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Blog Posts

That’s so OTT! The fast-changing media landscape in India

February 15, 2022

Sam Richardson

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In 2021, approximately 2.2 billion people used OTT streaming services worldwide, growing from 1.9 billion in 20191.  When we talk about Over-the-top (OTT) media, we mean a streaming service offered directly to viewers via the Internet. These services bypass the traditional distributors of media services such as cable, broadcast, and satellite television. Netflix, AppleTv, Disney +, are just some of the platforms that have entered the entertainment scene in recent years, catering to the burgeoning audience who want on-demand content across all screens and devices.

The increase in streaming services is matched by high consumption especially since the start of the pandemic. In India, especially, OTT boomed very early on, thanks to early adoption by national broadcasters, with up to 80 million active, subscribers2, OTT in India is no longer a niche category and has huge growth potential.

It is not surprising to see an increasing number of brands opting to advertise on OTT platforms. But this new way of providing media content brings new challenges and opportunities. So, what does the Indian OTT landscape look like?

  1. Content with no boundaries

Compared to a pre-OTT era, now the boundaries of national and international content are blurred.

In India, regional content is on the rise, with an increase of regional titles in the digital space emerging in a very short time-period. What we’ve noticed is that regional media effectively brings together the three main elements of the media ecosystem: brands, consumers, and broadcasters.

Brands can reach their addressable audience effectively through these platforms with better targeting at higher frequency for optimized spends, as opposed to traditional touchpoints like TV, Print and Radio amongst others, for example. OTT has democratized marketing levers too, this is due to the creating of a new advertising ecosystem. Whereas previously brands would advertise blind to viewers on networks through typical broadcasting avenues, brands can create targeted ads to OTT subscribers. Consumers have access to more diverse and relatable content, having access to untold stories that cut across cultures. Broadcasters now have the chance to represent a demographic which is completely unrepresented in mainstream media.

However, to make regional content go global it is important to keep the cultural nuance intact, this treatment can have mass appeal to audiences.  So that means dubbing or subtitles won’t do the trick, what viewers are looking for is authenticity and content that cuts through.

  1. The challenge of paying premium

The challenge of today’s media consumption is that viewers expect to have entertainment at their fingertips without having to pay a premium for it. But high-quality content is expensive.

With 27% of Indian viewers paying for subscriptions, we see willingness to pay for good quality content is increasing, but at a very slow pace.

  1. Different content means different devices

The choice of content and device in India is often determined by socio-economic conditions, even family dynamics and identity play an important role.

We’re in a market where mobile is the be all and end all, it’s almost the choice by default. But when it comes to media consumption there are different factors that influence the choice of device.

It’s not only about what’s the best technology available, but it’s more about the type of content and genre the viewer wants to see. Is it a movie to watch with the whole family? Is it a sports match to watch with friends? Or is it a show that only you are interested in?

Depending on the type of content and moment of the day, the device of choice will be different. Of course, watching something with a group of people means a bigger screen, while mobile is reserved to individual use.

The OTT situation in India is varied and presents untapped opportunities for brands and broadcasters. We’re just at the start of what is shaping up to be a media consumption revolution with more diverse and authentic content for all. Literally, watch this space!

By Esha Nagar, Managing Director Nepa India


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