Viewers are dictating the path that broadcasters must tread on. And convergence is the name of the game. Linear TV is soon going to be passé. It is for the old. Multiple devices have become the norm. OTT services are not saturating the market, they are the market.
The idea of broadcasting being a stand-alone category is an antiquated one. Broadcasters are competing with, and at the same time are customers of, diversified media companies, telecom operators, internet companies, and of course, streaming companies. They are all in each other’s spaces. AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner is a classic example of how the industry will evolve. With AT&T’s ability to deliver residential gigabit internet and 5G wireless and Time Warner’s power to create content and multiple streaming products, the conglomerate will have direct control over a huge piece of its content supply chain. And virtual reality and augmented reality are not far behind.
However, at the moment, the Indian broadcaster, unlike his counterpart in the developed world, is not unduly worried. India is undergoing a video explosion. Indian consumers are consuming 190 minutes of video per day per user across platforms, which have been growing at 8 percent over the last years. 30+ digital platforms have been added to the wide range of TV channels. While an average consumer consumes 10-15 channels per day and 2-3 apps in any given month, the overall spectrum of platforms from a content creator’s perspective is massive. Indian media formats are primarily advertising driven and consumer costs are minimal. Unlike the US, where cost of a cable connection can be as high as USD 80 per month, India with USD 3 cost of cable per month does not have the need for skinny bundles. Broadcasters have been expanding their non-Hindi content portfolio. Regional language entertainment channels saw double-digit growth in terms of absolute viewership in 2018. Rising internet penetration in rural areas and non-metros and the resultant content consumption patterns are making these markets a greater focus area for broadcasters and content creators.
The industry is at the cusp of change and there are abundant opportunities to experience the next curve, the immediate one being the upcoming general elections.