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Vidnet Summit 2023: Accelerating Consumer Demand and OTT Uptake Through Experiences

This year's Vidnet 2023 looked at all these scenarios and more.

Mumbai: Today the lines are blurred as the streaming business is getting more complex and complicated, as monetization gets unclear. There is so much disruption happening, AVOD is offering SVOD and vice versa. Premium content is provided absolutely free and much more happening in this sector. Subscriber add-ons are slowing down. Time spent viewing on OTTs has plateaued for almost each and every platform, and high churn continues despite attractive annual schemes being offered by them. However, the good news is that the paid OTT subscription market in India continues to excite an increasing number of advertisers who are willing to put out their ads on these platforms. Mobile continues to be the main device of consumption even as connected TVs are increasingly getting into Indian homes. Investments in content continue to burgeon as viewers' insatiable appetite continues to demand more and more.

It is certain that this new ecosystem is calling for new relationships to be forged, new partnerships to be developed as TV manufacturers, Cable TV, and DTH, and telcos and other aggregators' presence as gatekeepers to their customers is increasingly being felt. So, what is the way forward for the OTT platforms? Where do the opportunities lie? What are the challenges?

This year's Vidnet 2023 looked at all these scenarios and more, and found answers to some of these questions along with experts from the industry.

The moderator for this session was founder, CEO & editor-in-chief, Anil Wanvari and the panellists were Endeavor Streaming, sales director, India & ME, Vinit Mehta, Epic ON COO Sourjya Mohanty, Sony LIV head of technology Manish Verma, NXTDIGITAL COO NK Rouse.

Before getting to the panellists, Wanvari asked the audience what the consumers want in OTT. People gave various answers from getting entertaining content and looking for relevant recommendations to experiencing a buffer-free quality stream.

Wanvari moved to the panellists for the answer, to which Mohanty said, “ Apart from what the audience said, the customers are also looking at beyond the content, what are those avenues for engagement. These are some of the experiences that people are looking for. Secondly, they are also going beyond something very lateral. Will I be able to get gratification by spending my time within the OTT? These are some of the things they are looking for.”

Mehta said, “The way I look at OTT today, its three C’s: content, commerce, and community. The way OTT has evolved, I think content is obviously a given, its stable stakes, and you have to have fresh content uploaded on a weekly or periodic basis to engage the audience. But in terms of commerce and community, a lot of work has been done to create community features like chatting on OTT or social viewing or watching the game or matches together with others. People have experimented with that, I think now with the Jio experience with IPL where they had multi-camera views, localisation of content etc.”

Rouse said, “We are in a very price-sensitive market. But when it comes to experience with OTT platforms, definitely UI, personalised recommendations as well as what I am seeing is how you get a seamless sort of navigation or content discovery. And if the customer needs to be taken care of, I think they will come back to your platform."

Verma commented, “I feel that consumers when they are coming to the app, we want to reduce the friction for the consumers to reach the content, as quickly as they can because it's all about content and content is both AVOD and SVOD. Now if a user is landing into the application, how quickly I can give them access, if the content is paid, how quickly I can make sure that users are able to sample the content so that they can figure out which content I want to watch? If they are ready to pay, how can I quickly enable them to make the transaction successful, if it is AVOD content, how do I ensure that advertisements are really not hampering the experiences, we are sort of making some innovations around it. Reducing the friction is one of the key areas for us to focus on.”

In the end, Wanvari raised a question on how to increase consumer engagement to which Mohanty said, “I think given the part where the content is king, but from the platform part, working on the basics is the first level of activity. Once the basics are right, you have the monetisation in place and the innovation starts. The value of depth is about making the basics right and earning the money and then interactivity and all of that can be sort of layered above that.”

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