2020: A new era for the streaming industry

Siddhartha Roy

The OTT industry has come a long way. Whether it is music streaming or video streaming, content consumption and creation has grown manifold in the past 3 years. With increased smartphone usage, inexpensive data plans and internet penetration acting as catalysts, streaming doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. 2020 will see the industry evolve even further in more ways than one.

Big data to drive decisions

Data is the most powerful currency in the world and big data has helped OTT services to go beyond the obvious streaming numbers to analyse consumer habits and utilise these insights to make business decisions. From product development to improvement, content creation to recommendation, efficient implementation of data collection and analysis mechanisms can help streaming services improve their ROIs. With competition in the industry intensifying, platforms will start relying on big data even more to stay ahead of the curve.

The age of AI and ML

Consumers return to platforms that give them a sense of familiarity and act as mirrors to their personal likes and dislikes. AI and ML leverage data insights to drive recommendations and suggestions that help platforms personalise the user experience. In an industry that could soon become cluttered, smart AI and ML tools will go a long way in helping platforms stay relevant for their users.

Innovations in advertising

Big data, AI and ML together will help advertisers in customising and personalising their messages and target users with greater accuracy and precision. Further, advertisers and platforms will continue to explore newer formats to make advertising a more immersive experience for users.

The rise of languages

Already, about 48% of consumption on our platforms is driven by non-Hindi languages; regional Indian languages make up about 35% of the consumption pie. An increase in content consumption in tier II and III cities has led to a greater demand for content that is local and in a language that most people understand. The idea is to narrate stories that are locally relevant, yet can enjoy a universal appeal. It is because of this reason that we will increasingly see movies and shows indulge in storytelling that is deeply entrenched in a specific region, and is still enjoyed by a global audience because of subtitling or dubbing.

Original content

Content is fast emerging to be one of the key differentiators for platforms. Since licensed content is similar across platforms and even the same, in case of music streaming, it is original content that lends an air of exclusivity to OTT services. From original shows to films, original music to playlists and packaging, consumers will increasingly value platforms that can offer original content across languages and genres. 2020 will see platforms go full throttle on original content.

Strengthening distribution

In an era of multiple platforms vying for attention, a strong distribution network ensures that users are able to access the service and its content across different ecosystems. OTT platforms will need to focus on strengthening their distribution and hence, reach. Through our platforms we have created multiple touchpoints, for instance, besides apps on Google Playstore and Apple Store, Hungama Music is available on AI-enabled assistants like Alexa.

Likewise, Hungama Play is available on Vodafone Play, Idea Movies & TV, Airtel Xstream App, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Tata Sky Binge, MX Player and Android TVs. Our strategic association with Xiaomi also enables users to enjoy Hungama Music on Mi Music and Hungama Play on Mi TV.

Consumer engagement

Platforms will now need to go beyond the ordinary to break the clutter and make the streaming experience more engaging for users. Our unique loyalty program, Hungama Rewards, allows users to earn coins for every action they take on both our platforms, making the experience more immersive for them

These coins can then be redeemed for physical merchandise and digital experiences. We’ll continue to strengthen the program further in 2020; we also expect the industry to devise programs to up the ante on consumer engagement.

2020 is the beginning of a new decade and it is going to serve as a strong foundation for the streaming revolution expected in the next 10 years!

(Siddhartha Roy is COO, Hungama Digital Media. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of TelevisionPost.com)

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