With over 30 OTT players competing for viewership in India, the task has become harder with Facebook and YouTube upping their game.
While the OTT content might be gaining traction in the country, a combined report by Kantar IMRB and Culture Machine states that YouTube and Facebook alone account for 42% and 47% of overall videos consumed online. Moreover, FB has increased its video content by 60 per cent in a bid to cash in on its growing popularity.
Given these numbers, the big question is: Will OTT players have an easy run with YouTube and Facebook dominating the online video consumption space?
If we look at the local OTT competition, India has witnessed an over-the-top (OTT) explosion over the years. The entry of leading international players, coupled with the rise of local OTT ventures, has only intensified the competition in a market earmarked for exponential growth. While Hotstar has the first mover advantage, the big boost actually came with the launch of Reliance Jio in October 2016, which got into the mainstream over 70 million mobile internet users with free hi-speed 4G internet.
With over 400 million smart phone users in the country, the scope for growth of OTT is huge, and Facebook and Google are also vying for a share of the pie.
We asked some OTT players if they were looking at a new strategy to counter the competitive advantage that Facebook and YouTube command when it comes to video content consumption online. Manav Sethi, Chief Marketing Officer, ALTBalaji said, “This poses a challenge for existing OTT platforms globally. These platforms will now have to derive their competitive advantage through content and content alone…that they must own exclusively!! With the exception of sports, these OTT platforms would have to move towards creating/curating original shows rather than catch-up TV. These OTT platforms will also have to invest in creating shows that are broadcast quality deep-rooted dramas. That puts ALTBalaji in a unique position of strength as our focus is on #ALTBalajiOriginals in Hindi and other languages available across 80 countries. We are the only platform that launched with seven original shows and have committed 250-300 hrs of original content this year as against 600 hrs that Netflix produced last year.”
Terming the OTT phenomenon as something which is here to stay, Salil Kapoor, MD, India, HOOQ said, “If you look at YouTube, it is more about user generated content, while Facebook is still trying to figure out how to include TV and movie in its video content. However, the increasing trend is that video content creators, big TV and movie production companies are pulling out from YouTube and have started to create their own platforms since they have realized that subscription can become a big revenue for them in the long term.”
The increasing popularity of digital media has provided for a paradigm shift in the global advertising spends too. Marketers are following the changing trend and increasingly allocating their budget to digital mediums. Spending on digital media as a percentage of total advertising spend is expected to increase from 21% in 2010 to 36% by 2020. This will undoubtedly benefit the OTT players, though a huge chunk of it will likely be taken by Facebook and YouTube.
Talking about how OTT players were watching the YouTube and Facebook video strategy closely, Sethi added, “YouTube is the undisputed leader in online video consumption in India. YouTube India consumption numbers suggest that more than 70% video views are from non-English videos. Hence, platforms with focus on shows in Hindi and other languages will have opportunity to acquire 200M viewers (chasm between Naagin and Narcos) as against niche OTT platforms with focus on English shows. Facebook isn’t a worry as of now as it is gaining traction in short-form videos (for them a view is 3 seconds) but taking a cue from others, FB has just started making the right moves (leadership hiring) in the original content space.”