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VOD is on the rise; here's how mobile is contributing to that growth

Authored by Deepak Jayaram, Head of Strategy & Innovation at MinersINC.

Flexibility, convenience, choice—these are the 3 Must Have Mantras for the Modern Day Consumer. Interestingly, these are also the 3 fundamental traits of VOD platforms, the most popular medium of consuming content today. Gone are the days of appointment viewing where TV Guides and pre-set schedules determined your entertainment calendar. Todays’ consumer has shown an overwhelming preference to move appointment viewing to on-demand, anytime, anyplace viewing as his preferred choice. The modern consumer can catch their favourite shows anywhere and anytime they want.  Their preferred screen of engagement? Smartphones, obviously!

A Recent survey by Mint and the Indian division of market researcher YouGov showed that 48% millennials have completely stopped watching TV and consume every kind of content-from news to sports and entertainment, online. The flood of content options, the convenience of the smartphone, technology enabling convergence have put the consumer firmly in charge wherein he is making a choice on content fuelled by his passion, individual interests and community viewing depending on shared interests and family time.

3 Ps to prosperity - Pricing, personalization and privacy making mobiles the home of content

Inexpensive unlimited packs, combined with easy availability of smartphones at extremely competitive pricing have unleashed a value proposition that has brought the vast world of online entertainment literally in the user’s palm. In fact, according to Ookla, India is the largest consumer of data per capita, with approximately 150 crore GB of mobile data being consumed per month.  

A large portion of the real India beyond the Metros and Class I towns rural India is gradually waking up to the world of internet, thanks to being exposed to it first-hand through smartphones. Every day millions of people in India are getting their first taste of instant, on-demand content through mobiles, and the vast amount of vernacular data being uploaded each day further adds to the consumption rate. More than 75% of content traffic is accrued to video consumption over smartphones. Furthermore, the feature of online content offering an ‘algorithm of curation’ that sifts content according to one’s taste, is a huge act of empowerment. From being dictated by structured content of TV to enjoying the absolute freedom of having content chosen according to one’s taste, it indeed is a great feeling of liberation.

But what makes consuming content through these little screens so inviting? The ease, undoubtedly. With longer work hours, time spent in commuting and skewed work-life balance, modern consumers are micro-consuming content, i.e. trying to fit in whatever they can consume in as short a time as possible. This micro-level scalability of content, and the privacy offered through the devices such as smartphones, makes them truly democratic content distribution mediums. Viewing shows is not a family ritual anymore, it is to be done quickly, preferably at a single touch or click. The privacy offered by smartphone screens also makes it an ideal medium of content consumption that may not be suitable for collective viewing.  

Swimming through the deluge-‘Curation’ the buzzword for content in the future

We can already see the digital landscape flooded with over 30OTT players in the last couple of years.  The sweet little devices in our pockets are working on overdrive, offering us infinite content while managing what we watch, the way we watch (HD/medium quality), and the amount of data we consume while watching it, simultaneously.  It is the fastest, most interactive and deeply personal way for brands and content creators to reach and influence the end-user, while giving them enough power to voice their opinion and influence content creation as well. As the two mobile-first demographies, millennials and Gen Z, become the dominant consumer segment, mobiles are undoubtedly, the go-to platform of the future.

Mobile based content consumption has opened the floodgates of shows, videos, web-series, movies etc, from all over the country and the world to an extent that our thumbs might be permanently stuck in a scrolling movement. Over the last couple of years, the content market has been flooded by over 300 OTT players, and a few big powerhouses have become the buzzword in the industry. For a digital first generation, consuming content over the phones, and through these mediums, comes naturally. The consumer just cannot keep up anymore, and any attempt to do so reduces the quality of consumption experience. It is just like swallowing through a delicious spread, rather than savoring the dishes you enjoy the most.

This is where modern day technologies come in. Like a knowledgeable connoisseur, Data Analytics, Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence driven algorithms can help a consumer sift through vast content to identify shows according to one’s liking and preferences. Furthermore, they can also assist in enriching the individual user experience by hooking them up with like-minded communities for better engagement. It will also contribute to the production of more interactive content that requires dedicated engagement and discussions to fulfill the content maker’s vision. For instance, the latest interactive story ‘Bandersnatch’ from Black Mirror features choices that the user has to make for the main protagonist in order to conclude the story. Such content can encourage formation of chat forums and group discussions to understand individual and collective psychology, promote travel experiences or many more. The possibilities are endless.

Mobile and VoD Convergence: A gold mine for marketers

Today 89% of consumer internet data is being generated through Video and Audio, most of which comes through mobile. By 2020, a majority of the advertisers will move the digital way with a special focus on catering to mobile traffic. With consumers fast drying up and advertisers moving away from TV, and masses shifting to on-demand viewing on their personal devices, VoD apps present the next wave for mobile ad engagement. However, the key for them would be to transform ads in such a way that viewers embrace rather than reject it.  Content and brand integration needs to be the priority for marketers, so that brand engagement is achieved in manner that contributes to user experience by offering enriched and diversified engagement.

Some ads, such as the recent Tipp-ex interactive ad, that have raked up large views as a standalone feature. Moving forward, brands would have to develop, integrate and present advertisements on VOD platform content in such a way that it subtly merges with the overall experience, or further enhances it. Marketers will need to focus on taking user engagement to the next level with a new paradigm in thinking. The Future is exciting as technology, marketers and storytellers come to the same table and strategize to address the consumer. The coming together of mobile and VoD has developed a platform where content consumers are converging in massive numbers, and as every smart marketer would say, you need to be where the consumers are!

About the Author

Deejay (Deepak Jayaram) as the industry knows him is the Head of Strategy & Innovation at MinersINC, the Blockchain-powered P2P entertainment ecosystem. He brings to the table 22 years of experience in marketing strategy, new media opportunities and experiential marketing. He was associated with organizations like Anand Bazar Patrika, Coca Cola, GROUPM and ISDI WPP School of Communication. He realized that blockchain – with its ability to ensure security and provide reliable attribution was the key to building a future that is transparent and empowering for everyone to be able to monetize/unlock the value of their skills and passion. This led him to join Mr Nitin Narkhede, Founder and CEO, MinersINC to building a community-driven platform that puts the consumer in charge and the creators in control of their creation while enabling everyone connected to the value chain.



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