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Voda Idea plans to integrate the various digital platforms under its Vi app

Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL) is rolling out an ambitious digital play in the next 12 months by tying up with the top two-three players in each digital platform category. However, it will have to catch up with its rivals Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel which are way ahead of it in the digital sweepstakes.

VIL plans to integrate the various digital platforms under Vi, its flagship app, which is used by subscribers to make payments and buy new connections. Making a bid for monetisation, the digital categories it has already launched include music and movies, jobs, health and fitness, gaming and an ad platform for marketers.

Elaborating on VIL’s digital play, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ravinder Takkar says: “Our strategy is different from that of our competitors. What we can do is take our core competence, our existing customers and our strong points and tie up with the top two-three players in each category and do deep integration with them so that our experience with customers would be materially different from others.”

Takkar adds that the initial response has been good. But clearly, VIL does not want to compete with digital platforms or invent new ways of offering digital content because that is not their core area of competence.

He points out that the company will straddle all the key categories of digital platforms, and of these,

they have prioritised five-seven categories.

The digital platforms planned will be launched in the next 12 months, Takkar says.

However, VIL’s digital strategy differs from that of its rivals.

For instance, unlike VIL, Airtel has not integrated all its digital platforms into one app. Airtel launched its own music channel, Wynk, as an independent entity which is available to even non-Airtel subscribers. In contrast, VIL has tied up with Hungama to offer the latter’s music aggregation content to its customers. Likewise, it has tied up with Nazaara Technologies for games, with apna.co for jobs, amongst others.

Airtel has three separate apps — Wynk, Airtel Thanks (from where you can make payments and order other services of Airtel) and Airtel Xtreme (which is a one-stop shop for entertainment needs like movies, OTT, amongst others). It has over 102 million monthly active users of Airtel Thanks and 71 million users of Wynk.

Reliance Jio has also entered the music category by buying out Saavn and also runs its own e-commerce platform through Jio Mart. It has its own content company as well and stakes in various production houses like Balaji Telefilms, Eros, amongst others.

What’s more, Reliance Jio has a large content play, with group company Viacom18 running broadcasting and OTT channels, which can also be leveraged as it enters into sports. It has integrated some of the channels in its My Jio app, which has around 300 million users according to estimates. Business Standard

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