Will Reliance Jio launch boost India's OTT segment?

With the promise of free voice calling, free national roaming, better bandwidth and data at fraction of the cost of incumbents, Reliance Jio made headlines in the telecom network.

e4m by Madhuwanti Saha
Published: Sep 13, 2016 8:07 AM  | 8 min read
Will Reliance Jio launch boost India's OTT segment?

The recent launch of Reliance 4G network created a stir in the telecom market by introducing plans that include free voice calling, free national roaming and data at fraction of the cost of incumbents. At the Reliance Industries AGM held in the first week of September chairman Mukesh Ambani announced Reliance Jio would not be charging for voice at all, and laid out a number of reasonable data plans. Anyone with a 4G capable phone can buy a Jio SIM, and it'll be free to use till December 31, 2016 as a one-time 'welcome offer.' It promises a base rate of Rs 50 per GB with greater the usage lower the rate it will be. So the question here is will this strategy bring a positive impact on India’s nascent OTT segment? 

Gaurav Gandhi, COO - Viacom18 Digital Venture is extremely optimistic about the launch boosting up the consumption of long format content. He explains, “Jio's launch will change the ecosystem for video services forever and the biggest beneficiary will be the consumer. Today over 70% of video streaming (across OTT players) happens on WiFi. Users are apprehensive about using data, especially video and even if they do, it’s mostly short form. They bookmark stuff to watch later or opt for offline viewing. OTT video market will explode (which anyways is already growing aggressively) with this big change.”

Uday Sodhi, Executive Vice President & Head-Digital, Sony Pictures Networks India, shares the same thought with an added mention of competition heating up, “With Jio coming in and competitive environment on data heating up, consumers are going to get better quality bandwidth, bigger packs at affordable rate, better WiFi access and hotspot. Entertainment sector will gain with this development. Long format is going to get a big boost. Movies, catch-up TV, the entire space of digital video is going to benefit primarily because accessing content will become much easier and cost effective.”

Siddhartha Roy, CEO of Hungama.com reiterates the point, “Currently the Indian market is at a nascent stage. The biggest thing Jio brings to the market is bring better connected data. Consumer will consume data across board. We are the beneficiaries of that consumption. Entertainment will be one large contributor of that and video as a format is going to be a leader in the consumption value.”

Reliance Jio’s recent strategy of launching its own 4G handset LYF at the most affordable price of Rs 2,999 implies widespread access to cheap 4G handsets with competitive tariffs leading to more data consumption. Sodhi adds, “Also the whole effort to provide 4G phones at reasonable price will help increase the total number of devices in the market. So the broadband devices are increasing. 4G bandwidth is going to be better and cheaper. So whether it’s Jio, Airtel and Vodafone, all of them are going to be better pricing and larger packs.”

And, the competition is indeed building up. Bharti Airtel has recently come up with a new plan of delivering 1GB of 3G/4G data valid for up 28 days in just Rs. 29. Several reports show that the telecom company has slashed up to 80 percent for the prepaid users and nearly 150 for the corporate ones. Vodafone has recently revised its old plans and now offers 2GB data plan for 30 days at just Rs 199. It claims to have increased its 4G data quote by almost 67 percent at the same data pack cost. Idea is providing 1GB 3G data plan for 28 days at just Rs. 249. To counter Jio’s plan BSNL has launched a broadband plan under which if customers use the plan continuously in a month, they can download upto 300 GB data by paying Rs 249.

When it comes to content Gandhi feels Jio launch is good news for content creators as well alongside the OTT sector and consumer. “It will surely benefit all premium/scale content creators even more. Great stories / with scale production are sometimes difficult to tell in short formats. Also, consumers will now be able to stream HD quality content on not only phones, but larger screens – again benefiting quality content creators (more than UGC).”

Let’s not forget Reliance Jio is an OTT player itself and Cyber Media Research believes it’s expected to become the largest one in India as mentioned in media reports. It is already a number of app-based services, including JioPlay, Jio Beats, Jio VoD, and Jio Security among others to its customers in India. Jio Play will have over 300 TV channels, including 30+ HD channels across 15+ languages and 10+ genres. The market research firm also mentions that Jio will have more than 125 million potential 4G subscribers available to acquire by December 31. That will provide an interesting twist in this segment with other players working up their game in content, reach and marketing areas.

