For the first time, Indian audience is willing to pay for digital content: Kanchan Samtani

At the e4m Play Streaming Media Conference 2021, Kanchan Samtani, Managing Director and Partner, BCG India, spoke on monetisation options for OTT players in India

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: May 18, 2021 11:41 AM
Kanchan Samtani

The pandemic has shown robust signs of how the Indian audience is inclined towards paying for content on digital platforms said, Kanchan Samtani, Managing Director and Partner, BCG India at the second edition of e4m Play 2021.

“COVID-19 led to a surge in consumption across screens and platforms. In India, even in the pre-pandemic times, we had reached an average time of about 40 hours per week of media and entertainment activity for consumers on an everyday basis and this has continued to grow for the market. Data suggests that the Indian consumers are becoming digital viewers rapidly,” she said.

By 2024, Samtani said, India expects to see as many as 900 million internet users in the country and around 800 million of those users would be using a smartphone and nearly 750 million of them would have access to audiovisual offerings either AVOD or SVOD, and a sizeable chunk of those users would be willing to pay for the content they consume. Additionally, the average minutes per day spent on online video is also expected to grow alongside the number of broadband households and SVOD unique subscribers suggesting an overall growth in the ecosystem.

Coming to the OTT universe in India, Samtani said, “The structure for OTT today is already quite complex. OTT is a crowded space in India with 30+ players and the real challenge in front of the players is to build a business that in the long term is sustainable as well as profitable.”

Elaborating further on this, she said, “The market is becoming crowded due to lack of regulation and entry barrier, fight for eyeballs and revenue is still on but significant investments are being made by players on content and marketing. With increasing budget constraints during Covid, advertisers look for high measurable returns and we can achieve that through improved targeting because digital makes it easy to target customers who are most likely to purchase a product. There is also an opportunity for real-time tweaking which includes optimizing campaign parameters on a real-time basis to get more bang for the buck and there are better return metrics meaning the measurement of ROI from each campaign is a must and finally lower outlays with digital helps reach the right audience in a cost-efficient manner at a lower scale.”

OTT platforms, according to Samtani, must keep working on a model that allows monetisation from both subscription and advertisement channels.

“There are a couple of other opportunities for OTT platforms from a monetization standpoint,” she said.  

“Local content consumption is expected to grow further as rural internet users outgrow urban users in India. So localization of content is a huge opportunity and then there are originals that are the hero content on OTT driving exclusivity for platforms. So continuing to work on original content is a key growth driver,” she added.

Talking of how OTT also comes with an opportunity for advertisement where they can attract advertisers who have been shy of advertising on TV because of the mass nature of the medium Samtani said, “The platforms must work on building advertising solutions that raise the bar on the advertiser value proposition. The platforms offer endless opportunities for data collection for better targeting can offer data-driven solutions to marketers to drive better monetization opportunities. Another big opportunity the platforms have is to take the content abroad. Globalization of Indian content also increases monetization options not just among the Indian diaspora but also otherwise.”

Interestingly as pointed out by Samtani, OTT content can also aid in the export of Indian culture and in the process boost industries such as tourism.

Overall according to her, digital media is ready to fire on all cylinders.

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