OTT apps began mainly as online destinations for catch-up TV but now they have the ambition to become super apps that combine entertainment of all kinds on one platform
In order to increase time spent and engagement, OTT video-streaming players are looking beyond their core offering of originals, TV shows and movie titles. Hotstar, MX Player and Zee5 have introduced gaming to their platforms in different avatars, whereas Voot has brought educational content to the platform through a partnership with edtech firm UpGrad.
Both MX Player and Zee5 offer a bouquet of HTML-5 hyper-casual games that could potentially increase the time spent by users on the apps. Then there’s Hotstar’s Watch’NPlay, which has primarily been an accompaniment to games of cricket streamed on the platform. The feature allows viewers to gauge the result of every ball and win rewards for the right answers.
OTT apps began mainly as online destinations for catch-up TV. These now have the ambition to become super apps that combine entertainment of all kinds on one platform. “Expanding the variety of entertainment and content on the app extends the app to a new user base,” says Rajneel Kumar, business head, expansion projects and head of products, ZEE5 India. Users on Zee5 spend around 40 minutes a day on gaming, playing in bursts of eight minutes around six times a day. Those who watch videos on Zee5 spend a similar duration of time on the app.
Kumar informs that after games, Zee5 will be introducing hyper-short-form user-generated content on the platform and hyper-local news, too. The company is aiming at building its own IP in games and plans to create games based on its OTT originals.
MX Player, another OTT platform, views itself as the destination for ‘everytainment’. Vivek Jain, COO, MX Player, informs that gaming is the fastest growing vertical on the platform in comparison to video and audio. At present, the app has built 25 hyper-casual games from car racing to quiz-based games and the company is developing more games to cater to the rising demand.
Voot, meanwhile, has decided to bring content that addresses the needs of the consumer in lockdown. In addition to educational content, Voot plans to stream health and wellness-related content too — mostly through partnerships. “The focus is to be a platform that offers a convenient solution for a consumer as they can come to a single destination for all their content needs,” says Akash Banerji, head, AVOD business, Voot.
Each of these platforms are vying for the attention of users and are hoping to pry them away from competing video-streaming behemoths and other entertainment destinations. Going after the WeChat super-app model also benefits advertisers who use these platforms to reach consumers. “As opposed to plain display advertising, brands can leverage the reward-based ad model of gaming to drive conversions through these apps while also targeting fresh cohorts of users who may have first stumbled across the app on an experimental basis,” observes Shrenik Gandhi, CEO and co-founder, White Rivers Media.
OTT platforms are not the only ones trying to diversify their offering. Flipkart brings e-commerce, video and games together on its platform. For Flipkart, the aim of gaming has been to get new customers acquainted to the platform and make purchases. “We have seen that people end up spending more time on the commerce platform when they are engaging with our games offering,” says a Flipkart spokesperson.