There’s only so much you can differentiate when you are a cab ride hailing company that is competing with Uber. You could possibly ensure better cars, better service and better pricing.
Having tried most of these, with mixed results, India’s Uber rival Ola is looking at making cab experience more entertaining for riders, hoping it would make riders hop on to its cabs more often.
In November, the Indian company announced Ola Play, a a connected car entertainment platform, through which it gave the controls of the in-car entertainment system to passengers. The service was available only to users who subscribed to Ola’s “Select” plan, which according to the company “saw hundreds of thousands of new users opt for Select subscription, resulting in 3x growth”.
Two months later, the company says it is bringing Ola Play to all its Prime cabs premium cars such as Sedan and MUVs across India. The infotainment tablet, attached to the back of the front seat, can be accessed using a mobile app.
Through Ola Play, the taxi company is offering commuters access to music and video streaming services such as Apple Music, and Sony LIV. Ola says it has also partnered with comedy groups AIB and TVF for their content.
Passengers also get access to Audio Compass, an app that offers “authentic information and immersive audio-guided experiences”, and fashion shopping service Fynd.
Back at the time of launch, Ola said it has opened the in-car experience to third-party developers, however, the company’s website currently doesn’t list any new service for Ola Play.
Ola Play isn’t a new approach, as Uber itself has partnered with Spotify to offer music streaming in some regions. But Ola’s offering isn’t limited to music. Also, Uber currently doesn’t offer its infotainment system in India.