IMPACT Annv Spl: 7 trends in distribution

As the debate rages over whether content or distribution is king, the key factor determining this would be technology, writes Sudhir Agarwal, CEO, WWIL.

e4m by Sudhir Agarwal
Updated: Dec 26, 2011 7:28 AM
IMPACT Annv Spl: 7 trends in distribution

Content consumption in the country is undergoing a paradigm shift. This is as much of an opportunity as it is a challenge. An exciting time lies ahead for television content distribution with traditional distribution models either shifting or giving way to brand new models. The distribution networks are about delivering a smoother, seamless experience to consumers. Technological innovations in TV, Direct to Home, Internet, Mobile, Cloud and Social are providing new alternatives for content distribution, giving further opportunities for distribution industry to reap the benefits of emerging trends. The upcoming trends will pave the way for next wave of innovation for the industry. Nowadays, homes are being populated with different digital devices, multimedia applications, network appliances, communications platforms, entertainment systems, security systems and much more. Connected homes of the future will enjoy higher digital content consumption. An empowered consumer would savour multiple options offering key differentiators. We still have a long way to go in completely digitising the country. The conversion from traditional-to-digital television transmission will not only improve the viewing experience, but also enable viewers to enjoy the benefits of watching movies and TV shows, surfing the Internet, playing interactive games on the same screen.

Scale holds key: Traditional distribution platforms are eager to scale up the operations in terms of both reach and content. This would in turn increase collaborations, acquisitions and partnerships in the industry. Consumers would be benefited through this as it would give them choice of the best content, greater access and variety of services under one bouquet. The foreign players are already looking to expand their India portfolio and several others are expected to make an entry into India. The business would belong to innovators who tap into the restless Indian consumer looking for out-of-the-box solutions.

Consumer is king: The rapid change in consumer preferences is visible as they search for content of their choice. Entry of niche channels like food is a classic example of choice. Localisation of content is most preferred by the consumers and quickly adapted too. The delivery of right content to the right audience will be the key to serve the Gen Next consumer. This leads to change in platform offerings to different segments, which make customer offerings more value-driven.

Information power: Traditional distribution platforms have evolved through market penetration at a regional and local level. This has resulted in a fragmentation of information to support the needs of the particular business units only. Numerous business issues are encouraging companies to build a strong knowledge foundation and to use that knowledge to maximise profitability and maintain customer satisfaction. To compete, the industry must move quickly to capture data from new transaction sources and integrate that information with traditional business data. The business must move from a partial knowledge foundation to a consistent one that leverages the insight of regional and corporate perspectives. Greater consumer insight would ultimately lead to development of differentiators to enrich the business cycle.

Single window: Technological advancement has helped to provide more services like broadband, interactive gaming and telephony to name a few. The customer will get multiple options of infotainment on a single device. This trend will drive convergence in times to come. The next era will be on video rather than voice.

Retaining customer: Increasing competition will ensure that service providers focus on providing the best in class services to ever-evolving and discerning customers. There would be emphasis on retention of customers on networks and providing new services. The customer will be looking for more choice; hence they would be both more demanding and discerning.

Technology edge: As the debate rages over whether content or distribution is king, the key factor determining this would be technology and technology innovations. Technology march at times even bypasses regulatory framework, but the best solutions from the technology domain would come when they are enshrined in the established policy framework leading to a better service to the end consumer.

(Sudhir Agarwal, Chief Executive Officer, Wire and Wireless (India) Ltd.)

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