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Expect M&As, co-productions, even fold-ups in OTT space in 2021: Divya Dixit

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 our 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.

Divya Dixit, SVP, Marketing, Direct Revenue & Analytics, ALTBalaji, highlights some of the key trends that will dominate the OTT video streaming landscape in 2021.

Outlook for 2021

Affordable smartphones have revolutionised the OTT video streaming landscape in our country, with over 40 OTT platforms serving the OTT landscape. The year 2021 will see the rise of some exciting new OTT technologies, along with some out-of-the-box content. It will be interesting to see how 2021 plays out after unprecedented shifts over the past year.

Even the marketing trends have changed to digital heavy strategies post the pandemic induced lockdown. It is interesting how marketers across industries depend on digital, AI, and personalisation for consumer engagements. Also, there will be a rise in gamification, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality. To conclude, we could say since evolution is never easy or kind, we will see many mergers, acquisitions, co-productions, and even fold-ups as business models get explored.

Great expectations

ALTBalaji has been working towards its goals and is the first OTT platform already on the road to profitability. With our costs getting controlled in the first half of 2020, and the loss margin further reducing at the end of 2020, we aim to break even in 2020-2021. We are focusing on ensuring that we dominate the Hindi speaking markets and then move ahead. If you look at the country’s geography and demography, 70% of the content consumed is Hindi. As a platform, it makes sense to focus your efforts in one direction and win over the Hindi speaking population. Hence, this year we are first going to focus on ensuring that we dominate the Hindi space. We will gradually move towards other regional markets as well in the coming years. 

We are aggressively focussing on the emerging youth from smaller towns and developed new concepts for our target audience aged 20-40 years. Also, we are making sure our subscribers are retained for the long term, through a pool of immersive content. As we see the country gradually unlocking itself, resulting in operations coming back in full swing, people might get busy with their work and social life. But we think digital content has made its way into these viewers’ lives, and it is there to stay. 

Key learnings from 2020

2020 has become the year to remember for nearly all individuals and across industries globally and in India. From an early response perspective and also to the more recent months. OTT content consumption has witnessed a steady growth through 2020, and it will continue to do so this year as well. It opened new avenues for us across Tier 2 and 3 markets. This situation, though an anomaly, introduced a more extensive set of audiences to OTT. Having sampled our content, the audience will continue their consumption on the platform. However, our focus remains on our long-term plan of creating unique narratives. Massification of content has been our goal right from the very beginning. That shall see us lay further impetus towards expanding our language content library, taking from our previous year’s experience.


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