Boost to digital advertising

How will this launch impact advertising, especially digital advertising? As it is known, digital advertising in India is making great progress. According to Madison Media’s revised Pitch Madison Advertising Report 2016 it grew by 37% in the first six months as against its original estimate of 30%. With that pace, OTT players are confident that Reliance Jio launch will encourage it by bringing more advertisers to the platform. “Year-on-year more money is shifting to digital advertising as more and more consumers consume digital content. With more traffic being created, brands looking to explore digital advertising are on a rise. We are all aware that brings in better advertising and better measurement of ROI,” Roy comments.

On a similar note, Gandhi adds, “OTT video advertising market is expected to be a US$ 1 billion by 2020. With this big launch, the overall eyeballs on video will multiply which will bring in ad volumes. Every big TV advertisers will now be putting significant money on digital video.”

Sodhi echoes the same thought, “Increasing number of consumers are consuming content on different platforms which will bring in advertisers on board.”

Experts speak

The positivity is felt among the media experts as well. Shashi Sinha CEO of IPG Mediabrands India, comments, “It’s a great offer. If they get their infrastructure right it will benefit everyone. As broadband increases, speed will improve digital video system will take off. Having said that, it’s still early days. Overall as digital improves in the country there will be space for everyone.”

PM Balakrishna CEO, Allied Media Network, “Jio is a game changer for the telecom industry and a lot of analysts are watching it and if it is successful, we will see a lot of carriers giving away voice and charge only for data platform. Jio is using VoLTE which is supposed to be faster, quicker and lower costs for data. This coupled with free calling including roaming make it top of the wish list for users including consumers and enterprise alike. It will create a spike in consumption of data in the form of content and services and hence will give that fillip to the OTT as that is the next frontier given the rapid pace in which the mobile is outstripping conventional screens. To the other networks which are sadly stuck in older technology platforms this is bound to be a huge challenge in the short and medium term.”

On the other hand, Shekhar Banerjee, COO, Madison Media Infinity has a different take on it. In fact he doubts that Jio’s launch will bring in growth in this sector immediately, given the current data usage pattern in the country. According to him the content needs to get the first priority in order to propel growth. He says, “It’s unlikely that in short term, OTT growth will be fuelled by Jio launch. Existing players already have data and there are certain existing users of data who might opt for Jio’s cheap data. Then there are mass who use only voice and will opt for a cheaper voice, but when they see the value of digital in their life they may start using data consistently. So all of a sudden there will be a more digitally connected India that will be a big unlock for India overall. The question to be asked over here is: are all digitally connected consumers using OTT today? How many of them are using Hotstar Vs Youtube? OTT’s success will be in their ability to serve good content, only then they will be consumed. Their game is not just access to data, but the need to crack the content piece first, I think.”

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Integral Ad Science launches verification programme for Netflix

This will ensure that ad campaigns on Netflix are free of fraud, and are seen by actual viewers

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 22, 2023 8:37 AM   |   1 min read


Integral Ad Science has launched Viewability and Invalid Traffic verification for Netflix. It will benefit those who have subscribed to the streaming platform's ad-supported plan.

The tool will ensure that ad campaigns on Netflix will be free of fraud, and are seen by actual viewers.  

The verification programme has gone live in 12 countries and across connected TV, computer and mobile platforms. 

This is part of Netflix’s agreement with IAS, which was announced in 2022.

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Amazon Prime Video & Jio front runners in race to host HBO content?

The agreement between Warner Bros Discovery and Disney+ Hotstar is believed to have come to an end as the former asked for an exorbitant fee of Rs 80 crore per year for HBO shows, say sources

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 22, 2023 8:27 AM   |   2 min read


Ever since Disney+ Hotstar decided not to renew its licencing agreement with Warner Bros Discovery, the latter has been looking for a home for HBO content. According to sources in the industry, HBO has been in talks with several OTT platforms in India. However, Jio Cinema and Amazon Prime Video are believed to be the front runners in the race.

