Airtel takes aim at Youtube with ‘Wynk Tube’

Bharti Airtel has introduced a competitor to Youtube, which accounts for more than half of India’s mobile internet consumption, with the launch of Wynk Tube — a Youtube like app that will focus more on music and music videos.

Unlike Youtube, which does not let its free users switch to an audio only mode, Wynk Tube will allow users to switch between video and audio modes easily.

It will be free for Airtel users, the company said.

Many Indians use Youtube to consume music due to the lack of ‘intelligent’ music playing apps similar to Youtube.

While India does have many music playing apps, they cannot match Youtube’s ability to suggest ‘similar songs’ to the one that a user is currently playing and automatically create a playlist based on that song. Without this feature, people have to remember, search and select a new song after each song finishes playing.

Wynk Tube will, however, try to replicate the auto play feature from Google.

“Airtel has used a combination of smart, simple and intuitive interface backed by a powerful machine learning algorithm to power recommendations and personalize the app,” the telecom operator said.

Wynk Tube is launching with a collection of over 40 lakh songs.

“The app, which has been built for India by Airtel’s in-house teams, aims to simplify the digital entertainment experience for hundreds of millions of smartphones users, particularly in Tier 2 and 3 towns and villages.

“Smartphone customers in these markets have a strong affinity for streaming videos of their favourite music tracks and want the convenience of being able to listen and watch their favourite tracks. There is also a need for vernacular interface that makes the user experience much more personalized and lowers the barrier to smartphone usage,” the company explained.

Wynk Tube will allow users to stream audio and video of popular tracks within the same interface, it added.

“Users can instantly switch between audio and video mode of their favourite tracks with a single touch.”

The app is currently available for Android smartphones.

Wynk Tube ‘weighs’ only 5MB and will work even on low-power smartphones, the company said.

The app will be available in 12 regional languages, including Kannada, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil and Bhojpuri, besides English and Hindi.

It also comes with voice search.

“Wynk Music gave shape to our journey to the first 100 million users and we believe Wynk Tube will accelerate our journey to the next 100 million users,” said Sameer Batra, CEO – Content & Apps, Bharti Airtel. “AI, big data will continue to be a big agenda for us.”