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Without monetization, OTT can work only for a short period: Dr. Subhash Chandra, Essel Group

03-May-2017
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Without monetization, OTT can work only for a short period: Dr. Subhash Chandra, Essel Group

Emphasising on the need for subscription in the OTT space, Dr. Subhash Chandra, Chairman - Essel Group and Rajya Sabha MP, has alarmed the industry by saying that the advertisers alone won’t be able to pull it off.  

“Without paid content, quality cannot be maintained. Advertisers, today, are not ready to pay alone. Without monetization, OTT can work only for a short period,” Dr. Chandra said. He was speaking at the Whistling Woods International Institute where some episodes for the Dr. Subhash Chandra show were canned. The show re-launches on May 6.

Chandra’s remarks come from experience. The media conglomerate ZEEL owned dittoTV, a live TV OTT platform, offers over 100 live TV channels (Hindi and regional) for a nominal price of Rs 20 per month, which it slashed from Rs 150 after four years and re-launched last summer as a mass driven product. It presently has 5 million downloads on Google Play Store.

On the other hand, ZEEL’s other OTT platform Ozee, launched last February, which is an AVOD (Advertising Video On Demand) platform and showcases only Zee content, has 2.4 million active subscribers, according to a recent FICCI-KPMG report 2017.

Despite so many OTT platforms cropping up, Dr. Chandra stressed on the importance of a platform for the content maker. He explained: “Platform ka hona bahut zaroori hai (It is very important to have a platform). A content maker will find it hard to achieve success without it. Also, without experimentation and creation of new content, there is no future in the digital world. You get one to three minutes to get the viewers hooked.”

Dr Chandra is back with his popular motivational youth show ‘Dr. Subhash Chandra (DSC) Show’, with a fresh look and format. To be telecasted from May 6, the show will highlight inspirational stories of people from different walks of life. Dr. Chandra explained how it will be different from the previous season which aired in 2015: “I am not the only moderator. I just share my experiences. There are better motivators in the country like Dr A. Velumani and Prahlad Kakar, among others. We will bring them on the show as well to motivate the nation as a whole.”

On the TEN Sports sale to SPN, Dr Chandra said, “These are business decisions. It is not in our DNA to run after a cricket body. Also, it does not make business sense. We own IPR for our content. In cricket, everything is owned by the cricket board or some other sports body.”

The media baron’s advice to the younger generation? “Stay ahead of the curve. Don’t be afraid to experiment.”

The advice applies for the broadcast industry as well. “If a broadcaster cannot take care of its viewers or understand their body language, it will go out of business. You have to create content that people want.”

When asked about the change in bureaus with the emergence of new channels in the news space, Dr Chandra said this was inevitable. “It is all (the bureaus) undergoing a lot of change. Today’s system is not going to work. This is the age of user generated content and technology will enable it,” he stated.

Dr. Chandra said while he was optimistic about the growth of the media industry, the quality was a matter of concern. “The media industry in India will continue to grow as far as the business part is concerned. However, where quality goes, there are no checks in place,” he stated.

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