OTT Platforms Striving To Stay Relevant In Ever Evolving Market & Technologies

OTT spaces need to understand the critical importance of personalised experiences and content, writes Divya Dixit

There was a time that radio, broadcasting, and newspapers ruled the minds of global consumers, and then came the wave of OTT platforms that offered personalised content, playlists, and unique narratives that empowered the viewer. This changed the game and the entertainment sector rose to much significance. Also, as OTT media became mainstream entertainment, platforms now have a constant need to revamp their catalogue, marketing tactics, business partnerships, and technology to stay ahead in the game. The bar is raised on hygiene and consumers are discerning about the overall experience. 

The figures show that the Indian OTT streaming video market is currently in its second expansion and two billion dollars in advertising and one billion dollars in subscription is the current business value.

Business Model Disruption

The business model is where the major disruption has occurred. Aggregation is largely emerging as an answer to consumer questions at large. In India, there are an average of two OTT platforms being launched every quarter or so, and everyone is fighting for the same viewer. This pushes up the cost of digital inventory, thereby pushing up the cost of consumer acquisition which is already hitting the roof, making direct subscriptions expensive. India has a saving mentality and they like bundled options, which are slowly emerging as the mainstay of many OTT platforms, especially the smaller ones. 

There is a hybrid model, a freemium model, and the subscription model. Within the subscription model, the direct-to-consumer relationship is evolving into an aggregation and bundle model. But each platform will want to write its P&L narrative considering who is their TG, what is audience pool, content type, pipeline, and so on. 

Unexplored Yet Markets

The potential of the regional market is unexplored yet is immense; at present, there is about 36 per cent of the regional market is left unpenetrated and showcases a huge potential for the OTT players. 

While platforms like Stage, Aha, Hoichoi, and Chaupal are trying to serve regional audiences, it’s the larger OTT platforms that need to take the plunge with a deeper more regional approach to enhancing their footprints. For example early on when Netflix and Amazon Prime were working to establish themselves in India, they saw tremendous success with shows like Sacred Games and Mirzapur respectively because a huge chunk of the population was able to identify with it at a deeper level than they were able to relate to the global content which was offered. But India is not just a Hindi-speaking market, it has diverse languages and content perspectives.

The Fresh Content Narrative

People increasingly turned to OTT platforms for fresh and high-quality content, as they had obviously been fatigued by the routine Indian TV serials. Additionally, OTT provided a platform for creators and artists to reclaim their status in the entertainment industry, which may have otherwise been overshadowed by a shift in the cinema or other forms of entertainment.

India is a land of great cultural and demographic diversity, presenting multiple chances for OTT players to reach out to a wide variety of viewers. But is that still the narrative of content or is it getting influenced again by television style or cinema offerings? That is the question that OTT platforms need to ask themselves constantly and revamp their pipeline to stay ahead in the game. Collaboration on content creation doesn’t only amortise the rising content cost, but partners are also able to leverage each other’s strengths, understand consumer insights better, co-market, and monetise the product with combined reach strength. 

Technology and thereof Experience

An immersive experience helps set the OTT spaces aside from other forms of entertainment. As the users get to experience a newer, contemporary form of entertainment consumption, it builds a deeper connection between the user and the platform. Also, India being a mobile-first country, OTTs will need to leverage the 5G model to their advantage for faster and more reliable access to end-users with zero buffer and immersive experiences that can be AR/VR or E-commerce built into content-led.

Also, OTT spaces need to understand the critical importance of personalised experiences and content, in terms of suggestions, playlists, etc when dealing with their audience. Speedy players and great recommendation engines along with a simple UI/UX are becoming the staple requirement of the day and non-negotiable.

(Divya Dixit has 20+ years of experience in marketing and brand building across industries — digital, broadcast, telecom, and music. At present she is the Business Strategy and Growth Advisor for several tech, startups and US based agencies with issues such as NFTs, Metaverse, Crypto currencies etc.)

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