Typical Monday morning watercooler conversation at office these days goes something like this:
Hey, how was your weekend?
Weekend was good. Relaxed.
What did you do?
Nothing much. Just Netflixed this new series.
This is how the word Netflix is being used these days. As a verb. This reminds me of days when we started getting addicted to google for our searches and the term Google soon became the verb. And the rest is history.
That’s the power of OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Voot, Jio, Hotstar, and YouTube. OTT has shifted consumption pattern of a new age user. Be it Gen Z or 60-year oldies. More and more users are getting on to internet to view content as per their convenience; a shift away from conventional way of watching content at home with family on a television screen at a fixed time.
According to FICCI report 2018, the actual number of unique cellphone users in India is expected to be 1 billion by 2020. India reached 314 million mobile internet users by 2017. Out of this figure, 60 percent are consuming internet on their handheld devices. With an exploding smartphone market, falling data prices, and the onset of 4G services, mobile connectivity has seen monumental growth. This growth in mobile connectivity has resulted in the proportionate growth of internet users. Internet users are set to cross 500 million by 2018, and 829 million by 2021. This along with content built for smaller screens has resulted into growth in consumption of VOD content. Infact, YouTube recently disclosed that 50 percent of its consumption is on mobile.
With these changes, consumption pattern of a new age viewer is set to alter for good. If Nielsen’s worldwide survey is to be believed, younger age groups (18 years to 34 years old) are accessing digital platforms more than traditional platforms and these youngsters are the ones who have higher propensity to cancel their cable and /or DTH services in favor of online-only services. According to me, the three key reasons why the trend of VOD content consumption will continue in coming years are convenience of watching, quality content, and control. There are broadly four types of VOD content audience:
Catch-up audiences and TV buffs. This audience is large in India because we are largely a single TV home market, where not everyone in the family gets to watch what they want during the prime time.
Drifters from TV. This audience is unhappy with the current TV programming and want to watch different kind of content and hence are drifting away from TV to newer platforms.
Kids. Kids are digital natives and they are screen agnostic. They do not think before hopping from one screen to the other to catch their favourite show.
Sports lovers. Many Indians love watching different sports. And digital medium like mobile is the solution for them to watch their favourite sports on the go.
What does it mean for broadcast television? I believe both the mediums will complement each other and coexist in India. So, how does television bring synergies with digital medium? I believe, broadcast television brands need to create a robust content rich digital ecosystem – web portal, WhatsApp community building, and presence on social media – that supplements its TV offering.
According to FICCI report 2018, most content over the internet was consumed in Indian languages with time spent by languages stacked up as English 7 percent, Hindi 63 percent and Other Indian languages 30 percent. Hindi and regional content on newer platforms would be the key growth drivers on these platforms too.
To summarize, it need not be a turf war between OTT service providers and broadcast TV operators. Eventually, the ones who will be emerge victorious are those who diversify and develop complementary offerings that cater to each viewer’s needs.