The new era of Internet TV will be big and enduring, and no market will be more in-tuned and more discerning to this than India, with its rich entertainment history. Across all geographies, the internet is changing the TV business from provider-driven to consumer-controlled. Going forward, we expect Internet TV to expand rapidly along with these key trends:
The internet is getting faster and more reliable, while the penetration of Smart TVs and adapters is also rising. Telcos are now moving to deliver better, faster and more reliable internet. In parallel, device-makers are improving their software, hardware and video experiences.
Freedom and flexibility
Internet and technology have liberated viewers from a fixed space. Now they can watch TV wherever they want — from smartphones to tablets and laptops to smart TVs. At the same time, algorithms using viewer profiles and watch history power a personalised experience based on individual tastes that also provoke the discovery of new programmes and genres of content.
Internet TV apps allow for real-time updates and technological advancements that continually enhance the watching experience. In a few decades, linear TV will be seen as a great transitional technology to Internet TV, like fixed-line phone to the mobile phone. The spectrum of cable, fibre and over-the-air that supports linear TV viewing will be reallocated to expand internet data transmission. Satellite TV subscribers will decrease and become more rural as connectivity improves.
Great stories travel
Internet TV will also strive because of great content and in this aspect, there is no better way to help great stories transcend borders. Whether it is Italy or India, everyone loves a great story.
The freedom to create
Internet TV networks have an advantage over traditional competitors when it comes to launching a series or a film. Traditional networks need to attract an audience at a given time while OTT services are flexible. Because OTT is not competing for scarce slots, a show that is taking longer to find its audience is one we can keep nurturing.
The beauty of the Internet TV model is that the creative community has the freedom to develop a story outside the artificially imposed limitations of pilot episodes, season lengths and advertiser-motivated story arcs. In addition, content creators and showrunners appreciate this approach because it means more creative storytelling.
The consumer is in control
Internet TV has shifted control to the hands of Indian viewers. So instead of the traditional one new episode per week, consumers now binge watch their way through a series — that is, on average, finishing an entire season in one week.
Over time, this evolution will dilute the relevance of linear TV schedules, where programmes are presented only at particular times on non-portable screens; and viewers are willing to pay a fair price for content. Internet TV — which is on-demand, personalised and available on any screen — is giving viewers the freedom to choose and the industry will only advance from here.
The author is VP, Communications, Asia—Netflix