Trending Now: Tech, Content, Distribution - drivers of video consumption

Mahendra Soni, Director & Co-Founder, SVF, takes a look at the content consumption in digital, the key drivers in 2020, strengthening of distribution and the emerging technologies that will give a boost to the OTT space. 

What were the few big changes that you think were of importance in 2019 for our industry?

2019 has been an insightful year. An important change to note is that the audience is welcoming more fresh content. For us, the films with unique storytelling, as audience preferred, have worked wonders. The expectation of relatable stories has grown more since the inception of digital content, which explore a variety of content. A good story will drive the audience to go out to the theatres – the catchpoint to attract both the mass and the niche. 

What are the big changes that you are expecting in 2020?

At the start of this new decade, we are expanding genres. A lot of fresh talent will be introduced – be it in terms of actors, directors, musicians. We also want to divulge in more relatable yet fresh content. Directors are keen to branch out and experiment. A notable change that is already being implemented is the distribution of the film. Earlier, the priority would be movie theatres; then, it moved to Television Premieres through satellite deals. Now, with the advent of OTT platforms and new media on the rise, digital deals are becoming a crux of this entire distribution process as it reaches out to not only a regional or national base, but also international. 

How has consumer content consumption changed with a variety of regional content and new OTT players entering the market?

India is a country with a hotbed of opportunities. The Government’s digital literacy drive, rising disposable incomes, reduced mobile data charges and cheaper smartphone device has led to a great demand of online entertainment. I think this is just the beginning of digital revolution in India and in coming years we would be leaders in world market. Films are and will always remain the staple entertainment food for every Indian. With the lack of basic facilities in movie theatres across India, one would encourage audiences to watch their favourite superstars online. But this will also push the cinema owners to upgrade their properties to be in the game. It’s a win-win situation for everyone in the entertainment space. 

Are we seeing production houses experiment with new content formats and create more shows for digital?

Why not? It’s a blooming market! For the first time we have the opportunity to bring forward stories which are not easy to showcase in theatres or through broadcast. It is a very exciting time and gives production houses as well as individual creators the opportunity to experiment with newer formats; formats which are unique and taps into all behavioural segments. 

What will be key drivers of video consumption on digital?

On digital, I feel, there are three main drivers – Technology, Content and Distribution. On the technology front, the key is continuously trying to improve streaming quality and reducing buffer rates and at the same time focusing on creating a seamless user experience for the users in terms of online payments. Keeping the user in mind, the content is the next key driver – both from an acquisition and retention POV. The customers’ choice of content is tricky and if one discerns the needs and wants of their audience-base, it proves to be a successful run for them. Another key driver is the availability of your digital service on multiple devices – for example, hoichoi is available currently on Apple TV, Amazon Firestick, Android TV, Roku and Mi LED TV. Soon we are planning to branch out to LG and Samsung, among other devices this year. This ensures a wider audience reach.


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