Kuku FM vs Pocket FM: Which One Is Better?

Kuku FM vs Pocket FM

In the vibrant world of audio content, Kuku FM vs Pocket FM stand out as leading competitive audio streaming platforms in India. Both offer a rich tapestry of audiobooks, shows, and stories, yet they possess unique features.

Kuku FM vs Pocket FM


As per the audience, Kuku FM embraces regional languages and educational content, while Pocket FM excels in diverse genres and entertainment. 

In this comparison, we’ll delve into their business comparison, offerings, user interfaces, original content, and more to help you navigate the auditory landscape. 

So, whether you’re drawn to the cultural richness of Kuku FM or the entertainment prowess of Pocket FM, let’s unravel the debate: Kuku FM vs Pocket FM – Which one is better?

Keep reading!

(A) Kuku FM

Kuku FM business model

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.

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.

Note: To know more about the working strategies and money making strategies of Kuku FM, go through the article on “Kuku FM Business Model.”

(B) Pocket FM

Pocket FM business model

Pocket FM is a mobile audio entertainment platform that offers a wide range of audio content, including audio stories, audiobooks, podcasts, and other audio programs. You can access Pocket FM through its mobile app, which is available on both iOS and Android platforms. The audio content is available in multiple languages offering both free and premium content.

When Pocket FM was launched in 2018, it was almost non-existent. It neither had significant users nor considerable streaming of audio. But now it has over 8 crore users with streaming of over 108 crore minutes.

Note: In Pocket FM Business Model, you will get detailed information about how it works and how it makes money through various revenue streams.

(C) Kuku FM vs Pocket FM: A Brief Overview

Now, let’s have a look at the profiles of Kuku FM vs Pocket FM in the following table-

ParticularsKuku FMPocket FM
Type of CompanyAudio series platform Audio Streaming
Founded in 20182018
FoundersLal Chand Bisu (CEO),
Vinod Meena,Vikas Goyal
Rohan Nayak (CEO),
Nishanth Srinivas,
Prateek Dixit
HeadquartersMumbai (Maharashtra, India)Gurugram (Haryana, India)
Operating SpaceB2C (Business-to-Customer)B2C (Business-to-Customer)
Userbase2.3 million subscribers130 million (Global listeners)
Market Valuation (FY22)Rs.811.80 croreUndisclosed
CompetitorsPocket FM,
Kuku FM,
9X Media,
Kuku FM vs Pocket FM: A Brief Overview

In the further sections, we will compare Kuku FM vs Pocket FM from the business perspectives like its market valuation, revenue earned, expenditures, and overall profit-loss.

(D) Financial Performance of Kuku FM vs Pocket FM

(D.1) Kuku FM Financials

Revenue sources of Kuku FM

In the financial realm, Kuku FM charted an intriguing journey. With Rs.4.4 crore collected from subscriptions and a modest Rs.1 lakh labelled as “service fees,” the platform displayed a positive stride by garnering paying subscribers in the fiercely competitive streaming landscape. Boasting one million active paying subscribers as of June 2022, Kuku FM tapped into India’s vast internet user base, a challenging feat in a market where users were often hesitant to pay.

Beyond subscriptions, interest and gains on financial assets added Rs.39 lakh to its revenue, summing up to Rs.4.8 crore. However, the fiscal year saw a substantial rise in expenses, soaring to Rs.57.03 crore, with advertising and promotional costs contributing significantly. Despite financial strides, the company spent Rs.12.93 to earn a single rupee in FY22.

Having garnered $47 million in funding and a valuation of $120 million post its Series B round in August 2022, Kuku FM navigated both challenges and successes in the dynamic world of audio streaming.

(D.2) Pocket FM Financials

Pocket FM revenue

Subscriptions played a pivotal role in Pocket FM’s revenue stream, constituting 94% of its operating income, with the remaining sourced from advertising services. In addition, the company secured non-operating income of Rs 53 lakh during FY22, contributing to an overall revenue of Rs 17.55 crore.

In its pursuit of customer acquisition and business expansion, Pocket FM witnessed a tenfold surge in total expenditure, reaching Rs 189.15 crore in FY22 from a mere Rs 19 crore in FY21. Correspondingly, losses mirrored this exponential growth, escalating tenfold to Rs 171.6 crore compared to Rs 17.14 crore in FY21.

Breaking down expenses, advertising and promotional costs emerged as the largest, constituting over 67% of total expenses. Fueled by aggressive ad campaigns, this expense skyrocketed 14 times to Rs 128 crore during FY22 from Rs 9.12 crore in FY21.

