Television in the early 1980’s brought families together with shows like Hum Log, the first soap opera on Indian television. In the West, a seminal moment was 12:01 AM, August 1, 1981. MTV aired Video Killed the Radio Star – a song by The Buggles. Television was in, and radio began its dive to a slow decline. Beyond that bit of trivia, it’s interesting to see the history of media and consumption across devices from the prism of cricket. June 25, 1983 and April 2, 2011 mark when India won the ICC Cricket World Cup. However, how we received the news of India’s victory changed over the 28-year timeframe. In 1983, it was over the radio while in 2011, it was predominantly over television. Smartphones in 2011 were the televisions of 1983 —not nearly as prevalent and came with expensive high-speed data connections.
In 2017, however, things are different. In a recent India-England One Day International, Akamai supported Hotstar to deliver 25 million people watching the match via their smartphone. 25 million isn’t a lot unless you factor in that it accounted for a majority of the internet traffic generated from India on the day. For scale, when India hosted the Asian Games a year before it won the world cup in 1983, there were just 50,000 colour television sets in a country of 730 million people.
So where do things go from here? We are truly becoming a Digital India with more businesses moving online and being born online as well. Urban India has 444 million estimated residents with 269 million using the internet. Rural India has 906 million estimated residents and has 163 million internet users. Unlike with television and Hum Log and The Buggles, there’s no defining moment to pinpoint the shift from one medium to another. However, we can predict trends in content consumption patterns.
Per Nielsen estimates, the average time spent by an individual on streaming videos has increased nearly nine times between Q2’14 and Q4’16. Furthermore, mobile video traffic is expected to grow 11.5 times while the number of video capable devices and connections is expected to grow 2.2 times between 2016 and 2021. Video is expected to represent 60% of the overall mobile data traffic and is expected to grow to 78% by 2021.
How do video providers capitalise on this content consumption shift? What one needs to account for is that while rural India represents the next wave of growth, what currently is an issue is network connectivity. The solution to this problem lies in Predictive Content Delivery. Predictive Content Delivery provides mobile customers with a video experience that is of a high quality, always available, with instant start-up and offline viewing capabilities. Essentially, viewers should have an experience similar to an in-home TV experience with the ability to quickly zap or swipe to the next video. What does this mean for businesses?
– Extend video consumption allowing users access to video on-demand, on-the-go with fresh personalised content
– Increase quality to provide HD experience
– Optimise video delivery by leveraging off-peak cellular windows or Wi-Fi
An analogy from football would best help to explain Predictive Content Delivery. During the 1990 World Cup semis that England lost to West Germany, a spike of 2,800 megawatts in electricity consumption, equivalent to 1.1 million kettles, was recorded by the National Grid. For VOD and OTT players, Predictive Content Delivery is a step forward in eliminating poor viewing experiences and delivering interrupted streams when viewer consumption spikes on a platform.
The writer is regional vice president, media, Asia Pacific & Japan, Akamai Technologies