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OTT – the business of convenience entertainment driving consumer acquisition

The fate and success of every OTT platform will be decided by how they acquire new subscribers, retain what they have and at what cost, writes Divya Dixit, SVP, Marketing, Analytics and Direct Revenue, ALTBalaji

Divya Dixit

The Indian audience wants their content just as they want their noodles. They want it full of masala, they want it instantly and most importantly, they want it on demand. With consumption time as well as the number of subscribers growing amid the lockdown, OTT platforms are striving to meet this growing appetite of another kind.

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In their bid to prepare a recipe for success, these platforms are using an informed and methodical approach that focuses on customer acquisition and retention. Appetising ingredients like consumer engagement and brand affinity have seen the viewer enjoy what is being served and coming back for more. Leading to an increase in revenue and subscription levels, it is safe to say that OTT players have understood the tastes of the Indian audience and have given them ample food for thought.

Original content as a differentiator

Every player in the Indian OTT industry is focusing on original content since that’s where the differentiation starts and perceptions are created. About Rs 2,500-3,300 crore has been committed by around 30-odd OTTs in India towards creating original content over the next 3-5 years, according to Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions 2018 report. Add to that the influx of regional original content, which will significantly drive up numbers in a market, which is seeing a 100% jump year-on-year. This is all the reason why content creators must gain a deeper understanding of content consumption patterns and incorporate those into their content strategies. With growing importance towards reflecting their tastes in stories through a more comfortable language, leading content creators have seamlessly made the transition towards being more locally relevant.

Displaying a model behaviour

On the back of innovative product and pricing strategies adopted by OTT players, we’ve witnessed a shift in consumer attitudes. They’re now showing a willingness to pay for premium services that make a better value proposition for them. A few OTT platforms have created a host of hybrid models that provides access to a large bouquet of content for free while the premium content is made available only to those who subscribe. The traction that’s garnered by free content is monetised through ad-supported models while subscription fees are levied for premium services. In their bid to lure new users into becoming paid and loyal subscribers, these players are providing them flexible payment options that can be done on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. In addition to the different monetisation models, the payment mechanism with payback offers is also expected to be a critical component of the subscription model. Taking into account the rate at which OTT and telecom mobile wallets are growing, we do see them becoming a core enabler to the content monetisation.  

Data differentiating the customer lifecycle

With the viewer being much more than just a number for OTT players, the focus has shifted towards understanding them at a deeper level. Presenting an incredible insight into the minds of the user and their attention span, the success of the Indian OTT industry is majorly dependent on the importance it now gives to data. After all, it is these data-driven approaches that are today providing the much-needed engagement to the platforms as well as their respective content. According to a report by Dacast several Indian streaming platforms are investing 20% of their expenditure towards technology to enhance the user’s binge-watching experience. OTT platforms are today leveraging tools like AI, machine learning, algorithms, and human interference to seamlessly and actively target consumers. These powerful analytic models churn out meaningful information that includes these streaming players knowing the time and date when a show is watched, the device used, if and when the show was paused, did the viewer resume or fall out? By understanding the consumption habits of their consumers and employing deep-learning, these content creators are fast capitalising on an unprecedented business and targeted marketing opportunity.

The road ahead

As the race to grab eyeballs intensifies, the fate and success of every OTT platform in the country will be decided by how they acquire new subscribers, retain what they have and at what cost. These three basic elements will drive every single decision made by players in the streaming video industry. OTT players have their work cut out for them. But things can be made a lot simpler if they adopt a more comprehensive customer lifetime approach, instead of diverting all of their efforts toward just acquisition. To further maximise recurring revenue, the OTT platforms must scrutinise customer-related data at all levels. Despite the space heating up, with the correct data modules and business models being implemented, there is no stopping OTT platforms from scaling new heights.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

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