To align with operational demands and foster growth, the company expanded its workforce, leading to a 7.3-fold increase in employee benefit expenses to Rs 30.5 crore in FY22. Additionally, expenses related to content increased 2.7 times to Rs 9.3 crore.

Pocket FM allocated Rs 7.13 crore and Rs 6.12 crore to technical and consultancy expenses during the fiscal year, potentially linked to successive funding rounds undertaken in FY22.

On a unit level, Pocket FM spent Rs 11.11 to earn a rupee in FY22. Having raised nearly $94 million since its inception, including funding from investors like Tencent and Times Group, Pocket FM secured $65 million in March 2022 to expand into new languages and build the largest audio creator community. Competing with platforms such as KuKu FM, Awaz, and Headfone, Pocket FM navigated the dynamic landscape of audio streaming.

(E) Business Comparison: Kuku FM vs Pocket FM

Several insights emerge from the business comparison between Kuku FM and Pocket FM for the fiscal year 2022-

Financial Aspects (FY22)Kuku FMPocket FM
Market ValuationRs.811.80 croreUndisclosed
RevenueRs.4.41 croreRs.17.55 crore
ExpensesRs.57.03 croreRs.189.15 crore
Net Profit/LossLoss of Rs.52.22 croreLoss of Rs.171.6 crore
Kuku FM vs Pocket FM: Business Comparison

One of the key insights is that Kuku FM holds a market valuation of Rs.811.80 crore, whereas Pocket FM’s market valuation remains undisclosed. In terms of revenue, Kuku FM generated Rs.4.41 crore, considerably less than Pocket FM’s revenue of Rs.17.55 crore. The expenditure for both platforms reflects significant financial commitments, with Kuku FM’s expenses amounting to Rs.57.03 crore, compared to Pocket FM’s notably higher expenses of Rs.189.15 crore.

(E.1) Breaking down the Expenses of Kuku FM vs Pocket FM

Expenses Breakup (FY22)Kuku FMPocket FM
Advertising & Promotional CostsRs.31.9 crore Rs.128 crore
Employee Benefits ExpensesRs.14.77 croreRs.30.5 crore
Technical Expenses (Software & Payment Gateways)Rs.1.74 croreRs.7.13 crore
Content Creation, Consultancy, and Writing ExpensesRs.1.74 croreRs.6.12 crore
Overall ExpenditureRs.57.03 croreRs.189.15 crore
TakeawaySpent Rs.12.93 to earn a Rs.1.00Spent Rs.11.11 to earn Rs.1.00
Expense Breakup of Kuku FM vs Pocket FM

Coming to the breakdown of the expense categories, advertising and promotional costs constitute a substantial portion for both platforms, with Kuku FM spending Rs.31.9 crore and Pocket FM allocating a substantial Rs.128 crore. Employee benefits expenses for Pocket FM stand at Rs.30.5 crore, surpassing Kuku FM’s Rs.14.77 crore. Technical expenses, including software and payment gateways, and content creation, consultancy, and writing expenses also exhibit variations between the two platforms.

The net profit/loss figures reveal a considerable loss for both platforms, with Kuku FM facing a loss of Rs. 52.22 crore and Pocket FM experiencing a more substantial loss of Rs. 171.6 crore.

(F) Who is more efficient in Kuku FM vs Pocket FM?

In terms of efficiency, Kuku FM spent Rs. 12.93 to earn Rs. 1.00, while Pocket FM demonstrated a relatively better efficiency by spending Rs. 11.11 to earn the same amount. These financial metrics underscore the competitive and challenging landscape of the audio streaming industry, where platforms navigate substantial expenses to establish themselves and capture market share.

Additionally, you must note that there have been legal disputes between Kuku FM and Pocket FM regarding audiobook summaries, which resulted in Kuku FM agreeing to take down the summaries due to copyright violations. We will cover the whole issue in the upcoming sections.

(G) Features Comparison: Kuku FM vs Pocket FM

Now, coming to the most anticipated part of this write-up! Which is more beneficial for users? You may wonder. See, Kuku FM and Pocket FM are both audio content platforms, each with its own unique features and content.

When comparing the two, it’s important to consider factors such as content variety, user base, popularity, languages available, and pricing. 

