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People are more drawn to individual experiences and a collection of that content makes a platform: Sameer Nair - CEO, Applause Entertainment talks about the transition from Cinemas to Smartphones at the 11th U.S.-Asia Entertainment Summit
Since the world is shadowed by the pandemic, the consumption pattern of the audience has transitioned drastically. Entertainment industry has for one witnessed a radical change as its audience have taken to smartphones as theatres have taken the hit. This has further prodded the digital landscape to pick up greater pace and the streaming platforms across the world to acquire a fresh audience base. To bring these changes to light and platform an insightful discussion, Asia Society, Southern California, the leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context, orchestrated a discussion on ‘Cinemas to Smartphones: Streaming Wars and the Future of Bollywood and India Content’.
The discussion was a part of the 11th U.S.-Asia Entertainment Summit, that attracts the most important and interesting speakers in U.S. and Asian entertainment. The country in focus was one of the largest consumer markets in the world, India. To represent the country on a global scale, Sameer Nair, CEO - Applause Entertainment, the content arm of the Aditya Birla conglomerate, shared his insightful perspective on the topic. Other eminent panellists in the discussion included the director, Shekhar Kapur, and entertainment lawyer, Gowree Gokhale.
The platform is known for providing insights, generating ideas and promoting collaborations across the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy to address present challenges and create a shared future.
Sameer at the lecture series highlighted the impact of COVID in India, the streaming industry, the future of television, and the big opportunities lying in India. Following are the excerpts:
OTT Landscape Development in India
This period is a lot like the early stages. It is more like the 90s for what it was for television in India with a whole bunch of channels coming up with a number of players and investors. Here we have a potential 500 million of an audience base and the streaming platforms have touched around 20 million, so it is a long way to go. India is a large market connected with smartphones and broadband connectivity, cheapest data in the world, already savvy with television and film, so this is a growth phase where there will be a lot of investment as we essentially move audiences from television to streaming.
Importance of Theatre in the Industry
Theatrical revenue is a very important revenue stream as when we draw a comparison between 9000 theatrical screens versus 900 million smartphone screens, we miss talking about the fact that the 900 million smartphone screens are not going to generate the sort of revenue as compared to what the country can potentially generate theatrically. So, taking the theatrical experience off the market translates to a significant economic change and you are also leaving a great chunk of retail revenue on the table. I think streaming platforms can compensate for those 80-100 billion dollars to offset the theatrical revenue loss.
The Future of Television in India
The linear television industry in India has reached 197 million TV and cable satellite homes. There is about 10-15 million more to go and it is now scraping the bottom of the barrel. As every content platform and every technology creates a content habit, TV was the classic talking to the consumer technology and it told you to watch your favourite shows at specific time slots so you had to reorder your life accordingly. On contrarian grounds, streaming platforms made content available to you whenever you want it, and that has been one big change in consumer habits. Also the way TV is going, I think it is going to play out. It is ad and subscriber dependent and it reached its scale. This is a decade where we will be able to see a gradual transitioning out of typical linear television to streaming platforms and then moving on to even more dramatic technological advancements.
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People watch programmes not channels, and in a way how people watch movies and go to theatres because of the ambience, similarly now with platforms or with any form of content, people are more drawn to individual experiences and a collection of that content makes a platform. So there are things that can stand out, so that piece of content could succeed but for that platform to succeed the offering is much larger and deeper as eventually they depend on a subscription model or they want their customers to come back again and again. I think that while people watch shows and individual content, so for platforms to succeed they need lots of those.
With a spike in the consumption of entertainment content streaming online during the lockdown, the OTT platforms are likely to come out of pandemic and work from home situations at a better pace.
The path to recovery is looking a bit hard for cinema halls, hence OTT platforms can treat out new offerings. Now, even the movies have taken the OTT route for their releases without having to wait for pan-India theatre re-openings.
Amidst this, regional content is gaining momentum and attracting more viewers on the OTT platforms. There is an upward graph in consumption of dubbed cinema from the South, particularly Telugu and Tamil films.
To cater to the giant demand for regional content from the audience, here are 5 regional OTT platforms that are becoming the preference for the audience for dubbed regional content in today’s world –
Dollywood Play – Dollywood Play is a dedicated OTT platform for Hindi dubbed content aims to bring the best of mass entertainment content (movies & series) across a wide range of genres like Action, Adventure, Thriller, Horror, Comedy, Love, Drama and 18+. Witnessing the wide success & acceptance of Hindi dubbed content for South Indian & Hollywood movies on digital & linear platforms for its audience. The platform deals in dubbed content in the form of full movies, Mini movies, video clips, Music videos, etc.
Aha – Aha is an Indian over-the-top streaming service owned by Arha Media & Broadcasting Private Limited, a joint venture by Geetha Arts and My Home Group which offers Telugu-language content. Launched officially in March 2020, service is loaded with films from pre OTT era from various production houses. Arjun Suravaram, Kaithi Telugu dubbed version and Choosi Choodangaane are the first set of the feature films acquired by the service as official streaming partner
Hoichoi – Hoichoi is the on-demand platform focuses on Bengali language films and entertainment content mainly, but also provides English subtitles to all movies. Currently, it features over 500 film titles, including more than 100 SVF produced films and about 400 other films. Apart from this, Hoichoi contains more than 1,000 Bengali songs for audio streaming globally. The platform is also introducing children's content, and has original films, web series and short films across many genres.
Olly Plus – Olly Plus was launched in 2020, By Sk Line Production Olly Plus is Odisha's new online Odia OTT platform where you can enjoy unlimited Odia Videos, Albums, Movies, Comedy Videos, Short Films, Audio Storys and Romantic videos on the go. Olly Plus has passionate plans to make the Cinema of Odisha touch a new height.
