The media and video industry in India has undergone more change in the last 6 months than it has seen in the last 30 years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Sunil Lulla, CEO, BARC India, with the surge in viewing as a result of the lockdown in India, television viewing peaked to 1.26 trillion viewing minutes during lockdown and continues to be greater than pre-COVID levels. More advertisers and brands are also returning to TV as the economic recovery speeds up.
While TV continues to play a big role in India, the move to digital has been dramatically hastened as digital consumption increased rapidly, with the next 18- 24 months being significant for broadband penetration and digital video streaming on TV at home, commented Tarun Katial, CEO, Zee5 India. The other major shift is how subscription video on demand (SVOD) has changed the game. “People have moved to watching premium content very significantly. . . The diversity of content that has come into this country…is now getting appreciated…and almost all SVOD users are becoming repeat and consistent users,” added Katial.
This love for content is what has driven the growth of the streaming platforms. “India has always been a land of storytellers. . . and that’s a great opportunity at Netflix. . . there is an opportunity to tell the story in the best form,” said Srishti Behl Arya, Director International Originals, Netflix India. Anvita Dutt, Director, Bulbbul, also shared that streaming had provided an opportunity and empowered more storytellers to tell their stories, regardless of their gender, and “there is no limit to what you can release on a streaming platform.”
However, with over 30 OTT platforms India, this also creates challenges on the technology front. With over 500 million internet users in the country, out of which at least 400 million are consuming video on various devices, “this is going to change the way content is consumed…produced…and offered to the consumers across the platforms,” added Manish Verma, Head of Technology, SonyLIV. And wrapping up with the view of who rules in India, Chiranjeev Singh, Head of Marketing, APAC, MediaKind, said, “At the end of the day, the consumer is the king…we still need to build quality content, and make sure it is delivered with the best experience to the consumer.”