2020 to be tipping point for digital video: Karan Bedi, MX Player

Guest Column: Karan Bedi, MX Player, CEO, writes on the trends expected in content, digital video becoming mainstream and more

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 8, 2020 10:53 AM


Karan Bedi

The trends that one would see in 2020 will be an outcome of what we have been tracking now for some time.

Explosion of content and new formats

In 2019, a variety of OTT content was explored. Our estimate of the amount of content specifically produced for online, for all series across different platforms including certain YouTube series, is about 700 to 800 hours for digital. The TV industry does almost 40,000 to 50,000 hours annually of content. So my bigger prediction for 2020 is that over the next two years this space will see massive growth. It will probably end up reaching 10,000 hours over the next four or five years. So, in 2020 alone we will see a lot of content being produced for OTT and this is because the industry is finally realising the type of content that OTT requires - which is a sort of episodic series based kind of content.

The industry is now learning to create properly and we know the supply lines are well lining up. So, the content you see now will be more in quantity and variety. I think you will see a lot of different types of content for different kinds of audiences who have traditionally not got content that they wanted on TV. Content on television, of course, continues to be popular on OTT but when made for OTT or for web that content will explode massively. That’s one big outcome you’ll see in 2020 and beyond.

You will also see the rise of lots of new formats of engagement. Whether you want to call it a product or a content format, alternate ending storytelling, AR-based storytelling, audio or podcasts. Multiple formats will evolve in 2020.

Digital video to find a place in mainstream advertising

The second thing I see is that finally, the tipping point of advertising has come. Digital has been growing at a pretty healthy rate for the last five or six years. But I think it’s time for digital video to become a mainstream property, digital video becoming a true alternative to other mainstream media and I'm not talking about digital as a whole, because for digital as a whole search, social and display have been big for a long time. But video now has reached the status of being mainstream with consideration for all agencies, planners and clients.

I think for digital video 2020 will be the year where it reaches the tipping point of saying that this becomes a mainstream medium and it no longer becomes a conversation about “What are you doing in digital? It will become a core part of the consideration set for any advertiser who wants to reach out. Today, on digital video alone, we are probably reaching out to approximately 300-350 million monthly actives, which is almost a bigger addressable market, than TV.

Of course, with multiple members per household, the overall TV audience is larger but the actual number of TV screens in India is only around 200 million. Today the number of smartphone screens in India are already close to 500 million or has even crossed that number. But just the number of digital video users, Monthly Active Users have probably crossed 350 million or is nearing 400 million. I think that digital is going to become a mainstream advertising medium in 2020 and beyond.

Technology – Getting It Right

I think today one of the biggest challenges that platforms and even customers face, frankly, is the challenge of discovery. How do you watch content that you will genuinely like. I think that we've all been talking about personalisation and so on for a long time in the industry. I think that the actual technological challenge of getting it right is not small. It’s about getting a technology product that is at a level where it can genuinely learn the customer’s habits and provide content that is relevant to a customer, because now like on MX alone, there's probably more than one and a half lakh hours, maybe even two lakh hours of content and that is a huge amount of content. It's not easy for a customer to see all that content. We have been investing very heavily in technology to streamline it. We have mentioned before in multiple places, we have a large technology team, based out of India and China that focuses on this. And I think at an industry-wide level, this is something that's going to be a big one and will be relevant in 2020 and beyond.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com

exchange4media’s upcoming event e4m Play- Streaming Media Awards & Conference slated for March 2020 will acknowledge & perquisite the best achievers in the on-demand video & audio content space. The conference will be holding in-depth discussions on similar industry challenges, possible solutions and more with a congregation of the best and most influential in the business.

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