As we leave behind 2017, it may be waved off as a year of strategic alignment for the media and entertainment industry. Mobile screens are gaining popularity; 50 percent of video viewing is taking place on tablets, smartphones and laptops; and teenagers are watching TV and videos like never before. With close to 200 million users streaming video on their smartphones, the digital streaming industry has finally found a place of its own in the Indian market. And with over 20 players in the video streaming business, thousands of hours of premium content being made, this industry has emerged as the fastest growing in the consumer internet space in the recent times. Moving forward, as video streaming goes deeper, regional markets hold promise. OTT services are already enhancing their content offering across languages. And streaming players are preparing for the next level of growth by adopting analytics and data sciences tools to understand the user.
The year 2017 also marks as the first time that the consumer evinced interest in Virtual Reality in conjunction with media consumption, and paved the way for it to become mainstream over the next couple of years. This will propel significant investment and commitment from the content producers, as well as partnerships with device makers, much faster Internet speeds, smaller headsets (or no headsets), and better 360-degree camera equipment with higher resolution picture quality.
The year will also bid adieu with possibilities of consolidation in the DTH industry. After merging their consumer mobile operations, Tata Group and Bharti Enterprises are considering to merge their DTH businesses and Dish TV may have to vacate the numero uno position. Before the year ends, we may also see the exit of Reliance Digital TV from the DTH business. In the wake of financial troubles at Reliance Communications, Reliance Big TV, which runs the DTH service, insolvency proceedings against the provider from Ericsson and Tech Mahindra, and an expiring license, the service provider is being forced to re-evaluate its options. The suspension of e-auctioning of slots on DD Free Dish, while the I&B Ministry reviews the auction process will impact this year’s bottomlines, as private DTH broadcasters earn ad revenue from Free Dish. And moving forward, jeopardize the commercial viability of the platform, as for the untapped rural market they need the smooth partnership they have with Free Dish.