OTT platforms can't sustain only on advertising, must have hybrid business models, says Greg Armshaw of Brightcove

In a conversation with, the media head for Brightcove in Asia and India said that OTT platforms have great potential in a country like India where content consumption is exploding. He says video content is the most vital tool for engagement with consumers for brands

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OTT platforms can't sustain only on advertising, must have hybrid business models, says Greg Armshaw of Brightcove

Greg Armshaw

Online video streaming platforms, also known as OTT apps, can't only rely on advertising and they need solid business models to sustain themselves, said Greg Armshaw, the media head for Brightcove in Asia and India. The media head for video hosting platform said India offers a great potential for monetisation of premium content as there's a huge audience available that is willing to pay. 

According to Armshaw, the digital platforms have to have a hybrid model of advertising and subscription to succeed. The digital platforms are also becoming a marketing staple for retailers.

“The digital platform can’t survive just on advertising on sponsorship they have to balance all the biz models. There is always a group of people who are ready to pay the premium for access to content such as sports event, a famous celebrity show or a fashion show. So you wonder, how do you play premium content for such people who are really passionate about this subject? After all, this is about syndicating content to different platforms and then there is the ad front. So depending on the life of the content, brands and publishers need to get more value out of the content for a longer period of time. This is not a press-based paradigm, it is not a TV-based paradigm, it is heavily digital. The rewards are much greater, especially in an emerging retail market like India,” Armshaw said.

In a crowded market like India, Armshaw also feels that there is a need to differentiate and create content keeping a global audience in mind. “There is a huge competition when it comes to big players but if you concentrate on the specific area, then there is enough opportunity. We live in a world where start-ups wish to be globally dominant. There is a great business to be built by serving 20 million people. We can actually build a great business with a smaller number of subscribers — either paid subscribers or through advertising. In India, especially, there are so many people with so many different interests, it’s a wonderful market to address new interests or deliver local content. There are so many Indians abroad. If one wants news about the local town, you can get that through the service and people abroad are more willing to pay. We see a lot of organisation who traditionally address a local market, making money with an overseas market. Don't think locally, in fact, forget the rules of TV, press — think more globally — think more on being, rather than being geography-specific.”

When it comes to digital content, the platforms believe that premium content will bring in more subscribers. However, Armshaw states while premium content attracts viewers, it is also the prime target for piracy. “It is important to see how platforms monetise and get most out of premium content. Talk shows and cooking shows don't get pirated and one can get it monetised as well as there are a small number of people who are passionate about it.”

Why marketers are relying more on video content

For marketers, video content has emerged as a great tool to target consumers through. Video content has turned out to be one of the most leveraged forms of content in 2018, as 87% of online marketers today use video in their content strategies.

Brightcove, a leading provider of cloud services for video, believes that even in the future video will be leveraged for better communication with the enterprise. Armshaw says that unlike other mediums, video allows marketers to target consumers adequately.

“In a video, we have the benefit that people are targeted well, we respect the customer and we keep the ad load low. We have a very strong environment where people are able to consume content and only see ads that they are interested. In the US, people are flooded with ads, they are fed up of it. But, the rest of the world is kind of interested in advertising. In India, especially in tier III villages, people would sit through half an hour of ads — they don't have any retail to go shopping within 50 miles,” he said.

Nowadays, people are experiencing new products, discovering the world, getting entertained and are informed about the e-marketing through digital content which can be easily accessible through smartphones. In the past two years, the snackable content on social media sites has also seen a spike in consumption. Armshaw stated that if the content has viewership then it has the ability to build an advertising layer. “There are concerns around brand safety, appropriateness of the way the content would be sitting, but once you’re able to address that and work with the publisher to provide safety for that, it has a very good impact on the OTT market. If you can get people to watch more of any type of content, you’re going to make more money,” Armshaw said.

Globally, Brightcove enjoys 25% of enterprise market share whereas in India it is the market leader in terms of video delivery tech for media. The company works with media companies such as Sony Liv, Hindustan Times, Republic and Malayalam Manorama. “We have 25 different customers here. Interestingly, we have started work with e-commerce companies, which is an exciting market. There is somewhat of a convergence, coming out of social branded content, influencer’s type of content pushing into commerce. We will see more and more of a resurgence of premium publishers providing truthful content, being the influencer — because they are big brands they are trusted, they may have a political bias, but they are trusted platforms. We are starting to see different organisations pushing into different content strategies — to influence, educate and entertain,” Armshaw concluded.

Brightcove Greg Armshaw