Wednesday, July 13, 2016

OTT - Convergence battleground

Indian broadcasters have made sizeable investments in over the top (OTT) platforms. However, there is intense competition as broadcasters, independent content producers, aggregators, distribution platforms and
telcos facilitate on-demand, universal content consumption.

This coincides with rapid improvements in bandwidth availability (3G/4G rollouts). Convergence will be the next battle frontier for the media and telecom industries with customer engagement being the Holy Grail. Getting space in customer smartphones entails (1) outgunning rivals to procure relevant content, and (2) recurring marketing spends, viz. app originals/freebies to sustain traction.

ZEEL’s benefit from increased content consumption will be diluted by reduced TV viewing and incremental investments. Downstream industry participants like content producers, syndicators (like Shemaroo),
creative talent and data scientists could emerge as unexpected beneficiaries.

These are early days for the OTT ecosystem and industry is experimenting with a variety of monetisation
models and advertising video on demand (AVoD), subscription/transaction video on demand (SVoD/TVoD). Growth will be driven by (1) increased smartphone penetration and falling data prices, (2) regional and OTT relevant content availability, which platforms will create as they imbibe viewership insights.

In our view, the battle has just begun and the real challenge for broadcasters is from focused content aggregators like Amazon Prime, Netflix and Jio, which ascribe primacy to their OTT distribution. Our channel checks point to aggressive content acquisition by Amazon Prime (likely to launch by Diwali 2016), while Jio appears focused on an entertainment experience rather than sale of GBs/MBs of data.