Does paid viewership tip the scales for OTT in the clash with Television?

Industry experts tell us why targetting premium viewers is important in clinching viewship in the cluttered OTT space

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Updated: Sep 23, 2019 9:24 AM

With traditional television and disruptive over-the-top platforms now facing a fierce clash, customer segmentation has become all the more important for streamlining viewership.  Premium users are the people making a difference in the battle between television and OTT platforms.

According to a KPMG report, the average time spent by Indian subscribers on various OTT platforms is 30-50 minutes.

Industry experts share their take on whether the OTT industry will be on par with Television in the coming years in terms of viewership keeping in mind the fierce competition.

The number of paid viewers for Amazon Prime videos have doubled this year. According to Vijay Subramaniam, Director and Head, Content, Amazon Prime Video, “There is a thriving TV universe and I don’t see that going away anytime soon. These are different pools of content and they are applied differently. So behaviours around this are also pretty distinctive. Do I see it raising the bar of creativity? Yes Of course! Customers will become more demanding and that’s a good thing. But it is important to keep in mind that it is really early days for streaming overall and India is a big country”.

He added, “We have been growing and that’s been pretty consistent, regardless of everything else happening in the universe of entertainment. If you look at the Prime program, there’s video, shipping, shopping, music, all of that for Rs 129/ month or Rs 999/year. That’s a pretty compelling proposition”.

What holds for premium customers and why is the targeting of these viewers important in clinching viewership?

Hiren Gada, CEO, Shemaroo Entertainment said, “The OTT space has understood the demand for premium content and has striven to deliver it to every premium consumer. The scarcity of high quality and premium content on TV has led to early adopters embracing the OTT wave. The concept of paid content has been prevalent for long in the form of VoD’s but the OTT players have harped upon it and have used this to their advantage. 

“The Premium customers are always on the lookout for content that hooks them.  As long as the OTT players decode and supply this demand, the cluttered content space will not be cluttered at the premium end”, added Gada.

Uday Sodhi, Business Head – Digital, Sony Pictures Networks India gives us an insight into what the future holds for the paid users. He said, "At SonyLIV, subscriptions are one of our fastest growing business segments and we believe with an ever-improving and extensive content library, this will continue to grow in the years ahead. Currently, almost 20-25% of our revenue is from subscriptions and the split is around 80-20 between advertising and subscription led revenue. According to the latest BCG Report, the Indian OTT industry will shoot up with 40-60 million paying subscribers by 2023 and the share of SVOD will rise to almost 32% of the total revenue. This is reflective of a paradigm shift in consumption patterns where falling data prices and user accessibility have ushered in a wave of value-seeking consumers who are fine with paying for quality content".

These are still early days for the OTT ecosystem. As the market expands, the next consumer segments will look for different content choices.

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