OTT players dwell on growth strategy and opportunity in Indian market

MUMBAI: PromaxBDA India 2019 had a panel discussion titled ‘OTT: To Infinity and Beyond’ on 29th May where some of the leading over the top (OTT) players dwelled upon the strategy to drive growth and the opportunity that exists in the segment.

The session was moderated by Big Synergy CEO Rajiv Bakshi and Amazon Director and Head Content Vijay Subramanian; Eros Digital CEO Ali Hussein; ZEE5 Programming Head Aparna Acharekar; MX Player Chief Content Officer Gautam Talwar and Shemaroo Entertainment COO Digital Zubin Dubash were the panellists.

Speaking on the opportunities the segment holds, Subramanian said, “It’s very early days. As much as we have very avid consumers of OTT today, however, there are around 200 million people who still did not have their first streaming experience and I think that opportunity is really exciting. For the context of making things available and what the customer will care about is driven by two points. One is the quality of the content and the second is the value.”

Being the new entrant in the space, Dubash said, “Shemaroo is being in the business of content for the last five decades across the various platform and various genres of content. We actually have taken learnings of all 55 years and brought that all in the OTT app that we created called ‘Shemaroo Me’. The beauty of our content is that it is being organically consumed over and over again, even on a platform like YouTube where we get 3 million views a month. We look at our watch time and that’s what gave us an insight that there is a huge customer base who actually look at content from a different angle.”

Acharekar said, “We leverage the strengths from our network we have a huge customer base that comes to the platform for catch up shows. Definitely, we have the advancement of being from the house of a broadcaster. The original and movies on OTT platform is the strategy to open up for the newer audiences, for audiences over and above the television audiences.”

Talwar noted, “India is a content hungry country. We cannot give them 10 shows and then expect all the viewers. The content strategy is that we are partnering with many content creators and what we are doing is trying to understand the consumption pattern of consumers and develop a full-fledged strategy to cater to these consumers. On the bases of this understanding, we will create our originals.”

Hussein said, “It’s about identifying what consumer is going to pay for and what they are not going to pay for. Eros Now has the legacy of saying that we have been one of the first vertically in-build studios in the country with IPs of over 10,000 films across 10 different languages and has the biggest kind of depository that has been able to dip into the consumer’s pocket to demand the subscription price. That’s the reason we have customers paying from 135 countries and not just India.

“We don’t have the advantage of broadcast business but still that’s an advantage for us because we have qualitative viewing for movies and movies are tend to become the largest draw pattern. We launched the show on ‘Modi’ and traditionally we have audiences from Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi as the top three cities but number one city was Ahmedabad. So, this was an example of being able to track newer audiences on the platform for the first time.”

Subramanian also shared his views on movies available on OTT platform, he said, “We got to be able to give the viewers the latest and the greatest movies because movies build familiarity. Movies draw people into a new service and then allow it to become a habit. We also recognised that cinematic TV was the huge need gap; there was no place for the customers to access it. We are really committed to our cinematic shows.”

He also stated that there has been a lot of traction of content on the DTH platform and on DTH value-added services. For the last two and a half years, Amazon Prime Video has powered a lot of services on DTH platforms.

Talwar believes that the viewers change their show every now and then. They watch some content on one platform and then move to other platforms for some other content. “Customers are loyal to content not to the platform,” said Dubash.

Subramanian stated that the goal for Amazon Prime Video is to build loyalty for its platform. He said, “Sure people chase content, but I disagree that they only chase show. So it’s really important to give them a wide variety of content, that’s what drives engagement.”

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