GUEST ARTICLE: OTT platforms changing the entertainment sector, one app at a time

Mumbai: OTT platforms have become the mainstay for the entertainment needs of the globe; especially in recent years with the internet activity in India reaching an astonishing 749 million across the country. To put a perspective on sheer numbers, Indian M&E Industry today stands valued at $26 billion with two-third of growth in the last three years coming from the digital subsegments. Since the last five years, the Indian government has been pushing the agenda of digitization of the country, leapfrogging India into the future and therefore on the back of that OTT sector revolutionised entertainment, regardless to say that pandemic was a further catalyst to this revolution.

Bespoke, premium interactive content at the tip of fingers

One distinctive way that OTT platforms carved a niche for themselves was by understanding the need for targeted content as well as exclusivity in terms of entertainment. People who were bored with the daily soap fare on broadcast was a large unserved base and they made OTT platforms their main choice of entertainment; as rather than streaming 100 channels at the same time, they allowed people to pick and choose the content they wanted to stream as per their convenience. The other experience that super fans are loving is the interactivity and the immersive content. There is this mass movement of fans participating and creating content around content via creating an avatar and live streaming, playing games, speaking, singing etc. and gaining followers. Even live lock screen content is now witnessing engagement and participation that opens another avenue for OTT platforms to explore with snackable content gaining traction across social media, news, gaming and sports.

Making exclusive, well made and high-quality content at the consumer convenience, the new normal, rather than waiting every day for content to be served as per the broadcast timings.

Revenue explosion: SVoD vs AVoD

We all are now well aware of the chord cutting that has already happened across metros and is now spreading to tier two and three cities; Standing at a staggering 85-90 million subscriptions today, this figure is set to reach 160-165 million mark around 2027 as per BCG report. Also willingness to pay for premium content is showcased in the faster growth of SVoD (16X over the past three years) over AVoD segment and the revenue projection states that by 2030 SVoD will contribute 55-60 per cent of the OTT revenue segment. Even advertisers are now recognising the value of digital medium with Digital native share of the top 50 advertisers spending rising from seven per cent in 2020 to 26 per cent in 2021.

Customer experience: customization & microgenres

“I prefer watching shows or movies that have a good storyline irrespective of the language. With easy access to content from multiple languages and genres, I watch a lot more multilingual content.” Says a consumer as per BCG report on OTT 2022… Self explanatory as to how OTT has cut the language barriers across to highlight good content products, whether regional or global or the GLOCAL trend. Today regional languages enjoy 35 per cent share on OTT platforms that cover dialects as well leading to microgenres of content.

With this mass adoption, OTT platforms recognized the importance of a user-friendly experience, ease of journey, customised targeting via content, ads and organic tools, One click subscription, vertical videos on mobile, hassle free payment options, Buffer free experience, customised playlists and add ons, Recommendation engines, loyalty programs, launch strategies and freebie deals for the viewers and the list goes on, trying to win the hearts of the viewers and therefore the Consumer loyalty. The Idea at all times is to make consumers feel that the platform cares and wishes to build a deeper understanding between them…

Connected across

Video OTT saw 4X increase across connected devices like Smart TVs, Fire across the last five years. Viewers have the option of multiple subscriptions across various devices, which also leads to a very interesting theory of marketers being able to speak to viewers across devices with targeted ads. Viewers interact with their devices differently throughout the day and marketers need to understand these nuances well before creating a media strategy. The other point emerging from Connected devices rise is the quality of the content and running in two parallel tracks of Individual and family led consumption. Mobile/laptop driving individual and smart TVs driving family consumption largely, leading to content creation and targeting accordingly.

Reimagining future

As OTT Industry takes a larger share of M&E Industry, certain factors will rule the roost and drive the growth; In short, as OTT platforms proliferate, aggregators will come into play and business models will need a rethink. The Infrastructure will evolve and will need to be supported through for further interactive and immersive experiences as well as AI and ML for better targeting. Demand will emerge further for disruptive technological assets that are easy to use and that will need certain skill sets and talent workforce. While the government is, of course, pushing for digital bharat, codes and regulations on OTT content will need to be handled carefully to allow creativity to stay at par with consumer expectations. And saving the most important for last, consumer value, consumer loyalty and keeping consumer at the centre of it all is what will keep pushing mass adoption, making OTT the mainstay of entertainment.

The author of this article is business strategy & growth consultant Divya Dixit.

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