Indian customers are not cost-conscious but value-conscious: Gaurav Gandhi

At day two of e4m Screenage Mobile Marketing Virtual Conference, Gandhi, Director & Country General Manager, Amazon Prime Video India, spoke about Indian consumer as the saviour of OTT Play

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Nov 21, 2020 9:47 AM  | 4 min read

Day two of the third edition of e4m Screenage Mobile Marketing Virtual Conference witnessed Gaurav Gandhi, Director and Country General Manager, Amazon Prime Video India in a freewheeling chat with Dr Annurag Batra, Editor-in-chief, BW Businessworld and exchange4media.

It was a two-day virtual conference which featured keynote sessions, panel discussions and speaker sessions by prominent mobile marketing and digital marketing experts on the topic of mobile marketing. It is crucial for brand marketers to amplify mobile adoption in order to build an effective engagement with their consumers. Screenage attempts to break down all these elements that are becoming crucial for a marketer’s everyday decision-making through this virtual summit.

Dr Batra commenced the chat with a quip on the rapid adoption of screens necessitated by COVID-19 in which OTT (over-the-top) platforms have had a key role to play and asked Gaurav Gandhi about his journey from working at a traditional broadcaster to helming a major OTT platform.

Gandhi began by talking about the changing consumer habits driving subscription growth in the past few years.

“It is a very interesting time for OTT in general. We have a young demographic, which is hungry for content and prefers the on-demand way of viewing the content. The affordable and ubiquitous mobile phone has become the 2nd or the 3rd screen in the house in a country, which was largely a single-TV country,” said Gandhi.

He added that factors like cheap mobile data, improving disposable incomes, and digital pay infrastructure have all been the catalyst in the OTT boom. It was helped in equal measure by a tremendous refinement in the quality of local content being offered to the consumer.

“Over the years, because of the economic model of broadcast, it is working largely in an advertising-led sector so you are working to cater to the ratings which lead to very formulaic content being made; streaming has liberated storytelling,” he observed.   

He said that OTT platforms have also removed impediments in the distribution of content which can now cross boundaries and travel outside India. Gandhi revealed that 15 per cent of the viewership figures of local movies released in the four Southern states came from outside of those states which would not be possible in the past.

“Indian customers are not cost-conscious but they are value-conscious so when they actually start seeing value and they have an option to take that, we have seen an uptake,” Gandhi noted.

OTT only for millennials?

Gandhi pointed out that the streaming video market has nearly 300-400 million people, which means that it is not just for millennials or for metros.

“In fact, if you project 4-5 years out, there is no reason why the number of people streaming videos will be any lesser than the people watching television,” Gandhi averred.

He added that the growth of paid streaming services (SVOD) has been interesting. It, he observed, has been driven by the lack of screens compared to the population of a billion. 

He also spoke about the service being a personalized video offering which can cater to different members within a household.

Gandhi said that OTT platforms offer tremendous scale to advertisers in addition to targeting and engagement. He also sees a lot of models emerging in this space as all of them seem to be growing.

Future of Content Creators

Gandhi said that the idea is to tell authentic, honest, and new stories. It all starts with a great story according to him.

“If you look at the 80s and 90s, you had only single-screen theatres, you would do a classic masala film, which could fill those thousand seats and then came multiplexes which led to segmented cinema,” said Gandhi.

He concluded that streaming services also provide segmented content which broadcast is not able to do because of which new genres have emerged which were not tapped in the past.

“Content creation involves risk-taking and one must not shy away from experimentation,” he said.

Government regulation on the horizon

He said that Amazon strives to strike the right balance between high-quality content, freedom to content creators while respecting legal and cultural sensitivities.

“We look forward to working with the government to ensure customers and their choices, their empowerment remains central to this discourse while adhering to the laws of the land,” he stated.

OTT space in 12 months

He said that there is a lot of look forward to at a category level.

“Demand is increasing rapidly not just in tier I but tier II and tier III cities. Living room consumption is also growing rapidly with smart TVs and smart streaming players. Moreover, Language is no longer a barrier to consuming content,” he said.

He winded up the chat with stating that Indian original shows will be going global in the next few years.

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