Isn’t WynkTube Going To Cannibalize WynkMusic

Bharti Airtel’s apps and content business unit had Tuesday launched WynkTube, a music app that also plays music video. The company already has a music app named WynkMusic, that, as per company claims, has over 100 million users.

The company says Wynk Tube is aimed at millions of users who wanted localised and personalised music content but in both the formats. The new app, the company claims, has comparatively simpler user interface, light weight, and available in multiple languages. Users can instantly switch between audio and video mode of their favourite tracks with a single touch.

Now, many question arises.

One, why a company would create two separate apps that offer almost similar services, with one of them offering just a bit of extra features? Second, wouldn’t it have been more prudent to add that ‘extra feature’ with the existing app and not confuse the users? Third, is the new app or WynkTube not going to cannibalise the old app or WynkMusic?

The company gives some explanations.

“We also thought of that,” says Sameer Batra, CEO – Content & Apps, Bharti Airtel. “But, both these apps have distinct identities and offer unique features. Instead of competing, these two apps would complement each other,” he explains.

We, however, differ. Here is why.

First, smartphone users these days are gradually getting irritated with having too many apps on their phone screen. They prefer as less as apps to reside on their phone that can perform as much as functions possible. These consumers, out of no or limited choice, still tolerate with having different apps for they offer some unique features or some extra benefits. For example, having taxi hailing apps like Ola and Uber or mobile wallets like PayTm and MobiKwik, and even Amazon Prime and Netflix.

All these above mentioned apps offer similar services in their categories, may be having some unique features or benefits, but all belong to different companies. These apps keep adding new features to their existing app to make it more robust, future proof and to have an edge over their competitors.

None came from the same company targeting similar set of users.

Second, WynkMusic, the original music app from Airtel already has 100 million users, both free and paid, the company claims. The new app WynkTube aims at having the next set of 100 million users, both free and paid. Both these apps are available fro Airtel as well as non-Airtel users and are based on similar business model. Both these apps retrieve their music audio and video, as the case may be, from the same repository.

Now, when a consumer gets better features, mainly video and a simpler UI, he or she may tend to switch to the new app and may or may not uninstall the old app initially. I’m sure the new app, WynkTube, is technologically more advanced, available in multiple languages, light-weight, and offers music video.

With all these advantages with the WynkTube, a customer would stop using the older sibling, and soon uninstall the app. The company took over four years to acquire 100 million customers for WynkMusic, and the same set of users, sooner or later, would shift their focus to the new video app, as an obvious choice.

What Could Have Helped

Airtel, simply, could have added the video capabilities to the existing music app and might have thought of rebranded it as WynkTube. It would have helped the company in multiple ways. One, it could have retained the existing 100 million customers, and even, with the video capabilities, could have sped up the acquisition of the targeted 100 million new customers. Second, it would not have had the customers ‘confused’ over which app to choose. Customer experience is what matters the most in acquiring and then retaining a customer.

We would love to have your opinion on this.

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