What it takes to build an economically viable niche OTT service in India
With the growth of technology, infotainment has flourished with the times. OTT is the new buzz word. The content, varied genres and finest originals are attracting the eyeballs of viewers. New releases are heavily promoted across all the social media platforms as well as the on the OOH platforms. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, SonyLIV, VOOT, ALTBalaji, Eros Now are few of the popular OTT players in India. As the demand of the mainstream OTT players are increasing, there is also an addition of niche OTT players. Niche OTT services cater to a particular target audience by curating a library only related to a specific interest or genre.
There are various niche platforms for themes such as travel, health & fitness, food, music, fashion & beauty, LGBTQ and many more. As more people are getting on the video streaming content, these platforms attract the viewers attention. Whether its style guide, beauty hacks, fitness tips, or healthy recipes all of these are the trends that people are adapting in their lifestyles.
While Advertisement Video on Demand (AVOD) is generally the primary source of monetisation for the OTT players in the country, the Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) and Freemium models are also seeing traction. The monetisation growth is held back due to challenges around digital viewership measurement and content piracy. These niche OTT players keep their subscription cost at a minimum, as they don’t have deep pockets.
Adgully spoke to some leading Niche OTT players on scope of vertical segmentation in the OTT space, the market competition, revenue model and much more.
Scope/ growth potential for niche OTT platforms
Vishal Gondal, Founder & CEO, GOQii OTT platform is all about content on demand. He feels that in today’s world people are increasingly seeking Health and fitness content given that there is lots of confusion with information galore on Youtube. Hence, the scope and growth for a niche OTT platform especially in the area of health and fitness with expert trainers has lots of potential.
Jaime Costas Nicolás - International Coordinator, Portico Media, opined, “Recent data shows that people are willing to subscribe for at least three OTT services. We are not aiming to be the number one OTT platform against others such as Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar, or others. Our goal is to become the de facto second OTT service for the LGBT community in India.”
Is niche enough to make an OTT service work
Vishal noted that what is important for a good niche OTT service to work is good authentic content. “If your content is not authentic especially in the area such as health and fitness then it can prove detrimental for the future.”
On other hand Jaime of Portico Media said that they are already three years old and have started in one single country which is their native Taiwan. “We are in all South and Southeast Asia and planning to open worldwide by the end of the year. Every day we week messages on social media from people asking when GagaOOLala is going to open in their countries”
Building value for the consumer
Vishal pointed that the key is to understand your consumer and delivering value to them. For example on GOQii Play the content is free what consumers pay for is the engagement that they have on the platform with the live coaches.
In Portico's case, Jaime said there are three elements that complement each other: localization, original content and partnerships. As a relatively small company they cannot carry burden of having many original productions, from development to release, and so they rely on partnerships with other production companies and filmmakers through our collaborative production platform GOL STUDIOS (www.gol-studios.com). “Through this platform we have been able to bring new original content to GagaOOLala every month. I'd like to encourage any Indian filmmakers out there working on LGBT project to take a look to our web and contact us.”
Revenue model for niche OTT players
Vishal mentioned that GOQii Play has a unique revenue model and based on engagement. The consumers pay Rs 999 for a year if they want to interact with their coaches during the live classes. Such unique revenues models work for niche content genres like theirs. He also pointed that one can also view the videos if they just download the GOQii App but will not be able to engage with the coach during the live class.
Jaime states that unfortunately they did not have much of a choice. “In many of the countries we are present being gay is still illegal and getting advertisers would be a problem for us.”
Gondal felt that just like television where there is a space for general entertainment channels and niche channels, even on OTT platform, there is space for general content as well as niche content. And Health and fitness is no more niche as it is becoming a necessity for all.
Jaime replies the same answer as mentioned for the scope/growth of niche OTT platforms.
Content that is best suited for niche OTT platforms
For Vishal sports, health, music, movies, cooking, learning are some of the genres that are best suited for niche OTT Platforms
Jaime points out that “You need to find a balance between a niche with an interest strong enough for people to subscribe to an OTT service, but broad enough to have a sustainable audience. Of course, the LGBT niche is a very good example since we all are very passionate and supportive of one another. In addition, we try to combine business and activism to the best of our ability to thank and give back to the community, such as our project in collaboration with photographer Leslie Kee, Out in Taiwan (https://www.outintaiwan.tw/)”