We are no longer bound by mass content, but are demanding customised content for our individual needs, as viewership moves from the TV in the living room to the personal device.Traditional 30 and 60 minute boundaries are blurring — we want our content across short, medium and long formats. We like to binge watch, across devices. We prefer regional language content to English. While our earnings are growing, we mostly don’t want to pay for content. We want to belong to communities and share our perspectives. And while we frequent our devices several times a day, we do it for shorter periods than regular TV.
In all the above factors lies the case for fresh content. Chances are, if the same content is available on TV, we would watch it there. This is due to the fact that the ‘total cost of experience’ of OTT, that is, the cost of content and cost of bandwidth, is still much higher today than the cost of C&S TV — approximately three to fourtimes higher with a good broadband connection. In addition, the mobile phone is still the prime medium of OTT consumption, and mobile broadband networks are still building out capacity to enable a robust viewing experience. Many broadcasters have evidenced that while there is a large market for catch-up consumption of TV content on OTT platforms, creating additional content around their TV shows works very well on digital. A case in point is the additional content created by Bigg Boss and other reality shows in India.
You may also like to watch this video:
TV is a broadcast technology, and hence has always catered to as wide an audience as possible. Its content therefore reflects the lowest common denominator of preferences, and since India’s socio-economic pyramid has a very wide base of C, D and E audiences, content is often created for these audiences. OTT is inherently an SEC A and B product (primarily due to hardware cost and cost of experience) and hence, must align with unicast requirements by treating each individual as a unique audience member. Hence, the need for fresh content tailored to A and B category audiences is critical for OTT’s success.
The OTT era only re-emphasises the old adage that content is king. Customers have more choice than ever before of entertainment options, and therefore, for an OTT platform to be successful, content and experience will be the two most important factors. This is why Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others have content budgets in billions of dollars. Indian OTT platforms are starting to follow suit with increased fresh and derivative programming. It’s a win-win situation!
The author is partner, media advisory services at Ernst & Young LLP.