“2021 will be a year of content, especially short video platforms and OTT”

Shrugging off the disruptions of the year gone by, businesses and agencies are looking for a strong revival in 2021. Over the next few weeks, Adgully – as part of its annual TRENDING NOW endeavour – will be presenting the strategies and views of a cross-section of industry leaders as they go about reclaiming lost time and market opportunities and build for a stronger future, armed with the lessons of 2020.

When the Indian Government banned over 100 Chinese apps in 2020 including TikTok, following Chinese incursions in Ladakh, it opened up a huge opportunity for Indian short video platforms. Bolo Indya, a vernacular short video platform, was one of the indigenous apps that found increase in traction after TikTok ban. Varun Saxena, Founder, Bolo Indya, highlights the growing importance of content in 2021, with the emergence of diverse and unheard content categories.

Outlook for 2021

2021 will be the year of content, especially the short video platforms and OTTs. While OTTs would need to become more native in approach, short video platforms would need to innovate on serving different needs of the content creators and consumers using short videos as a hook. Consumers would spend close to 2 hours every day on a short videos platform in 2021 and they would look to deriving value out of the platforms, a lot more than what platforms have offered them in 2020. Diverse and unheard content categories will emerge in 2021, with content creators reaching and engaging with their follower base in unorthodox ways and ensuring that the creator-consumer ecosystem transforms the social engagement to a services-oriented market; where content, entertainment, and micropayments would get a lot more unified. 

The Media and Entertainment sector, alongside Fintech, shall rule the new internet users in Tier 2 markets, while the Content sector, within Media would be the one strongly penetrating into Tier 3 and 4 new Internet users of India. A very exciting and fulfilling year to look forward to if you are in the media space.

Trends in Digital

The year 2020 had its ups and downs for the digital industry. While the traditional movie business did take a hit, the digital content sub-segment of the sector bloomed like never before. Video-driven digital content, content in local languages, UGC over PGC as a preference, more love for native content is what we observed in 2020. Strong emergence of a consumer base in good number that wants to not just consume free content, but is ready to do micropayments on digital and content platforms is the major takeaway for 2020 and digital sector seems to have well adapted itself to the pandemic in 2020 and with people getting to live with new normal, it is the media and entertainment sector which is seeing the further upsurge, new additions to preferences while the old ones retrieving at the same time.

Key learnings from 2020

While the pandemic has been unfortunate, the year threw a lot of success and opportunities to the content and media industry. The major developments during the lockdown, coupled with the changes in the geopolitical situation, left a wide door open for Indian platforms. The ability of Indian platforms to ramp themselves up from product, distribution, and team in an unforeseen scenario is what I’d term as the biggest disruption of the year, which showed how strong the Indian start-up ecosystem is getting.

Key learnings, especially from the content and media perspective, are that the consumers are going to look out for more and more Indic content, content that relates to them a lot more and not just run behind the brand names. In terms of technology platforms operating in the content space, the biggest learning has been that the opportunity cost of switching platforms for creators in the case of UGC continues to be high, and consumers are more loyal to the platform than the creators that they follow. Platforms need to have the magic to retain and engage users, just onboarding popular creators of other platforms does not help. 


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