We all have been used to listening to stories since childhood. That’s the foundation for the increased popularity of audio content among us. Not only does it provide convenience while multitasking but also offers diversified content. Also, you connect yourself with the speaker’s tone, emotions, and personality. So, one of the most popular apps with exclusive audio content is “Kuku FM.” It has become highly popular in India when it comes to diverse audio content. Its popularity is not only because of its content but also due to its revenue. But how does Kuku FM make money? Through its brilliant business model! In this article, we will delve into the Kuku FM business model. Also, we will discuss numerous revenue sources along with its working and marketing strategy.
Kuku FM: A Brief Overview
Kuku FM is an Indian audio content platform that offers a vast range of audio content. It includes audiobooks, stories, podcasts, and self-help content. Do you know it is a mobile-first platform that offers a personalized experience to its users in regional languages? Also, it allows you to discover, stream, and download audio content on your mobile devices.
Let’s have a brief overview of Kuku FM
|Company’s Name||Kuku FM|
|Type of Company||Audio series platform (Audio Streaming)|
|Founders||LalChand Bisu (CEO), Vinod Meena, and Vikas Goyal|
|Headquarters||Mumbai (Maharashtra, India)|
|Operating Space||B2C (Business-to-Customer)|
|Market Valuation (FY22)||Rs.811.80 crore|
|Revenue (FY22)||Rs.4.41 crore|
|Expenses (FY22)||Rs.57.03 crore|
|Net Profit/Loss (FY22)||Loss of Rs.52.22 crore|
|Competitors||Pocket FM, Deezer, Spotify, Storytel.|
Working Strategy: How Does it Work?
Kuku FM is a podcast platform that offers a variety of audiobooks, podcasts, and other audio content to its users. It has focused on cracking the differentiation code and stands out by offering more diverse content than traditional radio or other podcast apps. At the time of its launch, the Indian audience was not much aware of the audio content. But now, it has over 26 lakh subscribers. Kuku FM earns a massive chunk of revenue through its subscribers. It achieved this milestone due to its effective working strategies which are explained below-
(A) Diverse Content
Kuku FM offers a wide range of audio content across multiple genres in various Indian languages. Here are some of the types of content that you can find on the platform-
1. Audiobooks: Kuku FM offers a vast collection of audiobooks across various genres, including fiction, non-fiction, self-help, and biographies. You can enjoy these books in Hindi, English, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, and other Indian languages.
2. Podcasts: Kuku FM has a vast selection of podcasts on various topics, such as news, politics, health, education, spirituality, and lifestyle.
3. Stories: Kuku FM has a vast library of stories, including short stories, folk tales, bedtime stories, and fairy tales. You can select your favorites from a variety of genres, such as horror, romance, comedy, and drama.
4. Devotional Content: Kuku FM offers a range of devotional content, including bhajans, aartis, mantras, and other religious content.
5. Comedy Shows: Kuku FM has a collection of comedy shows and stand-up comedy performances that users can enjoy.
6. Motivational Content: Kuku FM offers a variety of motivational content, including self-improvement, success stories, and motivational speeches.
7. Radio Shows: Kuku FM offers a range of radio shows in various languages, providing users with a blend of music, news, and entertainment.
Thus, the diverse range of audio content offered by Kuku FM caters to the interest of listeners. Its audience belongs to different age groups and backgrounds.
(B) Regional Languages
Kuku FM offers audio content in several regional languages. It helps to reach out to audiences in smaller towns and cities where Hindi or English may not be the primary language. Some of the common languages used in the Kuku FM app are-
(C) Partnerships with creators
Kuku FM has partnerships with various brands and publishers. This helps the company to expand its content offerings and reach a broader audience. But what is the source of this diverse content and that too in different languages? Content creators! Kuku FM has partnered with various content creators to produce exclusive content. This strategy has helped Kuku FM to differentiate itself in the audio OTT market.
(D) Free + Ad-Supported Model
In terms of its working strategy, Kuku FM primarily follows a free + ad-supported model. It means that you can listen to its content for free. But for that, you will need to face the advertisements too. It displays advertisements to generate revenue. If you find those ads disturbing then you need to watch the premium content.
