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ShemarooMe a ‘B2B2C’ streaming service, direct-to-consumer numbers ‘irrelevant’: CEO Hiren Gada

Shemaroo CEO Hiren Gada refused to disclose subscription numbers for the media company’s streaming service ShemarooMe at an earnings call with investors on Friday. The service, which was launched two years ago, primarily derives revenue from distributor deals with telecom operators and other streaming services, so he said it was “irrelevant” to discuss the direct-to-consumer numbers. Shemaroo did not disclose how much ShemarooMe made overall, inclusive of deals, or how many users the service was reaching.

  • Company in investment mode: “The company has been in an investment mode in various initiatives which have now started contributing revenue,” CEO Gada said. “Overall, the festival season and reduction in COVID cases has resulted in the resumption in economic activities, and this in turn has led to a significant revival in aggregate demand.”
  • Transition from B2B to B2C: “As you know, we are in the phase of transition from a B2B company to a B2C operating model and have some level of operational recovery as these new investments have stabilized,” Gada said. Indeed, a lot of the digital revenue comes from consumption on sites like YouTube, and through revenue from its ShemarooMe service.
  • ShemarooMe is “B2B2C”: Dodging a question about ShemarooMe subscription numbers, CEO Gada said that the service was primarily distributing through other streaming services and telecom operators. This is a common way streaming services operate, but doesn’t always impact disclosures; for instance, Eros Now, which is primarily distributed through such distributor deals with telcos and hardware manufacturers, discloses an aggregate subscription count. Gada later cited “competitive reasons” when pushed by an investor for more details on ShemarooMe’s performance.
  • VAS revenues not being replaced fully: On depleting Value Added Services revenue from telecom operators (from services like caller tunes), Gada indicated that while that entire business model winds down due to increasing smartphone penetration, it may not immediately be replaced by ShemarooMe, which was launched two years ago. “There is never bound to be a direct 1:1 correlation of that [VAS] business getting 100% displaced here,” Gada said.
  • Direct D2C focus not high: “Our investment in direct-to-consumer marketing is not very high,” Gada said, referring to ShemarooMe. “It’s irrelevant to talk about any D2C numbers over there.”

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