Streaming Wars: How content differentiation can be game changer for OTT platforms

The rise of Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms has revolutionised the way we consume content. With the growing viewer base, OTT platforms are strengthening the content library with fresh content – both homegrown and international. Now, the frequency of release of new web series across genres has also gone up. This, along with the entry of new OTT players in the market, is leading to a situation of plenty.

Time has come for OTT platforms to seriously draw up strategic plans to stand out in the growing clutter in the market. Content differentiation can be a key in the OTT gameplan, along with providing a personalised experienced to customers.

However, content differentiation is proving to be a challenge for OTT platforms. Adgully spoke to some industry experts to understand how OTT players in India can achieve competitive advantage.

Vinit Karnik, Head of Sports, ESports, and Entertainment, GroupM, observed, “In the world of OTT, where there’s an abundance of content, differentiation isn’t a walk in the park. The biggest challenge today is capturing viewers’ attention in a world where our patience for traditional appointment viewing is dwindling. It’s no easy feat, and even in OTT, only certain events like live sports still qualify as true ‘appointment viewing’. For instance, cricket fans may watch Jadeja play two weeks ago, while others catch up on the match a day or two later. The truth is, it is virtually impossible to predict when people will watch. That’s why sports rights are so highly valued; they provide a unique, live experience.”

In this complex landscape, OTT platforms must constantly engage viewers. It’s no longer about buying one hit show or event and resting easy. It is about acquiring a diverse range of content and continually adapting to what works and what doesn’t. In this dynamic world, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for keeping viewers hooked.

Dilip Chandra, Vice President - Product and Analytics, Aha, stressed, “Personalisation is the need of the hour. Our recommendations are powered by a hybrid methodology of Collaborative and Content based filtering, thanks to a great deal of data points that we capture in real time. However, the current state of recommendations needs to go hyper-personalised in today’s world, especially as we venture into new content formats like short form content. We are working on building a solution from two perspectives – Cohortisation of our users’ basic robust data infrastructure, and In-depth video consumption analysis using Generative AI + metadata enrichment.”

Chandra further said, “Our brand positioning of 100% Regional (Telugu & Tamil so far) fundamentally differentiates us from the rest of the market. Our core focus in understanding the respective markets more importantly our target audience is backed by primary and secondary data, thanks to our in-house robust data infrastructure which offers a competitive edge. The insights translate into building effective strategies across functions like Content, marketing and pricing.”

“Content is the king, thereby our starting point is to ensure a strong content pipeline backed by data backed strategy. Our ability to profile our users using a variety of variables of engagement, interests, demographics, devices, etc., empowers to tailor personalised communication to macro/ micro user cohorts. Content formats like Movies, Web series, LiveTV, Casual Games, aha Minis and now Virtual channels offer a plethora of entertainment choices to a wide spectrum of audiences, enabled by a thoughtful pricing strategy to appeal from a mobile-only to living room premium experiences like 4K and Dolby,” Chandra added.

Netflix has been introducing several initiatives in terms of pricing and content offering to attract subscribers. The OTT player has significantly increased its library of content in different Indian languages. One of the key strategies employed by Netflix involves entering into strategic content tie-ups with Indian content producers. Some of these tie-ups include:

  • Yash Raj Films (YRF) and Netflix have come together in a multi-year series partnership, with the goal of producing captivating films and series for audiences in India and around the world. This partnership holds the promise of delivering compelling stories to a diverse global audience.
  • Following the success of ‘Khakee: The Bihar Chapter’, Neeraj Pandey’s production company, Friday Storytellers LLP, partnered with Netflix. This digital content production arm of Friday Filmworks embarked on multiple projects across films and series, with the second season of ‘Khakee’ being the initial offering from this collaboration.
  • Renowned filmmaker Hansal Mehta established a multi-year creative partnership with Netflix after the success of ‘Scoop’. Mehta is set to create multiple series for Netflix in the coming years.
  • Filmmaking duo, Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, entered into a creative partnership with Netflix, operating under their D2R Films banner. Their unique genre-blending style has resulted in a range of cult films, blockbusters, and premium shows that have earned both critical acclaim and commercial success.

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