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Going Deeper: 2021 is going to be a year of opportunities for OTT

YouTube's Satya Raghavan, ZEE5's Manish Kalra, Zubin Dubash of Shemaroo and Harguneet Singh from PubMatic shared their views on "OTT business trends 2021" while speaking at vdonxt asia week.

Last year saw a spurt in trials across platforms and the OTT universe expanded. What will 2021 bring for the segment? This was the topic for a panel discussion in the recently concluded vdonxt Asia week. Organised by afaqs!, the week-long virtual event had several issues discussed over the week through multiple sessions.

YouTube's Satya Raghavan, ZEE5's Manish Kalra, Zubin Dubash of Shemaroo and Harguneet Singh from PubMatic joined the panel to discuss the "OTT business trends". All the speakers echoed that 2020 happened to be a year of pleasant surprises for digital businesses.

"OTTs, other video platforms and digital ventures had a transformative year(2020)," asserted Satya Raghavan. He added, "In terms of trends, the big uber message is that 2021 is an opportunity."

Going Deeper: 2021 is going to be a year of opportunities for OTT

He explained, "The opportunity is to go deeper into India across town classes, getting into new consumer segments and then capitalise that viewership."

Manish Kalra of ZEE5 too reiterated. However, he is of the opinion that 2020 was all about quantity and all the platforms acquired in large numbers. 2021, in his view, would be the year where quality is a key part of every discussion.

He also said that with the government bringing in new regulations for the OTT, platforms like ZEE5 will now invest more in content that a family can sit together and enjoy.

"We see more and more users coming in from the deeper parts of the country. There will be growth in the vernacular content as Indian likes to consume content in their native language," opined Kalra.

According to Zubin Dubash of Shemaroo, till 2019, OTT business in India was in a phase where the platforms saw a lot of trials. "2020 was about people getting habituated to OTT as there was no other option since most of them were locked indoors. 2021, the way I look at it, is the year of addiction. It is also going to be the year when we get a lot of direct consumers," said Dubash.

He believes, at the end of the day, how a platform delights the customers in and outside the app will decide the fate of that platform in the OTT game.

When it comes to monetisation, digital advertising is still the biggest contributor. Harguneet Singh of Pubmatic opined that digital advertising as a phenomenon has come a long way in this country. Programmatic advertising, which was once viewed as easy access to inventory has changed dramatically. "Video played a big role in changing that," said Singh.

He asserted that while the FMCGs use video to reach out to their target group, the local advertisers also use digital advertising to promote their products and services. "What will matter the most is end-user experience," said Harguneet Singh. Adding that it plays a role in customer satisfaction as well as viewability of the advertisement.

The session was moderated by Anirban Roy Choudhury of afaqs!