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Micro-marketing, vernacular is way forward for OTT platforms to tap tier II-tier III markets

Experts say digital needs to play on brand marketing and brand building to attract more subscribers in tier II-tier III markets. They say the next billion subscribers won’t be on the back of OTT but from multiple industries such as e-tailers and digital payments

The digital market is undergoing a huge churning of original content with the launch of big OTT platforms such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hotstar and Zee5. By the end of this year, the market will fragment further with the launch of Disney+ and Apple TV. 

As the number of OTT platforms increased, discovering content is becoming a challenge for consumers. According to experts, the digital industry needs to figure ways to address the issue of discoverability. They believe digital needs to play on brand marketing and brand building to attract more subscribers.

Speaking at the Future of Video India-2019 conference, Akash Banerji, Head, Advertising Video on Demand Business, Viacom18 Digital Ventures, said, “In the OTT world, more content is getting added on a regular basis. So, what is it we can do to ensure distribution in the remote places? Digital needs to take a leaf from the FMCG sector and start micro-marketing, ensuring the product is reached far and wide. OTT players need to work with local radio stations, cable operators, focusing on audiences who are not there on the internet; specifically, audiences from tier II and tier III towns or the older audiences who have not yet converted to digital.”

Banerji said that Voot’s association with MRTC — allowing bus travellers to watch Voot content in the offline mode too — increased its subscribers substantially. As a result, Voot is now focusing on partnering with multiple partners, not just with telcos, but with smart TVs, DTH, cable and specific handsets as it helps in reaching tier II-III markets and the older or female audiences. 

Gaurav Gandhi, Director and Country General Manager, Amazon Prime Video India, said that the next billion subscribers are not going to be on the back of the OTT video industry but are from multiple industries such as e-tailers and digital payments.

Apart from distribution and marketing, the digital platforms should offer valuable content, they said. According to the experts, consumers are appreciating the OTT content because it is different from TV. Streaming has done for TV what multiplexes had done for single screens in theatres.

Gandhi said, “Earlier, there was the view that people don't pay for content. However, if we see today, we will see that pay services are growing and people are paying. But it can go faster. It is important for digital to get the customers to see value in the content. We need to see piracy as a reflection of demand and build models to beat it.”

They said the next growth will come from the regional markets with the help of technology.

Banerji said there is a need for a shift in the mindset of digital businesses. “We need to focus on language audiences who are not comfortable in English. And to do that, the biggest disruption has to happen within the existing digital business. They will have to shift their mindset from metro markets to tier II-tier III markets, people who are comfortable in vernacular languages. The mindset shift is going to be very critical, even from technology per se, it is the biggest tool. It is important for every business to unleash the power of technology so that it works seamlessly in tier II-tier III markets. You should be able to give out the right kind of content to right kind of audiences; someone sitting in remote places versus someone in Delhi. Also to ensure that the products are working on different network speeds, even in patchy network,” he said.

The experts said digital had witnessed huge spike through associations with Jio, Airtel, Vodafone and in-built technology with smart television.

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