We intend to be the No.1 real-life OTT service in India: Megha Tata, Discovery
In a chat with exchange4media, Megha Tata, Managing Director, South Asia, Discovery Communications India, talks about partnerships in OTT space, focus areas, the new Animal Planet, NTO’s impact & more
Barely three months into her new role as Managing Director - South Asia - for Discovery Communications India and Megha Tata already looks completely in charge.
She spoke to exchange4media on her new role and Discovery’s big push forward onto the OTT platform.
From BTVi to Discovery. How has the journey been so far?
I'm super excited to be part of this role. Moving from BTVi to Discovery was a big change - that was a news genre but this is something I call being at home. So, less than three months, but lots of time I've spent absorbing and observing what is happening not only in India, but globally as well.
In India, we were in a transition mode but now we are in a transformation mode. And what I mean by transformation is that even at a global level, there has been a shift in the thinking of how from being a B2B business we have to go into D2C. It's not something which will happen overnight. We need to plan for it in the long term as well.
We need to come up with a strategy which really works, which is not only aggressive but sustainable.
What are your key focus areas going forward?
There are three growth pillars for us. Number one, of course, will be becoming unparalleled leaders in the factual entertainment space. How we are going to continue to stay leaders is with a lot of content, which is going to be pure blood DNA of Discovery, being created at a global level. We will be creating bigger Indian IPs and adding more languages.
The second pillar of growth will be focusing on children. Discovery Kids is one of the fastest growing kids channel. We intend to be one of the largest players in the Indian animation space and we're going to be investing in creating more content, more IPs.
As I said, we are moving from B2B to D2C. If we need to be in the business, we have to look at where the audiences are moving and brands have to move accordingly. Hence, our D2C proposition is going to be one of our core focuses. And we hope to be launching it by early next year.
When you talk about OTT what platforms are you looking at?
We’ve had a successful partnership with Dailyhunt early this year. This reiterates the fact that there is an audience out there who wants to watch content from our stable. So, it's a very strong proposition. We are also in conversation with few other leading players who are keen to partner with us, but we will be launching our own product, our own OTT play.
While launching your own OTT, your present partnerships stay?
It's going to be a sort of a happy mix of all of that. We're looking at combinations of partnership options out there. For our proposition, we intend to be the No.1 real life OTT service in the country.
What will be your revenue model?
It will be both AVoD and SVoD.
What is your target audience? Will it be youth-centric?
Not specifically. The youth will play a role in consuming content on D2C product. But I think the D2C will be more in the 15 to 50 kind of age parameter and the core would be maybe 20 to 40. Our content on Pay TV today cuts across age groups, markets and gender.
What will be the USP from the consumers’ point of view?
We are pivoting our resources strategically, financially and operationally with the consumer-first mindset. We are focused on building an experience that is immersive, trusted, informative and community-driven. The product will be very different from our linear platform.
There has been confusion amongst consumers about TRAI’s NTO. How has it impacted Discovery?
You're right. NTO has had its impact, but it is still work in progress. And everybody is still seeking clarity. So just like how all the other broadcasters have got impacted, we too have. But for the genre we were in we could have had a worse impact. In my view, we've done a superb job - for two reasons. One, the brand pull and second, the pricing. So, we have maintained our position on our ability to be part of consumer homes and we have grown on time spent.
The digital space is getting bigger. How do you see it impacting the industry and Discovery in terms of ad spend?
To be honest, we’ve had a great revenue growth here, irrespective and in spite of all the challenges. Of course, this quarter might have had a bit of a concern, but overall we’ve had a good year. In spite of the NTO, our time spent has increased and there is good penetration into most parts of the country. The revenue is also not being dramatically impacted. So I would say we've had a good story. There is an FCT impact, which has a direct correlation. But how that got countered is through branded solution propositions that we brought to the client.
Other than OTT, any other big changes in the pipeline?
Animal Planet is going through a big change. So, effective July 15, Animal Planet will see a new logo, a new broadcast design, new shows and new faces. It's all one big new Animal Planet happening.
TRAI may look at reducing rates. What would this mean for an infotainment channel like Discovery?
We will wait for the formal proposal. No comments on that as of now.
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