By the time the TV series ‘24’ ended with the year 2013, it had silently changed the way Indian viewers, especially the consumers in the urban areas, look at the medium. The series, a Hindi adaptation of an American series, created a stir with its engaging content. It was the precursor to the addictive following ‘TV series’ such as Quantico eventually found.
The fan moment for ‘series’, especially the wide variety offered by the over-the-top (OTT) platforms, does not seem to wither in India. Some might feel that the plethora of media offering entertainment-on-the-go is a death knell for the good old television. Not really, if we care to look at the trend – the number of TV households with DTH or Cable TV in India is expected to rise by 35 million by 2024 and the share of subscription in total revenues of TV will remain the same.
Is it a DTH vs. OTT scenario?
Yes, at least in the urban areas where the internet connectivity is more reliable and the demography has more youth. Streaming platforms for videos such as Netflix and Hotstar as well as Spotify, etc. for music are available on smartphones. A consumer is spoilt with options and she or he will go for the platform which provides a steady flow of engaging content, even if it costs more than the subscription of usual ‘cable’ channels. However, despite the Internet making its way, the streaming culture is yet to catch up in the areas that have patchy connectivity.
Cable/DTH Television is still a mainstay in those areas. According to a PwC report, India is the second-largest subscription television market in the Asia Pacific Region in terms of the number of subscribers and will be among few countries to register a double-digit growth up to 2020 in television advertising.
Besides, in order to remain relevant and functional, DTH/Cable TV cannot afford to lose the consumer base and the only way to retain consumers’ interest is to provide engaging content – the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) rule implemented earlier this year allowing viewers to choose channels they want to watch instead of packages shifts the control to the consumers and increases competition. The regulatory change has made it compulsory for TV platforms to serve better content to attract consumers and remain on-air.
Broadcasting on an OTT platform
Sniffing an opportunity, many resourceful broadcasters have invested in creating their own OTT platforms to air their programs. Those who could not, collaborated with the leading names. Many cable TV channels have OTT platforms that make it easy for viewers to watch an episode again without being dependent on DTH/cable TV subscription.
Looking at the recent development, there is no denying the fact that DTH and OTT platforms have become part of a larger whole – the world of cogent, round-the-clock entertainment. While the content on DTH/ Cable TV remains traditional but adopted an unorthodox means to reach its consumers, OTT platforms are novel in their offerings – they act as the repository of both films and original stories running for a short span in form of a series.
While now Cable/DTH TV and OTT platforms together require content for 100,000 hrs, it is estimated that the requirement will be doubled in the next 5 years.
An E&Y report says that content providers may want to measure engagement and captivation across platforms and screens to optimise the experience and ad placements. Even if motivated by purely commercial pursuits, it is the content that is going to decide who gets how many ads – better content will mean more viewers and hence, more ad revenue. Hail, content!
By Arun Gupta, founder and CEO, MoMAGIC Technologies