"Initially, the content team of HBO was in talks with several OTT platforms, including Netflix, SonyLiv, Amazon Prime Video and Jio Cinema. But it is believed that Jio Cinema and Amazon Prime Video are ahead in the race. Whoever offers the best price, will seal the deal,” said a source close to the development. 

exchange4media reached out to HBO, Amazon Prime Video and Jio Cinema for an official comment, but is yet to receive a response.

It's important to note that Warner Bros. Discovery collaborated with Amazon Prime Video last year to offer a slate of 11 popular HBO Max Original series and 10 HBO Max original features exclusively for Prime members in India.

Disney+ Hotstar announced the end of its association with HBO through a tweet last week. “Starting 31st March, HBO content will be unavailable on Disney+Hotstar. You can continue enjoying Disney+ Hotstar’s vast library of content spanning over 100,000 hours of TV shows and movies in 10 languages and coverage of major global sporting events,” it stated.

As previously reported by exchange4media, the agreement between Disney+ Hotstar and Warner Bros Discovery got over after HBO demanded a fee of Rs 80 crore per year for its shows, say sources.

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India would be a great place for an offline experience: Ryan Latham, Nothing

The Global Director - Brand and Creative of consumer tech company Nothing spoke to e4m on the brand’s design and marketing philosophy, its brick-and-mortar plans in a digital future, and more

By Shantanu David | Mar 22, 2023 8:45 AM   |   5 min read


In a market and media-sphere where so many people so often talk about nothing, Nothing aims to start a whole new conversation. The London-based consumer technology company, backed by heavy hitters like GV (Google Ventures) and EQT Ventures, has created a tremendous amount of buzz in the industry, despite being barely two years old and having launched a soupcon of products.

With its striking minimalist visuals, unique imagery featuring exquisitely shot insects interacting with its devices, and reportedly superior performance and ergonomic capabilities, Nothing has become a focus brand for tech nerds and aesthetes alike.

With its Ear (2) set to be launched today (March 22), e4m spoke to Ryan Latham, Global Director, Brand and Creative, Nothing, during his India visit, about the brand’s design and marketing philosophy, the importance of the Indian market, and its brick-and-mortar plans in a digital future.

“It's great to be in the market to come and visit. We have this set-up where the teams from India travel to London, and we come here as well because you have to be in the market to experience it and to make sure you're tailoring your products to that consumer base,” says Latham, about his maiden India tour with Nothing.

“Besides expanding the market in Saudi Arabia, we are focusing on the Indian market. Also, we're European headquartered, so we've got key partnerships with the network operators and retailers across the UK, Germany, Spain and some of the core European markets. And we've also opened our very first store right in the heart of London's cultural scene,” he says.

Speaking about the Soho store, the company’s first brick-and-mortar store, Latham says that, somewhat paradoxically, the minimalist tech company has always wanted a physical storefront. “We also thought, as a new brand, with a technology product and a design-led product, opting for the more personalized experience helped us in standing out in the clutter of the tech market. We really believe in the community around ‘Nothing’.  Unlike other brands, we chose a small format store instead of investing on to the big Oxford Street.”

This has led the company to assume a design which is quite compact, where it can experiment and learn about how to interact with its customer base and figure out the permutations of creating a fun retail experience. It plans to open more stores in key markets. Is India one of them?

“Nothing is confirmed, nothing is fixed right now in the calendar. But in terms of our thought process, we believe that India would be a great place for an offline experience,” answers Latham, perhaps inadvertently confirming Nothing is fixed in the calendar.

Puns aside, Latham asserts that Nothing is really well positioned because it has that design aesthetic, but it's also a really excellent kind of value product as well. “You're getting a lot for your needs and for your money, from a design point of view. Also, we have a high investment in our OS. We've just launched our Android 13 and we continue to update the product on a really regular basis, having done eight updates since launch. Also, we’ve had feedback from the market and from our customers in India that they've actually found that the phone one is getting better the more they use it.”

