Voot Select, the video streaming service owned by Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd, will bank on a freemium, or mix of advertising and subscription-driven strategies to drive growth in the Indian market, where it competes with nearly 60 other OTT platforms.
“The hybrid model has worked wonders for us and we realize that both streams are extremely important. While there is significant growth on the advertising front, the idea is to have an ‘and’ strategy for those users willing to pay,” said Ferzad Palia, head, Voot Select, Voot Kids and international business, Viacom18. Palia said that the recent success of Bigg Boss OTT, the digital-only version of its popular reality show, has given the platform the impetus to consider trying the same for other series that belong to the same format, especially since the episodes of the show available earlier behind paywall, gained much traction. All episodes and the 24-hour live feed of the show have together clocked in two billion minutes of watch-time for Voot. Apart from web extensions of its TV properties, Palia said the platform will focus on sports as well as its slate of international programming, thanks to partners like CBS Corporation, with which Viacom had merged in 2019.
Further, while much of the work on original web shows was halted and delayed because of the pandemic, Palia said now the goal is to have one show out every month, not just in Hindi but other local languages, too. All Hindi originals, meanwhile, are already dubbed and subtitled in multiple languages.
“Since our launch in March 2020, we have seen a large base of AVoD customers upgrading to paying subscribers, plus a whole new set of users coming in for paywalled content. The past year has been a catalyst in the sense that there has been a shift in consumer mindset where they are happy to pay if they find content relevant,” said Palia whose platform has clocked in a paid subscriber base of over a million. Live Mint