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OTT players will get more prominence in media plans soon, feel industry leaders

There is immense scope of monetisation for both ad and subscription based OTT platforms in India, believe the top industry players. They also said digital streaming services were moving from push based to the pull based model

As Over the Top (OTT) services witness phenomenal rise in India in terms of viewership, homegrown players are exploring various opportunities of further monetising their platforms and content.

Both advertising and subscription based players are seeing immense opportunities wherein both consumers and advertisers are willing to shell for quality content.

Uday Sodhi, EVP and Head of Digital Business, Sony Pictures Networks India, quoting how 70 million people watched FIFA World Cup on Sony Liv, said, “India can be a destination for advertisers, as we have moved from 1 GB a month to 1 GB a day, which is the fastest anywhere in the world. India has surpassed most of the countries in terms of consumption, even for a sport like football, during FIFA World Cup 2018.”

Sodhi, along with others, was speaking at Pixels 2018, an event organised by Internet and Mobile Association of India to discuss the key trends and about the shift in patterns in media companies.

For all the digital platforms and OTT players, storytelling via content have always been an important aspect and engaging viewers even more important. Gulshan Verma, SVP and Head, Client and Agency, Hotstar, discussed how in an infinite space through digital platforms, it becomes important to display what viewers want. He quoted the OnePlus campaign with World Cup 2018 wherein OnePlus invited the users to predict the result of the Quarter finals for a chance to win a OnePlus 6, and gathered over 21.1k views and 403 retweets.

Ferzad Palia, Head Youth, Music and English Entertainment, Viacom18, said, “If content is strong in form of storytelling, people will really watch it on any platform. Sometimes content is created purely for digital. Consumer will consume content irrespective of the medium.”

As creators are monetising the content, and there is a lot of competition with multiple OTT players, Karan Bedi, CEO, MX Player, said, “It is not just about the pool of content but the technology to use the content. To put forward what the viewer wants is important. OTT is now in most media plans. That obviously means there is a lot of room for pricing.” 

Moderated by Vishal Subharwal, EVP, Commerce and Digital marketing, HDFC Life, the session focused on how advertisers are altering their strategies to benefit from the advertising models of AVOD/SVOD, with the shift in media companies in India and exponential consumption in terms of content.

As the infrastructure around the payment system for subscription and advertising is developing, Sodhi said, “Subscription may not be a frictionless mode of payment in India. It is a behavioural thing not to auto-pay the subscription. Pay system is growing very rapidly. Content creators are trying to make it affordable for the customers. Subscription market needs to catch-up. On the AVOD’s side, there has been a significant amount of consumption in last few years. Two years from now, numbers of advertisers would increase.”

Commenting on the whether the cost of developing content is going up or down in India, Sameer Pitalwalla, Co-founder and CEO, Culture Machine, said, “The means of production has always been cheaper with all the technology and equipment. YouTubers can upload videos with just the back of the camera. But at the same time, creating right content and access to higher quality content becomes expensive as there is a lot of times spend during the creation.”

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