Sun Nxt – Sun NXT is an Indian video on demand service run by Sun TV Network. It was launched in June 2017 with content in four languages focusing the South Indian region. In February 2020, the platform's subscriber base grew to about 15 million users and started making profit. It is available free on Vodafone Play, Jio Cinema, Airtel Xstream.
In an industry-first move, social media analytics firm, Twitteet released its analytics report featuring 20 categories today.
The report features Twitter engagements of politicians, journalists, business leaders, sportspersons, movie stars, authors, chefs and comedians from October ‘20.
Expectedly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi topped the overall Indian Twitter engagement rankings with over 7.2 million engagements. In the intensively competitive Journalists category, News Nation’s Deepak Chaurasia topped Twitter engagement with a whopping 1.88 million engagements. In the Business Leaders category, Anand Mahindra towers over others with over 4 lakh engagements.
The IPL was the flavour of the season for cricketers, where expectedly India captain and expectant father Virat Kohli topped Twitter engagement with 2.4 million engagements. Among Indian sports persons, outside of cricket, Olympic medallist and pro-boxer Vijendra Singh tops with 4.27 lakh engagements. Sonu Sood’s humanitarian work during the pandemic saw huge resonance on Twitter where even at a Twitter following of a tenth of superstar Shah Rukh Khan (Sonu Sood’s 4.6 million followers to SRK’s 41.3 million followers) he topped Twitter engagement among Bollywood Stars with a phenomenal 2.4 million engagements.
In other categories, Comedians and Start-up founders made their mark. Among comedians, Kunal Kamra topped impressively with 1.1 million engagements. Cred Founder Kunal Shah led the Business Founders category with 60K engagements and Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma was next with 23K engagements.
Speaking at the launch of the Twitteet October Report, co-founder Sandeep Amar said, “Twitteet is one of the leading social business intelligence, social monitoring and actionable insights solutions firms catering to businesses and marketing leaders around the world. We run daily analysis of social media engagements and then mine actionable insights from them. At some level, a leader's Twitter engagement gives one sense of his/her connection with their target audience and the issues that matter to them. We hope to sharpen our insights over time and offer a wider range of targeted products across social platforms and geographies.”
Entries invited from content creators across 190 countries~
“A singular chance to showcase your work to audiences across the globe and attain fame instantly”
50 Shortlisted entries across genres and languages to be premiered on ZEE5
In line with its vision of bringing the best of entertainment content across languages to the fore for audiences across the globe and encouraging local talent across countries, ZEE5 Global, the largest OTT platform for South Asian content, today announced the launch of a Global OTT Content Festival. A first-of-its-kind across global OTT platforms at this geo-scale, the Content Festival will give independent filmmakers, students of cinema, and young content creators a global platform to showcase their talent on and find audiences in 190+ countries.
Through the Content Festival, ZEE5 Global is inviting entries for content created in any language across fiction and non-fiction TV shows, movies, documentaries, stories, short films, music videos and more. The duration for music videos or albums can be between 3 to 5 minutes, and audio-visual content comprising of episodic content, film, web-series etc. must have a minimum duration of 30 minutes.
The Content Festival is expected to attract the largest aggregation of entries across languages from multiple markets. Not only is the Festival a singular unique opportunity for content creators to attain global fame instantly, but it will also add vastly to the slate of language content already available on ZEE5.
Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global, said, “As a global platform, we’re often approached by people across markets for opportunities to showcase their content on ZEE5. We’re thrilled therefore to be announcing the ZEE5 Global Content Festival, a first of its kind initiative across global OTT platforms at this geo-scale, to give aspiring and budding content creators a chance for instant global recognition. An initiative like this will not only bring to the fore hidden gems from different countries but also add vastly to our already rich content library, and I eagerly look forward to watching the shortlisted entries.”
It is a well-understood dynamic that younger consumers are more frequently earlier adopters of new products and services. The subscription online video world is certainly no exception, and the most rapid uptake of the category of products including Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+, has—to date—been among the 18-24 and 25-34 year old age brackets.
In the UK and US, the typical 18-24 year old now believes they spend an average of over 1 hour 40 minutes each day watching videos via subscription video-on-demand services. And the 25-34 year old group shows similar behaviour. By contrast, the older age brackets consume much less content via video-on-demand. 55-64 year olds in the USA believe they spend roughly 40 minutes each day watching subscription online video, while their UK counterparts spend just 20 minutes.
Given the extensive period of time over which online video products have been available in each market, one might conclude that older consumers will remain loyal broadcast viewers (and subscription online video products will stay a minority contributor to their viewing patterns) for some time. However, the pace of change of viewing behaviours has been rapid over the last year. The average UK and US 55-64 year old's subscription OTT viewing increased by over 50% between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020.
Perhaps most importantly, the data indicates that each age group now lags the next by just one year. The average 55-64 year old's daily subscription video-on-demand viewing now matches that of the average 45-54 year old's viewing in the prior year—roughly 20 minutes in the UK and 40 minutes in the USA. Similarly, the average 45-54 year old is currently watching the same volume of subscription video-on-demand as their 35-44 year-old counterparts watched on a typical day in Q3 2019.
At face value, this trend would imply that by 2025, 55-64 year olds will be watching as much subscription video-on-demand as 18-24 year olds do now. But to assume this would likely be premature. 2020 has been a unique year, and demand for entertainment content during lockdown has temporarily accelerated some of the underlying sectoral and behavioural changes. Nonetheless, the speed of the viewing shifts which have occurred during the last 12 months indicates that under the right conditions and with the right incentives, video consumption behaviours can change very rapidly indeed.