Mandar Kamat
Head of Innovation,
Hungama Digital Services

The Connected Culture

Excitement certainly did the rounds during this year’s ICC World Cup! As per reports, the ICC World Cup semi-final clash between India and New Zealand set a new world record of the highest-ever concurrent views on Hotstar with a peak of 25.3 million. Of course, we all hoped that the result could have been in our favor. In today’s day and age, the dynamics of live sport viewing has transformed drastically. You are no more in that rush of reaching home and getting your hands on the remote. Now, you can conveniently connect and watch live sports on your own mobile or laptop device. Connected devices have revolutionized the match-viewing experience, right from Google offering instant highlights, to a live stream on OTT platforms. You can keep yourself engaged and entertained anywhere in the world. In a city like Mumbai, where daily commute on the local transportation system crosses a million mark, connected viewing is increasingly becoming a part of people’s life. 5G is further expected to resolve latency and network congestion issues.

Today, we can watch a movie on our mobile and blow it up on our smart TV, as per our convenience. With active personalization, these networks have a clear understanding of their user choices and can keep you hooked onto their networks.

Tesla has announced that streaming services will be enabled for drivers when cars are stationed at one place. They intend to create a drive-in theater experience with surround sound and comfortable seats. Imagine hiring a ride-hailing service purely for watching the episode you left incomplete. We can get hooked onto an Original Series we watched during one of our flight journeys. We can end up subscribing to a platform after discovering an associated meme on social networks. We can get influenced by a cult, discussing a particular series, falling within our social circles. There are endless possibilities.

There were days we used to wait for a classic dialer phone to get installed at our homes. With the advent of mobile phones, we have the world at our fingertips. Chat and messaging services, such as WhatsApp, have further simplified conversations with emoticons, videos, and voice messages. Video has slowly and steadily arrived and gone neck-to-neck with these mediums.

Media players, such as Amazon Fire TV Stick, have converted televisions into smart entertainment devices by further accommodating most of the OTT platforms into a single device. Integration of apps and games has further enhanced offerings of such media streaming devices. Broadcast versus streaming gap is reducing at an exponential pace. Broadband connections are endangering linear TV boxes by offering all-in-one experience.

Networks, such as Disney, NBC Universal, and Warner Media, are getting set to launch their streaming services. Post its Hulu acquisition, Disney has announced a series of bundled packages for its fanbase. The OTT streaming space is going to get crowded and competitive in the days to come. Streaming services are poised to eat into each other’s market share. The content acquisition spree will continue to grow in the days to come. Regional content offering in a diversified culture, such as ours, is also going to play a key role.

Today, customers are certainly spoiled for choices as far as content is concerned. However, one noticeable drawback is that content is distributed across multiple networks. Consolidation of digital assets may stop certain networks from losing their loyal users. Users have started associating originals with streaming services. This is definitely going to be the key factor for networks to differentiate and get noticed in this fragmented ecosystem. As per some reports, four out of five users have at least one OTT application on their smartphones. In this price-sensitive market, we can expect a steep rise in cord cutters. Frictionless access to your choice of entertainment at all times seems to be the way forward.

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