Consumer is the king in the new media landscape

MUMBAI: The affordability of data price and smartphones has shifted the balance of power in the favour of consumers.

In the traditional media, the distribution is the god while content is the king. However, the emergence of mobile as an additional screen to consume content has made the consumer the ultimate king who will decide when and where to watch the content of his choice.

The digital has broken several myths like the consumption of only short-form content on mobile.

Participating in a panel discussion on the ‘Future of TV in India’ at FICCI Frames 2018, Hotstar CEO Ajit Mohan people gravitate towards high-quality stories whether it is TV or digital. He also said that the assumption that people will gravitate towards short-form content on mobile is not true.

“The explosion of data has made it even starker and clearer. The constraint earlier was the cost of watching video content on mobile and therefore there may have been a bias toward short-form content,” he noted.

Like TV, the digital revenue model will also be a mix of subscription and ad revenue. “The digital revenue model will also rely on both advertising and subscription. Advertisers are willing to pay a premium when they know which consumers they are reaching. Like globally, people in India will pay for content as well,” he added.

IndiaCast Media Distribution CEO Anuj Gandhi said that the power has shifted to the consumer in the new scheme of things. The biggest change, according to Gandhi, is that content consumption has become agnostic in terms of devices.

“There will be only one god which is the consumer. The control is shifting to the consumer whether it is long-form or short-form of whether you watch it on WhatsApp or big screen,” he stated.

Viacom18 COO Raj Nayak said that the future of TV is very bright. He also noted that the myth of youth not watching TV has been broken. The myth of people watching short-form content on digital has also broken. He noted that even in the US 90%+ watch content on a bigger screen.

“As you progress in life you want bigger house bigger car and bigger TV. There has been an increase in the adoption of bigger size TVs. The share of smart TVs has also increased,” he said.

Nayak also said that the supply of ad inventory will increase with the multiplicity of platforms. However, he said that the fragmentation of advertising rupee i is a damn good thing as the content produced by large broadcasters is also getting consumed on digital. He noted that the viewership of linear TV on Jio TV is exploding with 3 crore viewers a month.

“It’s TV everywhere. We don’t monetise linear on digital but the way I look at it is that the content we create will have more and more touchpoints. The opportunity to monetise will be that much more,” he added.

Former Reliance Entertainment chairman Amit Khanna said that the M&E sector is on the brink of a paradigm shift.

“Average time spent on the mobile device has grown exponentially. People are spending 1 hour and 20 minutes of various apps. Digital connectivity will alter the pattern of viewing. Now it is about access and distribution. The consumer will determine how he will access content,” he stated.

He also pointed out that most anthropologists agree that there is a time lag of three years between adoption of technology and change in social behaviour. “We have seen the adoption of mobile but we have not seen the impact that will start triggering in a year or two,” he added.

E&Y managing partner M&E Ashish Pherwani said that the valuation of any business is driven by future potential. He also stated that people watch TV viewing is escapism with movie and entertainment content. “So what’s driving valuation up? Anything that helps to take that time spent up,” he answered.

Times Network MD and CEO MK Anand said that the consumers don’t differently irrespective of the content they consume.

He also stated that the ease of doing broadcast business in India has improved a lot in the last three to four years. It has happened due to the availability of better technology, and better user bandwidth.

“Overall, the ability to churn out a channel and take it to critical mass level is so much simpler in 2018. In the past, it could have taken 2-2.5 years but now we have successfully relaunched Mirror Now in a year’s time,” he stated.