We have aggressive targets for increasing share of advertising: GD Singh

Established in 2010, Digivive Services Private Limited is a Group company of Media Matrix Worldwide Limited which pioneered India’s OTT revolution by aggregating and distributing Mobile TV entertainment over telecom networks via its award-winning Application – nexGTv, showcasing cutting-edge entertainment including News & Live sporting events such as IPL. As an OTT pioneer, Digivive has also commissioned the best minds in business such as Endemol, to create India’s first mobi-serials - exclusive, celebrity-led, original programming primed for mobile-first consumption.

Adgully got into a conversation with Mr. GD Singh, Director and CEO of Digivive Services Pvt Ltd. Excerpts of the interview:

Adgully: How has the mobile content evolved in the last two years?

GD Singh: The entire mobile ecosystem has been on a juggernaut since the last few years. While, on the handset side, the industry is rapidly transcending from feature phones to smart phones, which is increasing the availability of low-cost smart phones and data plans for end users; on the network side, pockets with 4G availability are cropping up, and 3G is increasingly becoming the network of choice pan-India. From a content perspective, both – in advertising and native format, Video is now the format of choice for content consumption across the entire digital ecosystem, including messaging and social networking apps.  Growth of Internet and Video are also re-defining the traditional ways in which we have defined and consumed content including entertainment, which is fast overcoming limitations of time and location.

AG: For our understanding, how are OTT players different from dedicated digital channels of media brands?

GD Singh: In a pure sense, OTT (Over the Top) refers to any third party businesses (digital products or services, primarily Apps) that are available for consumption/ transaction/ exchange/ experience over a pre-existing internet / broadband network of telcos. Being third party, these businesses leverage the installed network of the telcos to reach their end-consumer and have a choice of sharing / not sharing any of their revenues with telcos who enable their service delivery.

Dedicated OTT players such as nexGTv have historically acted as content aggregators bringing together select bouquets of channels for end-consumers via proprietary Apps in the digital domain facilitating anytime, anywhere consumption. Most media brands have found this useful as it gives them a new, digital revenue stream while saving the overarching headaches of setting up a channel / business team to manage these rights. Over time however, few large media houses such as Star & Zee have found the digital/ OTT proposition inviting and have launched their own OTT propositions with owned Apps, showcasing proprietary content available on their channel bouquets.

With a view to harnessing mobile user eyeballs and retaining long-term strategic advantage, OTT players have started climbing up the value chain and to create their own, original & exclusive content for digital, primary mobile users. E.g.: nexGTv has initiated creation of India’s very first ‘mobi-serial’, in a bid to drive up user engagement, owing from years of insights gained about mobile content consumption behaviour.

From an illustrative analogy, OTT services of media brands can be described as single-brand stores compared to dedicated OTT players such as nexGTv, which can be described as hi-street malls, having a wide assortment of brands to choose from.

AG: Considering that in India, still average mobile screen size is smaller than countries like Japan, China and Singapore, what kind of consumption do you expect from Indian consumers?

GD Singh: From an industry that was essentially feature-phone driven a few years ago, the Indian mobile industry has come a full circle with smartphones of all shapes, sizes and prices being launched by global and leading Indian OEMs. Until a few years ago, it was unthinkable to have 3G phones less than $100 in price and now there already are discussions of launching sub-$100 4G smartphones in the next 1-2 years.

While screen sizes have progressively grown with smartphone penetration, what one needs to look at is the absolute number of subscribers in India and their desire for video content, in comparison to other countries. As per available industry reports, India will exceed 200 million smartphone users, topping the US as the world's second largest smartphone market by 2016, largely on the back of growing penetration of affordable smart mobile devices. Yet another indicator is the sheer number of Indian mobile users who access Facebook via mobile (almost 114m– biggest number anywhere in the world). Wrt content consumption, a recent Global Video Insights survey revealed that more than 70% Indians watch their favourite videos, TV shows and movies on their mobile devices and more than 80% of respondents have mentioned that they will increase this time spent watching mobile videos in future.

