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AI-ML will continue to play an important in the programming cycle: Siddhartha Roy

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every industry, including the Indian media and entertainment sector. However, the ongoing crisis has created novel opportunities along with the challenges. Digital content consumption witnessed a resounding spike across platforms with the demand for online viewing. With ample traction, the focus amongst companies going forward will not just be on adding new users by also retaining the existing ones. As technology continues to make new strides, one does expect the media and entertainment segment to rake in further growth that will play an instrumental role in the industry breaking new ground on the back of these dominating trends. 

In conversation with Adgully, Siddhartha Roy, COO, Hungama Digital Media, speaks about how 2021 panned out for Hungama Digital, how AI and ML will continue to be the game changers and much more. 

Language being no bar as content gets personal 

We’re today witnessing a major portion of digital growth in rural and regional pockets of the country as the gap between affordability and accessibility reduces. Brands have been quick to realise that reaching out to consumers in their own language helps them establish an emotional bond with them. 2021 saw Hungama Digital Media take their first steps in the South Indian market with the Telugu crime drama, ‘Game’, and also launched our very-first Bhojpuri show – First Night Sleep Tight Season 1 & 2. 

AI and ML being a game changer 

The media and entertainment industry has been strengthened on the back of cutting-edge technology that helps enhance user experience and monetise content. With the increasing adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of things (IoT), machine learning (ML) and blockchain, organisations are exploring new sources of revenue and improving business efficiency. At Hungama, there is a massive ML-AI layer at play that has helped us to know consumers’ usage habits, their preferences and accordingly, in giving them recommendations that make them consume content a lot more or multiple times. 

Foraying into new avenues 

The vast sector is experiencing a fundamental shift at many levels with changing consumer behaviour and advent of new technologies and systems of operation further expanding avenues of income generation. Indian audiences are demonstrating an increased demand for great content consuming experiences and devices that create these experiences in their homes. Driven by this insight, Hungama launched its E-commerce platform Hungama Hi-life, which curates a range of e-commerce products to offer the ecosystem to our consumers to enjoy audio and video products. 

Gamification gains traction

Gamification linked to sporting events, reality shows, and marquee content were popular on e-commerce platforms as leading brands chose these non-traditional online advertising options. Today, the challenge is not about just getting the eyeballs, but about retaining them and making them come back for more. Platforms will need to re-invent themselves to break the clutter and make it also more gratifying for them. To make the experience more rewarding for our viewers for instance, we have a unique loyalty program, Hungama Rewards. The program allows users to earn coins for every action they take on either of our platforms, making the experience more immersive. These coins can then be redeemed for physical merchandise and digital experiences. 

A successful blueprint for the future

It has been these trends that have brought in a sense of euphoria with regards the speed with which the India M&E sector has recovered. In a bid to make deeper inroads into India, audiences will continue to see a wider range of localized content. As programming gets bigger and more diverse, content will continue to be at the core of Hungama’s strategy. Staying ahead of the game, Hungama Play will see +20 original shows in 6 Indian languages in the coming future as well as strengthen its catalogue by acquiring TVOD. AI-ML will continue to play an important role and be part of the programming cycle. 

Digital platforms are multiplying giving rise to a host of opportunities that never existed before. Continuing to introduce several first features as well as several key catalogue additions to create an unmatched user experience and growing in newer markets, brands in the India M&E industry will soar to greater heights. 

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