relied on data collected by analytics firm Comscore.):

Source: Times Internet

“In spite of tough market conditions, we’ve grown faster than the industry and our competition in our key verticals. While we saw steep falls from March through June, we’ve rebounded well, with positive growth in July, and we ended August back in positive growth territory for the fiscal year as a whole,” Satyan Gajwani, vice chairman of Times Internet said in a statement.

MX Player and Gaana

The company said that MX Player has over 200 million users, making it the largest on demand video service in terms of users, pitting it ahead the likes of Netflix, Hotstar, and Amazon Prime among others. On the platform, over 30% of the consumption came from original programming. The company said that its most successful show till date is Queen which was viewed by over 35 million people since its release in December 2019.

Gaana crossed 185 million monthly users last year, driven by regional language growth and podcast consumption, according to the company. The platform prioritised efforts on AI-powered recommendations, and its ‘Made for You’ section contributed more than 27% of playbacks. Between Gaana and MX Player, nearly 400 million users spent over 115 billion minutes every month, the company said. China’s Tencent has recently invested $50 million in Gaana.

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Both Gaana and MX Player had launched their own short video platforms in the platforms, as a number of Indian companies were engaged in the race to fill the void left by TikTok in the aftermath of its ban in India. MX Player’s short video platform MX Takatak is seeing “hundreds of millions of daily streams”, the company said. While it didn’t shell out individual numbers for MX Takatak and HotShots (Gaana’s short video platform), Times Internet said that they have a total of 800 million daily video video views, combined.

Its entertainment offerings, which include MX Player and Gaana make up for over 51% of its total monthly active users, and and a little over 31% in terms of total revenue:

Source: Times Internet

The company said that going forward, it will focus on gaming and short-form video in the year ahead.

Times Prime

Overall subscribers to Times Prime, or Times Internet’s individual underlying products grew 62%, and the company crossed 2 million subscribers last year. Times Prime is a comprehensive digital membership which allows users to subscribe to multiple offerings of the company using a single subscription such as ET Prime, Gaana Plus etc.

However, Time Internet acknowledged that in many cases, the experiences of joining and utilising benefits in a single subscription aren’t as “consistent and predictable as we’d like”. It said that in the year ahead, it’s going to focus on clearer user propositions, simpler and clearer communication, and value offerings for its subscribers.

“We will now focus more on ecosystem leverage,” Gajwani said. “We want to better mobilize our users across relevant products in our ecosystem, and in particular, offer some of our higher-value subscription and transactional services to our wide media consumer base,” he added.

He said that the company has already begun experimenting with this: “Last year, we saw a 48% increase in users consuming 2 or more of our properties each month, and a 120% increase in users consuming 3 or more of our properties each month”.

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*Correction: A previous headline of the article was changed to remove a mention of COVID-19, because Times Internet’s earnings report is for the time period between April 2019 and March 2020, when the impact of the pandemic wasn’t as pronounced. Error is regretted. 

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