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Why OLA play shut shop? 🚖
The insight that led to fall of it's subscription business.
Cabs in India are now expensive - I agree with you. All the VC money has dried up & the real pricing has shown it’s face to everyone of us who is hooked to Uber/ OLA.
This massive blood bath has a bunch of dead cells - OLA play / prime being one of them. OLA recently paused the whole OLA play offering across multiple cities it was in operation.
Quick context 🗓
November 2016, to introduce the ‘X’ factor, Ola Play was launched - in cab entertainment system available exclusively for Ola Prime members. Ola prime was a subscription service that allowed users get priority in bookings, no surge pricing, better pricing & more.
Ola prime membership was Ola’s loyalty ticket that treated its loyal customers better - it wasn’t available to everyone like that of Zomato’s. Meaning - this was Ola’s best segment of users.
What was OLA play trying to do? 🤔
First, solve for an easy upsell 💰
Most users went with the cheapest Ola mini option while booking the cab & restricting OLA’s average ride price. This clearly failed as covered in further points.
Second, created FOMO with causal users 🏃
Ola’s agenda was to reward its loyal customers & create FOMO amongst reset of the users (draw parallels with the CRED model) which failed.
The insight - Users who used the Ola Play option never bragged about the upgrade. No social loop.
Third, created stickiness 💙
Ola’s larger bet on “Prime” was top drivers, faster bookings, no peak pricing, free WiFi & so many more promises to create stickiness. Most “promises” never reached most users. Most Wifi’s never worked, the Ola Play tablets had issues (or the driver denied playing it) & so on.
The insight - failing to deliver on the membership benefits or even just OLA Play experience destroyed trust & never became “boringly predictable”. Poor experiences aren’t going to create stickiness.
But, the real reason goes even deeper 🎯
First, mis-selling to driver partners 🥸
Most were sold the dream of earning 15 to 20% more money. Didn’t happen.
Second, the licensing fees 🤯
The Ola play content was licensed from The Viral Fever (TVF), All India Bakchod (AIB), Apple Music, Sony Liv, Audio Compass and Fynd for music, radio, & more shows. The cost associated wasn't recouped from revenue or retention gain.
Third, no user love 💔
We spoke about this already. You can’t assume users will be 20% higher fares when they don’t love the upgrade again and again.
That’s all for OLA play story ✨
Ola Play was a great experiment executed poorly. So many times even the giant tech companies such as OLA do not follow the ground rules of running experiment of this size. We go deeper into the science of understanding user insight, building conviction, setting & running the experiment - all in a structured way & build a process around this for your team - at the GrowthX experience. If you struggle at experimentation, follow this rabbit hole to build the muscle.
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