The past year has been a rollercoaster. The initial uncertainty, the nerves and anxiety while prepping for the immediate future soon paved the way to a hitherto unseen albeit a perspective changing ride. Anxiety is being overridden with a sense of hope. The events of this year have us the time to slow down, rethink and prioritise and even question our choices, preference and even lives. The ‘new normal’ has been accepted. For now. It remains to be seen whether this will persist or whether we slowly move toward status quo.
It cannot be denied that we have indeed embraced the new normal and adapted our daily lives around the challenges and constraints. With the lockdown, keeping oneself entertained became a challenge. With more time at our hands, we looked for more and different avenues and types of content. The ever reliable television too found it hard to keep up initially as production supply system was hit drastically as well due to the stringent safety protocols.
This in turn led to a vast movement. One that cemented the OTT platforms as an entertainment hotspot. The OTT platforms managed to lure massive number of audience eyeballs with consistent and gripping pieces of content, with originals leading from the front. Subscription as well as advertising revenues rose by massive percentages and OTT performance led the way for Broadcast Media.
The most noticeable and important change though was the initiation of the audience and the acceptance of content that many would have considered to be experimental before 2020. The audience gave the OTT shows and originals a chance and loved it as well. The movement has been in a surge and has happened. Many a people were introduced to Seasons format and gave in to binging. Smart TVs are becoming a household device and thus, also VOD. I believe this is there to stay and the divide between OTT platforms and traditional television has been bridged. As time progressed and the daily shows returned with fresh content, the audience has been slowly pulled back but this time with an exposure to global content. I believe this is for the better as this period has allowed the audience to experiment with their preferences and maybe form new ones. Whether the television-loyal audience moves back from OTT, only time will tell.
This being said, television played the perfect foil to the strategy of the OTT platforms by allowing us to relieve past glory days with the reruns of shows that drenched us in nostalgia. GECs including DD, telecast re-runs of classics like Ramayan and Mahabharat. DD National also put up other classics like Shaktimaan, Chhota Bheem, Dekh Bhai Dekh and Circus to continue engaging consumers. This was one of the best moments in television which was received with thunderous acceptance and love all over. We were extremely proud to simulcast Chhota Bheem on DD National and it was a humbling experience to see the viewership numbers that broke all records.
Even in a scenario where daily production and hence fresh content creation was hampered, the viewing time for Television increased by over 70 billion minutes in India. The total TV consumption also increased by 8 percent in India. This growth was primarily propped by the young adults with a growth of almost 20 percent. All of this augurs well for the future as this shows the resilience of the television as a medium.
With the lines between OTT and traditional broadcasting blurred, so have the content genres.
In terms of media, just like music streaming; podcasts, gaming, gameplay streaming etc might soon become the norm and be counted among the major media genres.
Innovation and tradition have married and ridden off into the perfect media sunset.
The future can only be better both for content creators and the consumers.