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

Available exclusively to subscribers of The Ken India

This story is a part of The Ken India edition. Subscribe. Questions?

MOST POPULAR

Annual Subscription

12-month access to 200+ stories, archive of 800+ stories from our India edition. Plus our premium newsletters, Beyond The First Order and The Nutgraf worth Rs. 99/month or $2/month each for free.

Rs. 2,750

Subscribe
 

Quarterly Subscription

3-month access to 60+ new stories with 3-months worth of archives from our India edition. Plus our premium newsletters, Beyond The First Order and The Nutgraf worth Rs. 99/month or $2/month each for free.

Rs. 1,750

Subscribe
 

Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

Rs. 500

Subscribe
MOST POPULAR

Annual Subscription

12-month access to 150+ stories from Southeast Asia.

$ 120

Subscribe
 

Quarterly Subscription

3-month access to 35+ stories from Southeast Asia.

$ 50

Subscribe
 

Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

$ 20

Subscribe

Questions?

What is The Ken?

The Ken is a subscription-only business journalism website and app that provides coverage across two editions - India and Southeast Asia.

What kind of stories do you write?

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.

What do I get if I subscribe?

For subscribers of the India edition, we publish a new story every weekday, a premium daily newsletter, Beyond The First Order and a weekly newsletter - The Nutgraf.

For subscribers of the Southeast Asia edition, we publish a new story three days a week and a weekly newsletter, Strait Up.

The annual subscription will get you complete, exclusive access to our archive of previously published stories for your edition, along with access to our subscriber-only mobile apps, our premium comment sections, our newsletter archives and several other gifts and benefits.

Do I need to pay separately for your premium newsletters?

Nope. Paid, premium subscribers of The Ken get our newsletters delivered for free.

Does a subscription to the India edition grant me access to Southeast Asia stories? 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.

Do you offer an all-access joint subscription for both editions?

Not yet. If you’d like to access both editions, you’ll have to purchase two subscriptions separately - one for India and the other for Southeast Asia.

Do you offer any discounts?

No. We have a zero discounts policy.

Is there a free trial I can opt for?

We don’t offer any trials, but you can sign up for a free account which will give you access to the weekly free story, our archive of free stories and summaries of the paid stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

Do you offer refunds?

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?

Please write to us at [email protected] detailing the error or queries.