Speaking about figuring out the bugs of the system, this conversation would mean nothing (yes, the puns write themselves) without going into the idea of using animal imagery, especially the insect kind, in its visual advertising.

Latham says, “What we're trying is to bring the product to life with some warmth and some personality. Our design ethos is about joyful interactions and designing with our instincts, not just following kind of rulebooks and lots of data. We want to design products that make us feel something. The founding idea of the insects and the animals was bringing technical warmth to the products, bringing them alive. And these insects use instincts to explore. So when you see a beetle interacting with our Ear (2) products, you see it exploring it and trying to find out what it is using its very basic instinct.”

“And we use different characters for different products because they have different, maybe different meanings. With the current product that we're launching, the animal in the creative is an ox beetle. And this ox beetle is a very small, very powerful, and very technical creature; if you look at it, it looks very engineered, very purposeful,” he says.

“And with the Ear (2), the engineering teams have spent a lot of time making the product more compact, but also increasing the performance massively. So, we've got this very small, very strong, very powerful product. And the animal that's interacting with it in some ways mirrors it,” he adds, concluding, “Also, let's not be too pretentious about it, it's also just super fun: a very fun way to demonstrate, to show off the product.”

It’s nothing, really.

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Surinder Films acquires Bengali OTT platform Addatimes

The first web series after acquisition to be streamed on Addatimes will be Amriter Sandhane - The Banaras Chapter

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 21, 2023 3:45 PM   |   2 min read


Kolkata headquartered film production company, Surinder Films, has acquired Addatimes, the first Bengali on-demand OTT Platform of the country

“We have been in the business of Bengali film production, distribution and content creation for both regional & national channels. In today’s context we found that the OTT Platforms have immense growth potential and it is the right time to invest on it. Thus, we decided to acquire Addatimes, the first Bengali and one of the well-known OTT platforms. Here, we would be creating, as well as acquiring content of varied genres keeping in mind the audience interest. We already have an interesting line up of big-ticket Bengali Movies & a host of Web Series’ which we would start streaming soon. We look forward to a creatively exciting journey ahead”, said Nispal Singh, Director, Surinder Films Pvt Ltd.

The first web series after acquisition to be streamed on Addatimes will be Amriter Sandhane - The Banaras Chapter, from14th April, 2023, celebrating the occasion of Poila Boishak (Bengali New Year). This 8-episode series is a mythological thriller set in the holy city of Varanasi. The star cast of Amriter Sandhane - The Banaras Chapter includes Chandan Roy Sanyal, Sauraseni Maitra & Debasish Mondal amongst others and it is directed by Abhinandan Dutta. Following this there will be a rib-tickling series, Gentlemen, starring Joy Sengupta, Mir Afsar Ali, Rudranil Ghosh & Madhurima Basak in the lead, which is directed by Korak Murmu. Gentlemen will be steaming from May, 2023.


This apart, Addatimes would also digitally premiere some mega feature films like Kaberi Antardhan (on 26th March, 2023) followed by Mitin Mashi, SagardwipeyJawker Dhan & Magic and many more in the coming months. New films like Love Marriage, Bhootpori, Ardhangini, Paakhi, Tarakar Mrityu & Tenida will be digitally premiered in Addatimes post their theatrical releases.


“We plan to release between 15 -18 original contents a year, to begin with. As far as the films are concerned, there will be more than one release per month," added Singh.

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Class has no ‘class’

Guest Column: Markand Adhikari, Chairman & MD of SABGROUP, writes that the new trend of nudity and obscenity in OTT is harming society and putting freedom of expression in danger

By Markand Adhikari | Mar 21, 2023 2:30 PM   |   4 min read

Markand Adhikari

Today, I wished to share something with the readers about a new trend in the media/entertainment sector, but let me first confess I feel ashamed and embarrassed to write this as I also come from this fraternity. The trend I am referring to is the kind of content that has excessive vulgarity, nudity and obscenity.

When some of my friends told me about this, I was not ready to believe that the content dished out on a platform, for public consumption, could have fallen to this level. But they insisted and urged me to raise my voice against it. So, I decided to check it out myself. I came across a web series titled ‘Class’ and another called ‘Rana Naidu’, both on a premium OTT platform. I mustered enough willpower but I am sorry to report that I could not watch more than two episodes of each of them.

