This is a continuation of our piece on Byju’s which appeared last week. If you haven’t read it already, you must.

In the last piece, you understood how Byju’s has been chasing ‘everything exponential’. Both in terms of raising capital and changing almost every year, as to what the company does. A critical shift happened two years ago, in August 2015. Byju’s moved all of its courses, preparatory material for competitive exams, K12 courses like the 11 and 12 grade; everything to the Byju’s Learning App. Everything online. So the content sits on the cloud—a user can purchase the course, watch the videos, learn and score better.

Except, there’s one bit in this whole plethora of changes, which has remained constant, over the years. Let’s call it the SD card play. After our Part I on Byju’s, the company’s founder Byju Raveendran reached out saying that some of the points made in the story were not lining up with his original claims around user engagement due to an offline aspect of their delivery model—an SD card contains the courses. According to Byju, it is offline but its engagement metrics are worth pointing out. In fact, the 40 minutes per day, per user claim is based on the SD card usage. (According to App Annie, arguably the most-cited app analytics service, that figure was close to 11 minutes a month)

So, let’s understand how this works. Every user who buys a course on Byju’s gets an SD card, shipped to his address. This card comes pre-loaded with the course. So that students can watch the videos without internet. Data in India has hitherto been both expensive and patchy. Hence, this fix. The manual instructs the user to insert this card in the phone or tablet and sideload an application called Byju’s Premium. The size of the Byju’s premium .apk file varies—from 12-20 GB or more. For instance, if you’ve bought the 11 and 12-grade courses, there are multiple SD cards. One for mathematics. Another for physics. One more for chemistry. Does it sound cumbersome and complicated? Well, it is. That and more.

Like, what if your phone doesn’t support an SD card or even if it does; you are already using another card, which has music or movies on it? What do you do then? Enter sales. At the point of sale, if a parent brings up these issues, the Byju’s salesperson offers to buy a tablet. For just Rs 4,000 more, your child can enjoy the videos, which look way, way cooler on a large screen. No hassle. Another question. Why should a user sideload an app that’s not on the Google Play Store? This isn’t safe, from a security point of view. Byju’s says its app is absolutely safe. One more. What about iOS devices? Apple doesn’t allow a user to sideload an app. Complicated. You have no choice but to use the online app, which is the Byju’s Learning App.

AUTHOR

Ashish K. Mishra

Ashish edits and writes stories at The Ken. Across subjects. In his last assignment, he was a Deputy Editor at Mint, a financial daily published by HT Media. At the paper, he wrote long, deeply reported feature stories. His earlier assignments: Forbes India magazine and The Economic Times. Born in Kolkata. Studied in New Delhi – B.Com from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University. Works out of anywhere, where there is a good story to be told.

View Full Profile

Subscribe to read this story

The Ken is the only business subscription you need. Questions?

 

Premium

  • 5 original and reported longform business stories every week
  • Access to ONLY India edition
  • Close to 250 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters
  • 4 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to ONLY Southeast Asia edition
  • Close to 200 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to all paywalled stories since March 2020
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters

Rs. 2,750 /year

$ 120 /year

India Edition
Subscribe Subscribe
Most Asked For

Borderless

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories

Rs. 4,200 /year

Subscribe
 

Echelon

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories
  • Bonus annual gift subscription
  • Priority access to all new products and features

Rs. 8,474 /year

Subscribe
Or

Questions?

What kind of subscription plans do you offer?

We have three types of subscriptions
- Premium which gives you access to either the India or the Southeast Asia edition.
- Borderless which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions
- Echelon which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions along with a bonus gift subscription

What do I get if I subscribe?

The Premium edition gives you access to stories in that edition along with any five subscriber-only newsletters of your choice.

The Borderless and Echelon subscription gives you complete access to The Ken across editions and unlimited access to as many newsletters as you like.

What topics do you usually write about?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics. We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

Our specialised subscriber-only newsletters are written by our expert, award-winning journalists and cover a range of topics across finance, retail, clean energy, cryptocurrency, ed-tech and many more.

How many newsletters do you have?

We are constantly adding specialised subscriber-only newsletters all the time. All of these are written by our team of award-winning journalists on a specialised topic.

You can see the list of newsletters that we publish over here.

Does a Premium subscription to your Indian edition get me access to the Southeast Asia edition? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

We recommend the Borderless or the Echelon Plan which will give you access to stories across both editions.

Do you have a mobile app?

Yes! We have a top-rated mobile app on both iOS and Android which allows you to read on-the-go and has some amazing features like the ability to bookmark stories, save on your device, dark mode, and much more. It’s really the best way to read The Ken.

Is there a free trial?

You can sign up for a free account to experience The Ken and understand our products better. We’ll send you some free stories and newsletters occasionally, and you can access our archive of previously published free stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

The vast majority of our stories, articles and newsletters can be accessed only by a paid subscription.

Do you offer any discounts?

Sorry, no. Our journalism is funded completely by our subscribers. We believe that quality journalism comes at a price, and readers trust and pay us so that we can remain independent.

Do you offer refunds?

No. We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Just write to us at [email protected] with details. We’ll help you out.

I have a few more questions. How can I reach out to you?

Sure. Just email us at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter.