Content delivery is breaking all barriers. Today, consumers are offered with never-ending choices and are seamlessly shifting from single- to multi- to mobile screens. This presents a challenge as well as an opportunity for the industry.
The emergence of new technologies and platforms is redefining the rules by offering a greater value proposition.
According to Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18 Media, there has been a proliferation of multi-screen devices and they are becoming a preferred choice of consumers due to convenience and multi-tasking functions. There is a desire to curate and share content among consumers.
There are 2.4 billion internet users, out of which 80 per cent watch videos online. By 2020, there will be five billion internet users, with three billion users accessing videos on mobile. Rajan Anandan, Head, Google India believes that consumers are ready to pay for content as long as it is entertaining and compelling. Consumers and technology have gone way ahead of the industry. According to him, consumers have moved at least 10 years ahead.
However, Rahul Johri, Senior VP and GM – South Asia and Head of Revenue Pan-Regional Ad Sales and Southeast Asia, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, disagreed to the fact that the industry is 10 years behind. Earlier channels were just running the TV business, but today they are delivering content across various platforms. Channels are creating content that can travel globally, he stated.
Isa Seow, Senior Academic, Republic Polytechnic and Founder, Centre for Content Promotion (CCP) stated that getting revenues from multiple screens is a problem. There is a need to have a secure system moving content from device to device.
India is bandwidth scarce, but in the past two to three years, the situation of internet penetration has improved and the country is introducing 4G, which can be a game-changer.
Kaushal Modi, Head – Digital Media, Airtel feels that post voice, data is the next big driver. “There is a huge explosion in the device eco-system and we are catching up as we are introducing 4G in the country.”
It is widely believed that despite scarce bandwidth, there is an exponential growth in video consumption. According to Sameer Manchanda, Chairman and MD, DEN Networks, video content is getting thicker and denser. “The next step forward is the need for a fixed line broadband.” He believes that the cord cutting phenomena is not going away, but it will certainly get reduced with digitisation.
Whenever online videos come into picture, movie content is a big driver. People prefer movie content over others. Ajay Bijli, Chairman and MD, PVR and Trustee, PVR Nest, thinks that the harbinger is still movies. As long as high quality screens are built, watching movies on big screen will stay, but there is a lack of big screens in India. The country has only 1900 multiplexes; hence, there is a need for investment in the sector with the laws and tax structure to be made favourable for growth.
However, Vijayalakshmy K Gupta, Member, TRAI, feels that the problem is more of a psychological change rather than a change in the rules and regulation. There needs to be a mind-set change in the eco-system with the readiness to pay for content.
The above panelists were speaking at the CII Big Picture Summit, 2013.