Entertainment Industry is More Innovative & Experimental
Zubin Dubash, COO Digital, Shemaroo Entertainment
Consumption of content and entertainment has changed over the years, but faster in the past few months. How do you see this change impacting the entertainment and media and content creation companies?
2020 saw a huge shift in consumer demand patterns. Due to the lockdown, consumption of content and entertainment has risen to spectacular numbers through the ‘Watch from Home’ phenomena. As per various industry reports, today there is an average of 100 million monthly active users (MAU) on various OTT platforms, mostly on ad-based video on demand (AVOD) and very few on subscription video on demand (SVOD).
In the coming years, this shift is destined to become more prominent. All the players in the OTT market today are gearing up to embrace this change and working towards providing continuous entertaining, and unique content to their audiences. Undoubtedly, the industry has become much more innovative, and experimental. One step towards this direction is the synergetic partnerships between OTT players and Internet Service Providers and Telecom Companies. Such partnerships are only going to increase going forward as it is beneficial for both to make it more consumer-friendly. It not only helps to expand the user base but also offer smart content-led solution to increase Average Revenue per User (ARPU) and reduce churn.
How do you see the industry gearing up for this change?
The number of consumers is growing every day, thanks to the digital boom that came in 2016, after the democratization of 4G data. There has been a massive surge in digital video consumption in tier 2-5 markets. Any OTT player not thinking of regional will eventually be left out. The industry is gearing up and moving towards regional content. Hyper-localized content is the next big thing with the versatility of demand coming in from all regions of the country.
It has been of utmost importance to us to understand the deep-rooted connect our viewers have with their traditions and native languages. It is one of the major reasons we strive to create a vast library of multi-genre and multi-regional content that includes Bollywood Premiere, Bollywood Classic, Kids, Devotional, Comedy and regional content categorization on our OTT platform ShemarooMe. The platform also caters to specialized content trays for regional languages such as Gujarati, Marathi and Punjabi languages. We have witnessed an exponential growth of 142% in viewership post our focus on building a pool of diverse viewers and dedicating majority of our time to be identified as leaders of the regional segment. We plan to further expand our regional content library by including more regional language based content.
"One other challenge that the industry is facing is a growing competition, which has made it difficult to stand out or break the clutter"
What are some of the challenges the industry faces in uplifting its pace, and how is it dealing with it?
Different viewers have different choices, and it is very essential to offer customized and curated content as per their preferences. To keep up with the ever-changing demand, it is important to understand the viewers and their tastes. It is hence critical to quickly deliver according to the demand and preferences.
One other challenge that the industry is facing is a growing competition, which has made it difficult to stand out or break the clutter. All the platforms are fighting for the viewers’ attention through various offerings. While the platforms are working towards providing engaging content, partnering with telecom and Internet Service Providers (ISP) also help to gain more audience. Owing to these strategic alliances, the telecom or ISP partner also gets a chance to provide offers to their audience with some great content. We have a vast multi-genre and a multilingual content library and when an ISP partner adds that as a part of their deal, the viewers get free access to a great bouquet of content.
How are technologies like AI, ML, Automation and Robotics, helping your industry with better services?
Technologies like voice searches, voice navigation, and AI/Big Data for content discovery are very critical to the success of a platform. This will lead to better content discovery and enhance the overall user experience. Voice-assisted searches will further help bridge the urban-rural divide.
We all should expect to see some great innovations in this industry. From great content to a better user interface, the OTT sector is all set for a big boom. The vast reach of the platform along with India’s digitization movement will soon change the way we consume content and entertainment.