How Khabri is working to monetize learning content on its audio app

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Content is everywhere these days, but monetizing it remains one of the most daunting challenges for media platforms.

But the Made in India audio app based on Gurugram Inasmuch asKhabriInasmuch as rose to the challenge head-on.

It has ambitious plans to get more paying subscribers by offering content that provides real value in helping students pass various competitive exams.

Khabri offers content in four segments – News, Knowledge, Government Jobs, and Inspiration. But the main offering now is to help users prepare for various government job competitions in Indian languages, especially Hindi.

“We convert non-learning time into learning time,” says Sandeep Singh, co-founder of Khabri.

He explains that there is enough passive consumption time such as travel during which a user can use the audio app to learn. “Audio solutions help you memorize, review and listen to lessons.”

Launched in October 2017, Khabri was founded by Sandeep Singh, Pulkit Sharma and Aankit Roy. The a-ha moment was when the three founders realized the lack of legal permission for news broadcasters in India to air content on private radio channels.

The app, designed to cover local, national and international content, groups audio content into categories such as news, current affairs, knowledge, government jobs, devotions, books, movies, Bollywood and motivation.

All About Content

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic along with working from home and the closure of educational institutions has created new momentum for audio apps like Khabri, which has seen more users come to the platform. At the same time, there has been a steady increase in the number of content creators on the platform.

Khabri has three categories of content providers on its platform: organized educational institutes who help students prepare for competitions, individual teachers who have created their own brand within their circles, and aspiring creators who publish their own set of good content.

In 2020 alone, Khabri added around 7,000 content creators.

Sandeep says the idea was to “create products where consumers will pay.” For this, he also worked on a system to track user ratings of content creators.

The monetization push

Khabri realized he couldn’t rely solely on ads as a source of revenue and needed to consider other options. It all boiled down to quality content for users willing to pay.

The audio platform launched this initiative in July 2021 and has sold around 700 courses. This included bundling its audio content with offline training institutes. Along with content for competitive exam preparation, it also focused on things like financial literacy and learning English and “anything that brings skills in terms of knowledge.”

Sandeep says around 1.4% of its user base has become paid subscribers since launching in July last year, which it says was done with “zero noise”. ie without marketing.

Currently, Khabri has recorded five million downloads with nearly 0.5 million monthly active users (MAUs), a number that is growing by 20%.

In terms of engagement, Khabri noticed that paying users spent 44 minutes per session because they offered long-form audio content. The target audience was the 18-35 age group, and 80% of their users belong to the 18-24 age group.

Khabri has a 70:30 revenue share model with content creators, with the startup retaining 30% subscription fees.

Strategize to grow

The monetization strategy was launched in July 2021, and the first three to four months were spent attracting more content creators and focusing on information discoverability.

Sandeep says the audio content startup made around 19,000 paid transactions in December 2021 – that figure rose to 36,000 in January 2022.

Khabri focused on a few nuances to create stiffness. For example, it followed a decentralized model with heterogeneity in terms of content creators.

Citing an example, Sandeep says that the approach of a person in Chennai while teaching history will be very different from that of a person in Patna. This ensures that Khabri was able to meet the demands of different sections of his audience.

The startup remains committed to focusing on Indian languages ​​and the Bharat market. It started with Hindi and plans to offer content in five more Indian languages.

“We want to reach people who want to use these learning tools to improve their lives,” says Sandeep.

Khabiri is also exploring other monetization channels besides subscriptions. These will include the tipping route where users can provide the tips after a live session, which is akin to ‘guru dakshina’. Paid quizzes are also planned.

Given the traction Khabri has witnessed over the past two months, he has some aggressive goals ahead of him. It plans to reach 6.8 million MAUs by the end of March 2023, with subscriber conversion accounting for around 4-6% of its user base.

“We want the offer to be really strong with more choice, and that will help us increase the conversion rate,” says Sandeep.

In the future

Khabri is also looking into whether he can replicate his playbook in other countries with large non-English speaking populations like Indonesia.

Sandeep says the audio content startup will focus on learning and deliver the value of skill enhancement to its user base.

Khabri does not face any direct competition from other audio platforms in the learning category, but it does have indirect competition from other digital education platforms like edtech startups.

It’s been an eventful journey for Khabri, which has found support from Silicon Valley seed accelerator Y Combinator, Rajesh Sawhney of GSF Accelerator, Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal of Titan Capital, former VP of Twitter Shailesh Rao and other angel investors.

Over the years, he’s had his own share of learning, reducing the number of categories he’s focused on from 22 to just four.

“We learned to keep our business very simple and created a learning platform that would provide accurate information,” says Sandeep.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai


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