OTT trends to watch out for in 2022

As we move towards 2022, we can expect deeper discussions at the company table happening around what “top-tier” content means and how budgets should be allocated to keep consumers engaged.

With ‘connected’ customers becoming increasingly tech-savvy, video streaming is now becoming a personal preference and the choice of content is continuously evolving.
With ‘connected’ customers becoming increasingly tech-savvy, video streaming is now becoming a personal preference and the choice of content is continuously evolving.

By Raman Abrol

Like most other aspects of our daily lives, the COVID-19 pandemic put an abrupt halt to some of the most popular sources of entertainment—one of which was going to movie theatres. As a result, audiences were left with limited choices. Many resorted to watching reruns of old shows or movies due to a severe dearth of fresh content on conventional mediums like television.

Offering entertainment at the mere click of a button, over-the-top (OTT) media services have since transitioned from an ancillary to a main source of engagement for content that one may not find anywhere else. With ‘connected’ customers becoming increasingly tech-savvy, video streaming is now becoming a personal preference and the choice of content is continuously evolving.

The growth of the OTT market in India has been huge in recent years, imitating what broadcast could achieve in around thirty years within just even to eight years.

However, with the vaccination drive going on in full force and the economy slowly opening up, What does it mean for the OTT industry? The sector is already positioned at a very interesting juncture. And as people return to their new-normal lives, there are a lot of questions about how it will stand up in face of stronger competition from cinema halls and television. Some of the factors that will drive growth for the industry include:

Advent of 5G: 5G promises faster and more reliable connectivity that would result in reduced buffering issues, and an uninterrupted and almost real-time streaming experience. This would lead to better quality of streaming content; especially as live sports is making its entry on the OTT platforms.

Localisation of content: As the audiences mature and OTT players seek to deliver good content, there will be an organic focus on building local and regional content. As viewers gain access to content that reflects local cultures, lifestyles, traditions, it will only drive industry growth.

Continued demand for the ‘perfect’ subscription bundle: The existence of too many streaming options and subscription models is resulting in viewers looking for that ‘perfect bundle’ that offers their favourite shows and channels without the hassle of managing multiple payments and subscriptions. According to a recent survey by Amdocs, in terms of the different bundles that interest consumers, 79% of surveyed mentioned a bundling of video streaming, entertainment, and communication services.

Consolidation of fragmented OTT market: While the OTT market is massive and there is growth potential for every player in it, this space is highly fragmented with various small players along with some big brands. We are seeing big players like Amazon Prime Video collaborating with other OTT service providers to consolidate their offerings under one roof, offering customers a wider and diverse content slate, the convenience of watching their favourite shows or movies from a single platform, streamlined payment structure, and much more. And the various streaming services get the benefit of accessing a larger customer base. This trend may continue with other players looking to create similar partnerships to further their growth and avoid the rise of a monopolistic situation in the industry.

Rise of Immersive streaming technology: With the advantage of 5G network, we may expect to see more immersive streaming services such as 4K video and Virtual Reality (VR) that may even make 360-degree live broadcasting a huge possibility.

Growth of more socially relevant content: As audiences continue to gravitate towards non-traditional ways of watching, social integration will be necessary for all major platforms. In 2022, I believe we’ll see social-based content better combined into unified offerings from the likes of Roku, Amazon and Apple TV.

Shared viewing may become a norm: In the past year or so, we have seen the growing popularity of Netflix’s Teleparty and Amazon Prime’s Watch Party services that enable customers to view movies together on the same video chat, enabling platform users to stream simultaneously and enjoy socially from the safety and comfort of their homes. I believe this trend to gain momentum in the coming year.

Enhanced user experience with technologically advanced user interface: For OTT players to stay in the frame, they would need to continue enhancing their platforms with better technologies, making the interface, search and select options, viewing experience, amongst others seamless and smooth for their subscribers.

As we move towards 2022, we can expect deeper discussions at the company table happening around what “top-tier” content means and how budgets should be allocated to keep consumers engaged. It would, thus, become even more vital to remain customer-focussed to stay ahead of the competition. This means curating unique, enthralling and authentic content for the audience that satisfies their insatiable thirst for fresh, and quality entertainment, as and when they like.

The author is GM and chief commercial officer of Amdocs Media. Views expressed are personal.

Read Also: Trends to look out in 2022: Brands will look for simple impact through social media

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