On TV and the big screen, the content is meant for entertainment. This content did not entertain me; it shocked me, it disturbed me.

When people complain of such excesses, some makers argue that they are merely showing a mirror to society. I beg to differ. What is shown in ‘Class’ and ‘Rana Naidu’ is not the true picture of our culture and society. Is each and every student of an elite school in big cities a drug addict? Is every boy or girl in such high-profile schools indulging in pervert sexual acts? If that were the case, I am sure at least some of the parents would have raised their voices and stopped sending their children to such schools. But that is not the case.

What such content does is not reflect social reality but actually the opposite – instigate our youth and society to go down this path by giving them ideas. Do we want today’s youth to take that path and create a generation of drug peddlers, sex maniacs and criminals? Or do we want to see them as doctors, administrators, scientists, thinkers and leaders of the future?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating strict censorship. I believe I am very liberal-minded and have been a strong advocate of the freedom of expression. But crossing the limits of what can be said and what can be shown on the screen is a shameless and blatant violation of the Freedom of Expression. The premium platform where ‘Class’ and ‘Rana Naidu’ is streaming is abusing the right to free expression.

Let us agree that nudity, vulgarity and obscenity cannot be sold in the name of fundamental rights. If you think so, then why stop at ‘Class’ and ban outright pornography? That too should be ok. If so, is it the case that some porn producers and peddlers have been prosecuted because their platform is not as big?

Let me reiterate that the issue here is nudity and not fundamental rights. Those who defend this vulgarity in the name of rights are actually destroying our social fabric and harming our culture. Selling obscene content in the name of freedom of expression is actually putting this freedom and this right in danger. They are forcing the authorities to consider censorship of OTT content. Then, we as an industry will have no argument against the government. In other words, these “advocates” of freedom of expression will be responsible for the censorship of OTT content, and we will be responsible for digging our own graves.

Alarm bells are ringing. I strongly believe we should wake up and put a stop to this trend. Enough is indeed enough.

Markand Adhikari is Chairman and Managing Director of SAB Network.

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

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NCLAT reserves judgment in Google case

The tribunal has been hearing this case since February 15

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 21, 2023 11:43 AM   |   1 min read


The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has reserved its judgment in the Google versus CCI case, say media reports.

The appellate body has been hearing this case since February 15.

Last week, the CCI informed NCLAT that the tech major was not a 'dominant' but 'super dominant' undertaking.


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Hoop Entertainment signs multi-show deal with Audible

Hoop Entertainment will produce 70 hours of original, multi-character, audio series content that will be exclusively distributed on Audible

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 21, 2023 11:32 AM   |   1 min read


Audible, a creator and provider of premium audio storytelling, has signed an exclusive deal for 10-audio dramas with Nikhil Mirchandani’s Hoop Entertainment.

Hoop Entertainment will produce 70 hours of original, multi-character, audio series content, across mythology, drama, history, true crime and horror genres, creating a “theatre of the mind” experience that will be exclusively distributed on Audible.

The 10 new shows produced by Hoop will be available free for all listeners, exclusively on Audible.

Shailesh Sawlani, VP and Country Manager for India at Audible, said, "We are incredibly excited to collaborate with Hoop Entertainment to bring captivating content to all listeners for free on Audible. We are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to provide our listeners with best-in-class content, and Hoop Entertainment's expertise in producing audio dramas across a variety of genres perfectly aligns with our vision. We are confident our shared passion for storytelling will help us to continue to deliver an immersive experience for our listeners."

Nikhil Mirchandani, Founder, Hoop Entertainment, said, “We're thrilled at the opportunity to produce a multitude of audio series across genres for Audible. The stories, narrative, performances, and sound design will create a ‘theatre-of-the-mind’ experience. Audio is the next entertainment frontier, and our audiences are ready for complex storytelling and personalized audio experiences. We thank Audible for trusting & enabling us to explore this medium to the fullest.”

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