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MX Player, the popular on-demand video streaming service, has surpassed 1 billion downloads, joining a very small but high-profile list of apps around the world to reach this milestone. The company, owned by Indian conglomerate Times Internet, is the first in the world’s second-largest market to join the group.

The app, which began its journey as a local video playback player, has grown significantly over the past two years as the startup has filled the platform with thousands of local and international movies and shows. and several original titles, he said, as well as found people. themselves locked in their homes with a time regained because of the pandemic.

MX Players – which offers a free ad-supported or ad-free app for just $ 2.6 per year – has also expanded to several international markets, including Bangladesh, Middle East, Southeast Asia. , the United States and the United Kingdom. (India is its most popular market.)

MX Player’s page on the Google Play Store now reflects the figure of one billion installs, although the startup – whose vast majority of users are on Android – added that it also sees very high volumes of downloads. on several third-party stores. (He didn’t share the numbers for the other stores.)

“We focused on two simple things: getting the right content for the audience we have and getting the right product for our users,” Karan Bedi, Managing Director of MX Player, said in an interview with TechCrunch.

Bedi said the startup has made rapid inroads into the market in part because very few players are producing content for the masses. Bedi, who previously ran Eros Now’s India business, has pointed out the mismatch between the players and the audience they seek, even though everyone seems to be claiming they are trying to win the whole country.

Karan Bedi (Image credits: Times Internet)

“When you look at the landscape, we have the broadcast players putting their broadcast content on OTT with a small investment in producing original shows. Then we have the international companies – Netflix and Amazon – which focus on the richest 5%, ”he said.

“If you look at the content that we’re looking for, it’s very relevant to a larger audience,” he said.

Some of the original web shows that MX Player produced or exclusively licensed include Hello Mini, a thriller and love story, Aashram, which is also in the thriller and crime genres, and Flames, a teenage love story. Citing an internal MX Player survey of its users, Bedi said shows such as “Indian Matchmaking,” which caused a lot of noise among Netflix users in India, did not find resonance with audiences. by MX Player.

MX Player, which also operates the popular MX short video app TakaTak, has also become one of the most aggressive companies to innovate and adapt to product innovation. Its app is also integrated into the app with the Gaana music service, also owned by Times Internet, and offers several mini-games.

The app was the first among all popular video services to deploy support for the H.266 video codec. The move allowed the company to more than halve the amount of data users consume while streaming videos, while improving overall video quality.

Improvements like this are even more important for companies like MX Player, Bedi said, because of the audience it serves. “For example, we had a clear measure of the link between latency and engagement. The lower the latency, and we’re talking seconds here, we’ve seen a seven to eight percent increase in engagement.

India is one of the fastest growing entertainment markets in the world. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney’s Hotstar and dozens of other international services are competing for users in the country, which has more than 700 million online.

According to research firm Sensor Tower, there are less than 20 apps (not including those from Google that come preinstalled on Android devices) that have been downloaded or installed a billion times. The company confirmed to TechCrunch in August that no other Indian apps were even close to reaching the milestone.

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