Why Google is bullish about the Connected TV revolution in India

Shalini Govil Pai, VP and General Manager, TV Platforms, Google, said that Google TV has enhanced features like channel surfing and highlighting regional cultural events for the Indian market. Google TV is also exploring ways to bring educational content to rural areas in India

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Why Google is bullish about the Connected TV revolution in India

Despite the popularity of content consumption on mobile, TV remains a prominent platform, with viewers spending substantial time on it, said Shalini Govil Pai, VP and General Manager, TV Platforms, Google, at FICCI Frames 2024.

Therefore, the connected TV revolution is our focus at Google, said Pai.

She delved into the intricate world of TV platforms, shedding light on their evolution, significance, and future trends through her journey from one firm to another.

Pai said, “I began my career at Pixar Animation, where we pioneered the use of computer graphics in storytelling, notably with Toy Story. Later, I joined YouTube during its early days, when online content was just emerging. We focused on democratising content creation and distribution.”

“Recognising the shift towards mobile-first consumption, I proposed the idea of extending Android, a leading operating system, to TVs. This led to the creation of Android TV, offering both broadcast and streaming capabilities,” she added.

She further said, “We're leveraging our platform to offer global access to content while prioritising local content for diverse audiences. Our goal is to ensure a seamless user journey across devices, what we call "Better Together.”

The conversation shifted towards the distinctiveness of TV platforms in comparison to other digital platforms like YouTube.

She said, The primary goal of any platform is to enable content creators to reach their audience effectively. This holds true for YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and our TV platform as well.

“Our aim is to provide a robust ecosystem where content providers can thrive, regardless of their business models,” she added.

She also mentioned that some providers may rely solely on subscription-based revenue streams, while others may adopt ad-supported models.

“We also support transactional models, such as purchasing content, through features like our shop app recently launched in India,” she said.

The value our platform offers lies in its ability to accommodate diverse business models and ensure that all players can succeed. “Our focus on creating a seamless user experience, particularly in content discovery, sets our TV platform apart. With Google TV, we aim to simplify the process of finding and accessing content across various sources, whether it's broadcast or streaming, ensuring that users can easily enjoy the content they desire, either alone or with their families. This approach underscores the unique power of the Google TV platforms,” commented Pai.

Addressing a question about what are the global trends that you see for the platform, especially in the western markets, which usually sets the trend for the next two to three months.

She stated that one significant trend is the shift towards streaming over traditional broadcast. Content is now accessible globally, leading to a huge demand for international content like K-dramas. Google TV, being the top streaming platform, ensures global accessibility for content providers, added Pai.

She further mentioned that another trend is the emphasis on providing a unified experience across multiple devices. People no longer consume content on just one surface, so ensuring a seamless experience across devices is crucial.

Lastly, there's a growing trend called FAST (Free Ad-supported TV). This trend acknowledges that while channel surfing on TV was prevalent in the past, it's now updated with streaming. Simplifying content discovery is key, making it easy for users to find what they want to watch.

Talking about localisation, she said it is also important. Pai added, “We ensure that our products are tailored to local preferences, like implementing technology such as Cast for easy content sharing from mobile devices to TVs. These trends are shaping the global platform landscape, and we're actively adapting to meet these evolving needs.”

Addressing concerns about the affordability of connected TVs, Pai debunked the notion, citing that prices for TVs have drastically dropped, making them more affordable, with some available for as low as 6,000 rupees. We're working to ensure broadband connectivity reaches more households and educate consumers about the value of connected TVs. Currently, 30 to 50 million households in India have connected TVs, and this number is expected to grow to 100 million in the next few years through initiatives like JioFibre.

She stated that Google TV embodies Google's mission to organise the world's information and make it accessible.

“Our platform offers a diverse range of content choices, catering to the individual interests of users. As content continues to grow exponentially, our goal is to provide a search- and discovery-based experience, helping users quickly find the content they desire. We are committed to evolving Google TV globally while ensuring its relevance and applicability locally, including in regions like India,” she said.

“Our focus in India and Southeast Asia is to ensure a wide range of content access while addressing unique viewing habits,” she noted.

“We collaborate with global and local partners to provide diverse content. In India, we enhance features like channel surfing and highlight regional cultural events. We're also exploring ways to bring educational content to rural areas,” she concluded.

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