'Solving content delivery challenges in a robust manner will have many advantages'

A panel comprising Lokesh Chauhan, Rohit Tikmany, Sidd Mantri, Pankaj Kedia and Aditi Olemann addressed how technology is shaping the future of streaming

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: May 18, 2021 11:36 AM

At the second edition of e4m’s Play Streaming Media Conference 2021, a panel of experts discussed the topic ‘How technology is shaping the future of streaming’. The panellists for the webinar were Lokesh Chauhan, Chief Technology Officer, ErosNow; Rohit Tikmany, Head of Product and Growth, Viacom18 Digital Ventures; Sidd Mantri, Senior Vice President-Product, MX Player and Pankaj Kedia, Managing Director, Emerging Markets, Dolby Laboratories. The session was chaired by Aditi Olemann, Co-Founder & Head of Marketing, Myelin Foundry.

Rohit Tikmany flagged off the session by noting the challenges faced by the industry: "Different parts of our business have different challenges. For the subscripted part of our business, access to banking and enabling rural users to make payments is an issue. For the advertising part of our business, it's the usual connectivity challenges.

"In general, the prices of smartphones are still out of reach for the next million users so to speak.  We have been hearing promises of Rs 2000 and 3000 smartphones for a while now but they don’t really cut down the price. OTT experience can still only be enjoyed in a Rs 4k- 7k device. Typically, these would be the challenges: access to digital payments, high-quality networks and access to high-quality devices.:

Sidd Mantri added: "We have solved the payment and access to banking problems by making our content free. For us, the biggest problem or challenge has been the cost of data, connectivity and data penetration as it is a big focus area for us. Most of our consumers tend to live on 1GB or 2GB data. There have been so many instances when the users want to access more data but they run out of their quota. And the other challenge is that the preference and taste of content are very different.  There are regional preferences.

"There is a very strong presence of region and language-specific content. Being able to cater to the diversity of preference and being able to target it is where technology kicks in. Being able to generate supply from a diversity point of view and being able to match that supply to the appropriate demand are the two things that we focus our energy on."

Speaking about the effects of localisation, Lokesh Chauhan added: "The biggest part according to me, and I think that my colleagues would agree is the ability to tell you the part. The tier 2 tier 3 connectivity is still a problem. It has only been catered to a certain percentage of people who clearly have of the site with the network. A major part of India is still waiting for offline delivery, cash payment, etc., which is kind of a requirement. The whole ecosystem needs to evolve. As far as localisation is concerned, we are trying our best.

"We are trying to ensure that content localisation from both, subtitling and speech perspective starts happening more and more. since we are a global service we have to cover all the geographies and that's where we are looking to utilise technology."

Talking about the 5G network approach, Rohit Tikmany said, "We have a bottoms-up approach. We think that technologies that help us achieve our goals indirectly help our customers achieve theirs. According to me, 5G could just be a faster 4G depending on how fast the speed is and whether it would be enabled by users."

Pankaj Kedia added: "Being wireless, will have advantages in markets in India as India has always done well with wireless connectivity. Solving the existing challenges of content delivery in a robust, reliant or high-speed manner will have a lot of advantages. 5G is evolving right now. There is a lot of work happening in the evolution and innovation of 5G. There is still experimentation happening with broadcast and linear delivery using 5G."

In conclusion, Sid Mantri added: "I think the bigger problem is data consumption quota, data consumption capacity and cost. 5G will help in the quality of content that users get to watch for the same amount of data consumption.  5G will help enhance the user experience for the same amount of data consumed. The users will be in a greater position to significantly use a better quality of content."

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