We have presented all of these features comparative analysis in the table below-

FeaturesKuku FMPocket FM
Content DiversityDiverse content in multiple languages, including audiobooks, shows, stories, and learning material.Offers a range of audio stories, podcasts, and audiobooks in various genres and languages. 
User InterfaceClean interface with easy navigation and personalised feed for recommendations.        User-friendly interface with content sorted by genres, popularity, and recommendations.
Original ContentProduces original content featuring well-known artists and creators.Also delves into original content, collaborating with prominent artists and creators. 
Learning & Self ImprovementFeatures content related to self-improvement, education, and spiritual learning. Offers some educational content but focuses more on entertainment. 
LanguagesOffers content in multiple Indian languages, expanding its reach-English,Hindi,Tamil,Telugu,Bengali,Malayalam,MarathiProvides content in multiple languages to cater to a broader audience-English,Hindi,Bengali,Marathi,Tamil,Telugu
Monetization & PricingFreemium model with premium subscriptions for exclusive content.Follows a freemium model with options for premium subscriptions granting access to ad-free and exclusive content.
User Engagement FeaturesAllows offline downloads and playlist creation. Offers similar features like offline downloads, bookmarks, and creating favorite lists.  
User Base2.3 million subscribers130 million global listeners
PopularityRapidly gained popularity in India due to diverse content. Has a considerable user base and grown in popularity, especially for entertainment content and collaborations.
AdvertisementFreemium model with the option to avoid ads through premium subscription. Coins-based system where users purchase coins to access individual audiobooks, reducing advertisements.
Subscription PlansMonthly Plan: Rs.99Monthly + Family Plan: Rs.199Yearly Plan: Rs.899Varied coin packs for purchasing audiobooks-1 Month: Rs.993 Months: Rs.1996 Months: Rs.4491 Year: Rs.799
Kuku FM vs Pocket FM: Features Comparison

To make the best choice between the two, it may be beneficial to try out both platforms and assess which better suits your preferences and listening habits!

(H) Controversy: Legal Dispute of Kuku FM vs Pocket FM

In May 2022, Pocket FM, a platform for podcasts and audiobooks, took its grievances against competitor Kuku FM to the Delhi High Court, claiming a violation of Indian copyright law. Pocket FM accused Kuku FM of unlawfully presenting audio summaries of popular self-help books, including global bestsellers like Rich Dad Poor Dad and Think Like A Monk. These accusations are grounded in Pocket FM’s exclusive licence from Manjul Publishing House, granting Hindi audio rights to these books.

Pursuing damages of Rs.2 crore, Pocket FM contends that Kuku FM’s summaries infringe on their exclusive audio rights. The legal battle intensified as Kuku FM defended its position, asserting that their summaries were unique interpretations and analyses, distinct from the full audiobooks. Although Kuku FM initially had complete versions of some titles, they removed them after receiving notice of Pocket FM’s licensing.

As the court deliberates on whether Kuku FM’s summaries breach Pocket FM’s rights, the case underscores the clash over intellectual property in the podcasting arena. The outcome will likely shape how platforms navigate content creation, copyright, and the evolving landscape of digital audio entertainment.

(I) Matter Settled between Kuku FM vs Pocket FM

Kuku FM vs Pocket FM legal battle

Kuku FM has reached a settlement with Pocket FM in their highly-publicized copyright infringement dispute. Seven months after Pocket FM accused Kuku FM of violating copyright laws by featuring audio summaries of books exclusively licensed to Pocket FM, the two rivals have signed an agreement, submitted to the Delhi High Court on December 21, 2022.

In the settlement, Kuku FM commits to promptly removing content exclusively owned by Pocket FM from its platform. 

The agreement explicitly outlines Kuku FM’s undertaking not to infringe on Pocket FM’s rights concerning the specified works. 

Additionally, Kuku FM pledges to avoid any violations related to Pocket FM’s copyrights, encompassing summaries, adaptations, and similar materials.

As a significant part of the resolution, Kuku FM withdrew its copyright infringement case against Pocket FM, which involved a book related to the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. Notably, the Delhi High Court had previously ruled in favor of Kuku FM in this particular case, instructing Pocket FM to take down the concerned audiobook.

The settlement’s terms highlight the importance of respecting intellectual property, setting a precedent in the realm of audiobook summaries and reinforcing the rights of publishers and authors. Pocket FM acknowledges the court order as a crucial reminder and emphasizes its significance for intellectual property rights within the creative community.

(J) Final Verdict on Kuku FM vs Pocket FM: Which one is better?

Kuku FM leans towards educational and self-improvement content, while Pocket FM focuses more on entertainment. 

Kuku FM showcases financial stability and a robust subscriber base, while Pocket FM emphasizes its extensive investor backing and broader language expansion. The recent copyright dispute underscores the competitive spirit between the two platforms. 

If you prioritize financial strength and established user numbers, Kuku FM may be your go-to. 

On the other hand, if you value investor support and language variety, Pocket FM could be the preferred option. 

Ultimately, both platforms cater to diverse audio content needs, ensuring users can find a suitable listening experience based on their priorities.

So yes… The choice between Kuku FM vs Pocket FM depends on your individual content preferences!

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Published By: Supti Nandi
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