(E) Subscription Model
Kuku FM has a subscription-based business model, which provides ad-free listening and exclusive access to premium content. This model ensures a steady stream of revenue for the platform. The KukuFM premium subscription plan offers numerous alluring features like-
- High-quality audio
- Ad-free experience
- Car mode
(F) Advanced Technology
Kuku FM has also invested heavily in technology and has developed an in-house speech recognition AI. This technology allows Kuku FM to offer unique features such as real-time subtitles and seamless content search, thus enhancing its user experience. Kuku FM encourages user engagement through interactive features like ratings, reviews, and comments. This helps them to understand user preferences and improve the platform’s content offerings.
(G) Low Overhead Costs
Kuku FM has low overhead costs. Meaning, they can retain a high ratio of users without incurring significant additional costs. This makes their business model scalable and profitable.
Revenue Sources: How Does Kuku FM Make Money?
Here, we begin the crucial part of the article, “How does Kuku FM make money?” It earns money through diverse revenue sources. Do you know, in the financial year 2022, it earned a revenue of Rs.4.41 crore?
Following are the major revenue sources of Kuku FM-
1. Subscription-based model
Kuku FM offers premium content to its subscribers for a fee. As discussed above, its subscription plan is called “KukuFM Premium”. This revenue source is a significant contributor to the company’s overall revenue. Here, two types of plans are offered namely-
- Annual Plan: Rs.899
- Monthly Plan: Rs.99
While listening to the free content, you might have come across several advertisements. Because Kuku FM runs audio ads within its free content to generate revenue. The company’s extensive user base makes it an attractive platform for advertisers looking to reach a regional audience.
Kuku FM also generates revenue through sponsorships. Brands can sponsor content or podcasts on the platform to increase their visibility and reach.
4. Partnership with content creators
Kuku FM partners with content creators and shares revenue generated from the content they create on the platform.
5. In-app purchases
Kuku FM also generates revenue through in-app purchases such as audiobook purchases or other paid content.
Thus, Kuku FM’s revenue model is a combination of subscription-based services, advertising, sponsorship, partnerships with content creators, and in-app purchases. As per the latest reports, Kuku FM earns INR 600 per year from each user. Whereas it hardly spends Rs.300 to acquire a customer. Also, the platform earns a significant amount of revenue through partnerships and collaborations with advertisers and investors. This is how Kuku FM makes money!
Pocket FM employs swaying marketing strategies to promote its platform and gather users. Kuku FM creates original and engaging content through podcasts that target the interests of a specific audience. This helps to attract and retain listeners to the platform. Other than digital marketing, some of the efficient marketing strategies of Kuku FM are-
1. Strategic Partnerships for Marketing
One of its strategies is partnering with influential figures in the industry for influencer marketing campaigns. For example, in October 2022, they partnered with WhizCo, an influencer marketing agency, to bring together YouTube influencers from different categories for a video integration campaign.
2. Kuku Coins
Kuku FM has a loyalty program that rewards active listeners with Kuku Coins, which they can use to unlock additional premium content or exchange for discounts. The more active a listener is on the platform, the more Kuku Coins they receive. This loyalty program serves to increase user engagement and retention, and can also incentivize free users to upgrade to the paid subscription.
3. Startup Era Channel
Kuku FM uses go-to-market strategies to launch new products. Its Startup Era channel is one such approach. This involves identifying target audiences, defining value propositions, and determining the appropriate marketing mix to reach them. By doing so, Kuku FM is able to increase awareness and drive the adoption of its new products.
Kuku FM became popular due to its impressive content in regional languages besides English. This feature caters to the majority of non-English speaking audiences. Also, it confers cool features to the audience and numerous benefits to the creators. Consequently, it raised over 2.68 million paying subscribers. In the section on revenue sources, we have explained how Kuku FM makes money. Thus, it busted the myth that a non-English speaking or non-metro audience never pays for content. Actually, they did! Thus, Kuku FM is one of the most successful audio platforms in India.