28th Convergence India 2020 expo held insightful deliberations in association with Webinar Partner ATEME amongst industry leaders pertaining to the OTT industry in the current landscape, as COVID-19 has changed life, and business as we knew it.
Today, we are using our broadband connections to get news, connect to our work environments, and for entertainment purposes. With people staying in, working from home, and children being home-schooled; people are spending a lot of time using OTT services.
This has presented an opportunity for OTT players to grow their businesses. Opportunities however come riddled with challenges, and the webinar saw leaders from the sector deliberate the challenges they face, & the measures being taken to overcome them.
The 90-minute webinar was attended by 175 people from across industries including OTT Platforms, Video Platforms, Marketers & Advertisers, Content Creators, Analytics sector, Cloud Storage Providers, Video Startups, Media Agencies, Content Delivery Networks, Video Marketing Agencies and others.
Moderator Raman Kalra, Partner (Entertainment, Media & Sports) PwC started the session by noting how the current global scenarios will bring about salient changes in the decades-old supply chain. “OTT has here the opportunity to claim a significant slice of the pie. Since fresh content creation will be a problem now, we see new challenges and opportunities arising,” he opined.
Tarun Katial, CEO, ZEE5 said, “Video on-demand was growing anyway, but COVID-19 was a black swan event that has essentially changed a few things for us: firstly, we were able to reach many more people organically, with our premium users increasing two-fold. Secondly, having a vast library of original content across several regional languages empowered us to attract more audience. Thirdly, we were able to capitalize on our apps created across devices- we actually saw a 70% rise in TV content consumption over a very short period of time.”
Kranti Gada, COO, Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd., stated that it was a combination of technological innovation, strong content library and vast distribution channels that have helped Shemaroo thrive in Covid times. “Whilst being a globally difficult time, we can also look at it as a social experiment. As most of us are self-quarantined, OTT consumption has gone through the roof. Having focussed on distribution aggressively, one of our most successful endeavours internationally was tying up with various Indian consulates, wherein our apps were promoted and heavily adopted by the expatriate Indian diaspora.”
Uday Sodhi, Sr. Partner, Kurate Digital Consulting noted the various trend changes in the ecosystem, including how TV as a medium is drying up, as is Sports-which was a big chunk of content for many players. “The ratios of revenue generators have changed, as has the aspect of consumption rate on connected devices & mobile changes- a direct result of people staying at home. The impact of these shifts will be a rise in the number of new entries in the OTT industry, and an increase in technological investment across existing players.”
Issac John, Director Digital Business and Partnerships, Discovery Inc. discussed emerging trends of content consumption. “Whilst science, learning and adventure travel have been our core categories at Discovery Inc., we have seen fascinating trends in terms of upwards trends across several sectors. Auto-related content and National Military content have done very well, and food-related content has outperformed most things.”
Remi Beaudouin, Chief Strategy Officer, ATEME discussed the increasing importance of content recommendation. “Especially in Covid times when children are being home-schooled and the need is high to enhance user experience, content recommendation is of utmost importance. Across France, rest of Europe and Latin America, we are witnessing a re-emergence of old channels and old content.”
Bharath Kumar Mohan, CEO, Sensara Technologies observed some fascinating consumer behaviour, noting “There have been big changes in domestic content consumption- Doordarshan emerged the big winner with a staggering 27,000% increase in audience. Some players won big, whilst some failed. Since social distancing has stalled all new productions, some broadcast networks attempted to buy original content from OTT service providers to run. However, this move did not pay off since a lot of OTT content is individual-driven and tends to canvass some darker themes, which is not always considered suitable for family viewing which TV channels typically serve.”