India’s digital story is unfolding day by day. Our Internet user growth rate is over 40% – as against a global growth rate of 9%. The number of mobile Internet users in India is approximately 400 million and rapidly growing, especially in smaller towns and rural India. In fact these markets will really power the growth over the next few years.
Entertainment continues to remain a key driver of this growth in Internet usage across the country. Content consumption patterns in India have evolved over the last few years, resulting in the increasing growth of multiscreen video consumption. We are in a multi-screen platform era, where all screens- tablets, phones, desktops, etc. work seamlessly together and are accessed by users at different times of the day. This is largely due to young working professionals and college students who want to consume entertainment anywhere and at anytime. These consumers especially are quality conscious rather than price sensitive and they are willing to spend on exclusive, premium and high quality video content. Online video services catering to these consumers, which initially offered largely movie catalogues, are also rapidly evolving. Today, a variety of content formats, such as linear and live TV, original programming and short format videos are on offer, which are customized to different audience segments. Live TV on OTT is one of the key drivers of the OTT space, which replicates the television experience on any Internet enabled device be it a smartphone, laptop, desktop, tablet or any other device. Live OTT streams are delivered across Internet connected devices without any delays compared to the actual broadcast. Viewers can therefore watch their favourite shows and catch up on the latest news and sports updates real time, while on the go and are no longer confined to having to be in front of a TV set.
Live TV on OTT is also a phenomenal opportunity for broadcasters to expand their reach and target eyeballs beyond their Linear TV viewing audience and engage their digital audiences better through social media etc. All in all, improving the overall user experience for viewers and building a combined audience base which, over time, helps in attracting better advertiser spends. With television being the most loved and familiar form of entertainment across the country that cuts across all social classes, linear, Live and on-demand consumption of TV will grow exponentially in the future.
However, this exponential growth needs to be supported by an evolving ecosystem. Challenges like varying levels of broadband access, low Internet speeds and affordability in terms of data tariffs continue to be hurdles for players in the OTT space. Other challenges include establishing Internet availability and performance that measures up to global benchmarks along with distribution and pricing. Market access regulations and piracy are other concerns for the OTT industry.
In order to ensure that live television is within the reach of every Indian, we partnered with one of India’s leading telecom players Idea Cellular, to offer its 3G and 4G internet pack subscribers a free monthly subscription of dittoTV with every recharge. We believe that with the surge in affordable Internet enabled smartphones, partnering with telcos to bundle ditto TV with heavy usage data packs is key to enabling subscribers access the wide array of high quality online content on dittoTV. However, since this sector is still in a nascent stage of growth in India, it is important to also work closely with the government and industry bodies to create a conducive environment which will help OTT content delivery platforms reach their full potential.
Archana Anand is currently the Business Head for dittoTV. She joined the company in July 2015 as the Head of Global Business Development for dittoTV at ZDCL. In February 2016, she took over as Business Head. In her current role, she is responsible for the Strategy and P&L for dittoTV. Archana comes with close to 20 years’ experience across Business domains. Prior to Zee, she spent 8 years with OnMobile Global, a VAS services provider where she headed their Infotainment Product Vertical. Archana’s strong people skills, along with her natural flair for all things Creative makes her a natural marketer. While at Onmobile, she was responsible for the conceptualization and launch of ‘Help me on Mobile’ – a safety application for women. She was awarded the ‘Inspiring Women Leaders’ award by Synergian in 2014. Archana has a management degree from IIM Bangalore. A keen English Theatre aficionado, Archana has acted in and directed numerous plays. She also enjoys cooking and baking.