The Indian audience has never had it so good! In what is probably the biggest coup d’état in the entertainment market since cable television, we will have more than five different media houses with exclusive content streams or OTT channels over the next few months, spoiling the audience with choices. Here are a few things you might want to consider though:
Short on mobile, long on WiFi
Most of the video consumption in the country today happens via mobile networks as against WiFi. But this is true mostly for short form content. Will we have the same appetite when it comes to long form like web series and movies? Probably not. However, the launch of 4G services and the growth in unlimited broadband connections might make up for it.
The democratisation of content creation
The content creation ecosystem in the country has already been democratised especially on digital platforms. Brands like #Fame, TVF and Culture Machine have created a niche with irreverent and edgy content that is made for the social media audience. Even traditional players like YRF have created a loyal following for their digital-only content.
What the OTT platforms will do over time is to spawn this ecosystem further by lowering the entry barrier for a creator. In other words, don’t judge a Netflix by the fact that only 7% of their US content is available in India, but by how a new breed of creators will craft content exclusively for that platform.
Download versus streaming
India has always chosen downloading over streaming and on the face of it, this doesn’t augur well for OTT channels. However if you go a little further down memory lane, you will remember that just a decade back, we had a similar argument against Apple’s iTunes. Why will one buy music when you can just steal it for free? But see how far we have come from there.
The imploding hegemony of television
There is a generation in India that does not watch TV or watches very little of it. Web content is making its way into living rooms across multiple devices. This generation is not a fan of appointment viewing and they have a TV today largely just for live broadcasting like sports. This is a small tribe today but it might well set the norms for tomorrow. OTT platforms not only give them the convenience of time but also the choice of genre. According to GroupM’s TYNY report, the Asia Pacific region will overtake Western Europe as the second largest market for VoD services by 2020, fuelled by the growth of smartphones. As a marketer, this is great news, because beyond ad properties, OTTs open the door for more creative and organic integration of brand stories into content.
The author is national director, GroupM Content