The growth story of mobile video in India is on the upsurge and we believe that we’re only scratching the surface here. The real action is yet to come.

AG: Which of the three screens is used most by the Indian users to view digital content?

GD Singh: Most of us grew up accessing internet and digital content via our PCs/ Desktops, which have begun transforming into laptops only recently. However, the advent of tablets and smartphones has been nothing less than revolutionary, and earlier this year, the Indian PC market finally reportedly declined for the first time by over 10% (as per MAIT & market reports), as growing consumer preference undisputedly shifted towards smartphones and tablets. In revenue terms also, the smartphone and tablet market is now nearly thrice the market for PCs / Desktops, clearly pointing the way forward.

With the world starting to increasingly become connected, more and more Indians are now becoming mobile and open to travel, and an increasing number of them, especially in major metros and demographics are fast adopting alterative screens for viewing content on their terms & conditions, regardless of connectivity, bandwidth, location and timeline.

AG: Can the same be validated through research/data?

GD Singh: In terms of numbers, a recent study by Outbrain indicates that Indians prefer using all three screens / devices at different times of the day and as per their circumstance for consuming content. For example, consuming content on PCs is preferred from 10:00AM – 5:00PM, with consumption peaking at 2:00PM. In case of mobile phones and tablets, content consumption is high between 7:00AM – 8:00AM, and from 7:00PM – midnight, with consumption peaking at 10:30PM. An average PC session lasts 3.4 minutes, while phone and tablet sessions last 2 minutes each.

While more than 40% Indians consume content on mobile, for the moment, the fear of mobile overtaking the desktop seems clearly unfounded as desktop/web continue to be the prime engagement devices across the entire APAC region, apparently in line with global desktop preferences.

While mobile phones and tablet devices showed lower engagement levels than the desktop in all markets, however, they do seem to have an innate advantage and as per Gartner, are increasingly becoming the first go-to device for communications and content consumption with users adopting smartphones as their exclusive mobile devices in emerging economies. Gartner predicts that, by 2018, more than 50 percent of users will go to a tablet or smartphone first for all online activities. It remains to be seen if this prophecy is played out. India is lowest below the global average with a “not bad” 41% of Indians who consume content on mobile.

AG: Can you please provide us details of the award you bagged?

GD Singh: Besides ranking amongst the Top 10 most grossing Entertainment Applications in App Stores, nexGTv has also won numerous laurels including our most recent – ‘The Best Digital Experience Award’ at the prestigious World Communication Awards 2014, in London.

AG: Can you take us through the future roadmap of NexGTV?

GD Singh: Given the industry we’re in and the speed of its evolution, we can never be certain on what’s around the bend? Three years in fact, could well represent a lifetime. As a young and ambitious company, we aspire to replicate the success of Netflix in India and our business focus and priorities are aligned to reinforce that objective.

Hence, while on one hand, we’re engaged in transforming ourselves from content aggregators to creators and publishers of original & exclusive content, on the other, we’re working hard on our UX/UI to facilitate intuitiveness and easy discoverability of content on our App. As someone who follows the ‘freemium’ model, we’re also fine-tuning our subscriber and viewer analytics on one side and tightening our focus on our content and marketing strategies.

AG: What is your revenue model?

GD Singh: nexGTv uses a ‘freemium’ model, which combines both ‘free’ and ‘paid’ content. A significant portion of content on the App is available free and is tagged appropriately. The rest of it, including premium, original and exclusive content is available for subscribers, at extremely affordable price points for daily/weekly/monthly viewing. With the rising smartphone penetration and improving network coverage, the entire proposition of mobile entertainment is available to the customer in as little as Rs.120 per month for the choicest, unlimited content.

AG: Considering that display advertising's share in mobile advertising is increasing globally, do you see faced paced revenue enhancement for the category, and yourself per say.

GD Singh: Definitely, we have aggressive targets for increasing the share of advertising on the platform and as a percentage of our revenue. We work with several brands and agencies and have run exclusive and non-exclusive campaigns for marquee brands including Coke, Samsung, and Fox to name a few.





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