Outlook positive for both linear TV and OTT, conference hears

May 04, 2022 at 07:51 pm by admin

A fifth straight quarter of economic expansion has set the scene for a bullish Future of Video India conference.

The third such Asia Video Industry Association conference – held virtually – has been greeted with much optimism among industry leaders on the country’s long-term view with all round economic recovery and an economic rebound that is much broader based and across multiple sectors.

Media Partners Asia’s India vice president Mihir Shah opened the conference, reporting the prospect of a sharp rebound in TV advertising market after a depressed 2020. The market grew 37 per cent last year and currently stands at U$S3.8 billion. While he said broader pay TV segments continued to see “a lot of pressure”, free to air revenues had surged, with the pandemic resulting in rapid adoption and consumption of Connected TV especially in urban centres.

With a Total Video Market worth US$12 billion and growing at five per cent CAGR in the next five years to US$20 billion, the AVOD market was also predicted to remain buoyant and triple in the next five years, with SVOD doubling as well.

The optimism continued with a keynote conversation with Disney+ Hotstar India head Sunil Rayan, who reported the “significant shift” to an SVOD offering while maintaining their still-larger freemium ad-supported model.

“We've had significant growth in the SVOD side,” he said, “but India is a highly price-sensitive market and AVOD gives scale, so we are always trying to balance the two.”

The content offering had also evolved into “cricket plus entertainment”, with a shift both in investment and quality of entertainment that is digitally native. Rayan believes the streaming market is highly vibrant, with “certainly room for multiple operators”. However content needed to be targeted to specific audiences, and consolidation will continue to evolve.

Megha Tata, South Asia managing director of Warner Bros. Discovery, was also positive on the outlook for both linear TV and OTT. "There are multiple scenarios which are evolving in the country each India needs to be catered to in a different way," she said. This was also not just about pricing and product but also content. "It's not an 'either or' market yet, but an 'and' market, where both can and will survive," added Tata (pictured). But how the share of wallet would play out continued to be an evolution every day. Gourav Rakshit, COO, Viacom18 Digital Ventures, added that the holy grail was to create habit in your consumers. "Real estate on the phone is small, real estate in the mind is even smaller," he said.

Sharing her views on the road ahead, Tata also pointed out that revenue and monetization today was still coming from linear, and funding all the investment that was needed in digital. "We need to take care of the now or there is no future," she said.

Other contributors spoke of the brighter future to accompany the advent of 5G, described by Nokia chief technology officer Manoj Gurnani as a “great enabler”. Planetcast Media Services executive director Mahendra Nath Vyas said that while AR/VR and gaming “were the future technology that would ride on the 5G networks”, there was also a huge opportunity to unlock content creation in remote areas with 5G.

Content creation had also evolved with ZEE5 Hindi Originals chief content officer Nimisha Pandey saying that OTT had enabled the entire ecosystem to create content for small taste clusters, with decisions no longer based on a mass audience. The biggest challenge faced by content creators now was the need to evolve at the pace that the audience was evolving, as audiences were evolving too fast and keeping in synch with the pace was the biggest challenge.

Ultimately, Pandey also believed that it all began with a great story, and it was important to give value to both passion and craft.

In a closing keynote, Network18 managing director Avinash Kaul summed up industry optimism, saying that “with video now democratised, consumers have never had it better.

“And with the online video ecosystem having opened up, funding and content had also poured in, with money coming into the ecosystem from all sources. With a greater investment in technology and data, content was also getting shaped because of analytics and there was also a new future for data driven companies to tap into funding.

“All of this would have led to better content all round, and even tailored content for cohorts of audiences. From a consumer's point of view, it was now utopian. "The future of video has always been bright and will continue to shine brighter and brighter," he said.


Sections: Digital business


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