Ola expands Ola Play services for Prime users


Bengaluru: Ride hailing service Ola (ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd) has rolled out its so-called connected car platform Ola Play to all consumers who choose to avail sedans under the Prime category, a senior company executive said.

Last November, Ola had launched Ola Play for subscribers to the Select service, which is essentially a subscription-based privilege programme where subscribers are not subjected to surge pricing, get preferential booking for cabs and discounted rates, among others.

The Play service, which Ola believes will be instrumental in its success and expanding the lead over Uber Technologies Inc., will be available in 50,000 Prime cabs by March.

The company also claimed that since the launch of Play, Select subscriptions have witnessed a 300% increase.

Ola Play allows consumers to access personalized content such as music, movies, shopping and also lets them control the air-conditioning through tablets. The company will incur a cost of Rs20,000-30,000 per cab, Mint reported in November.

The company has partnered with the likes of Apple Music, Sony LIV, All India Bakchod, The Viral Fever, Audio Compass and Fynd for content and shopping experience.

It is looking for more partnerships in categories such as news and short videos, said Ankit Jain, head of Ola Play.

Ola, however, does not plan to monetize the service immediately.

“We believe that we need to create a differentiated experience. The ride sharing experience across the world has become commoditised. People are loving this experience as they have not seen anything like this before. We have examples around the world that profitability is driven by differentiated experience and you struggle when you have a commoditised experience. We are not worried about monetisation,” said Jain.

Ola also claims that half of all rides for the company will be on a Play enabled-car before the end of this year. Jain, however, did not give a timeline for the roll out of Play for all categories of cabs, including the low-cost variants Ola Micro and Mini.

Interestingly, according to several industry experts and executives, the low-cost variants for Ola, Micro and Mini, and UberGO, the San Fransisco-headquartered rival’s low cost offering, account for about 75% of their overall rides.

“A big chunk of our prime fleet has Ola Play. We want to move our entire prime fleet in top cities to the Play platform by the end of March. We want to make sure that the job we have at hand is done well. We will go full throttle on it and then take on newer categories,” said Jain.