Benita Chacko

Voot exploring entry into short-form video content space

Chanpreet Arora, SVP and business head, Voot AVoD, speaks about the new feature, Bigg Boss OTT Kannada, sporting properties and revenue growth.

Video streaming platform Voot is toying with the now popular short-video format. The Viacom18-owned OTT service will be the latest entrant in the highly-competitive snackible video space that is ruled by the likes of Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts and TikTok clones like MX TakaTak and Josh.

Chanpreet Arora
Chanpreet Arora

“We are looking to entertain viewers who don't necessarily come in with an intent of engaging in a full-blown web series and want to sample snackible content in under two minutes,” says Chanpreet Arora, SVP and business head, Voot AVoD.

The new tab on its app provides videos upto two-minutes long. This includes trending videos and even short clips from their longer-format videos. These shots from its popular shows like Naagin or Khatron Ke Khiladi have a ‘Watch’ option that takes the viewer to the original video. With this, these short-form videos help garner viewership for their original content. These videos can also be shared and commented on, just as one can do on social media platforms like Instagram.

The platform has not begun monetising this content yet. “The first objective is to reach users and the monetisation will come in soon,” adds Arora.

It is interesting to note that Netflix also brought out a similar feature called ‘Fast Laughs’ in March 2021. In 2020, Zee5 launched a short-video app called HiPi. The short-form video (SFV) market has exploded over the past two years and that explains why these OTT platforms, which largely focus on webseries and films, are jumping onto the short videos bandwagon.

As per an October 2021 Bain & Company report, titled ‘Online Videos in India—The Long and Short of It’, India’s online video user base has scaled to more than 350 million people, growing at 24% annually from 2018 to 2020. Over the past two years, the SFV user base has grown 3.5 times and the total time spent has increased 12 times. More than 200 million Indians watched SFVs at least once in 2020, with an active user spending up to 45 minutes a day on these platforms.

The report predicts that by 2025, three in four Internet users, or 600 million to 650 million Indians, will consume SFV, on average spending up to 55 to 60 minutes per day on these platforms. “Rapidly growing Internet access with cheap and ubiquitous data, easy-to-use platforms, and a high proportion of vernacular content will aid short video scale-up in India,” it states.

TikTok was the first scale SFV platform in India. However, after its ban in 2020, Indian short video platforms rose to the scene. The market is now occupied by a mix of global social media/video giants, like, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts, and specialist SFV apps like Moj, Josh, MX TakaTak, Roposo.

Bigg Boss Kannada OTT

After releasing 12 movies and two shows in the last quarter, the platform has strengthened its presence in the Kannada market with the first-ever OTT season of Bigg Boss Kannada. Launched on Saturday (August 6), it has roped in Vimal Elaichi as ‘co-presenting’ sponsor and Paytm as ‘special’ partner.

“After the success of Bigg Boss OTT, we've got a really positive response from not just the Karnataka market, but also national advertisers,” says Arora.

The platform aims to replicate the Hindi Bigg Boss OTT brand integrations at scale here. There were two major innovations- the 24/7 live streaming and the tasks.

“The live channel gave an opportunity to sponsors to integrate in the live stream. In addition to that, while the tasks have always been the focal point of integrations in the house, we are continuing to innovate and do integrations through digital interactivity on Voot,” adds Arora.

Revenue Growth

Voot has witnessed a 50% growth in its revenue since last year. In terms of its user base, it has seen double-digit growth. Arora attributes this growth to its digital innovations for the AVoD audiences.

It is consciously adapting the creatives and the interactivity for digital audiences. For example, Khatron Ke Khiladi is marketed differently to the digital and television audiences. The point of discovery for the digital audience is different from that of the TV audience. Meanwhile, for the TV audiences, it is consciously linking and making the experience seamless from TV to digital.

Sharing some numbers, Arora says, its action reality show Khatron Ke Khiladi has seen a 69% growth in views and the watch time of its first 10 episodes is more than the watch time of the entire last season.

Sporting properties

In May, Voot, the official broadcast partner of Badminton World Federation (BWF), streamed the Thomas Cup finals between India and Indonesia for free. It was India’s maiden win at the tournament, defeating 14-time champion Indonesia.

“Sporting events drives user engagement. And sometimes it's regional. For example, for soccer we see far more viewer engagement in regions like Kerala, Northeast India, Goa and West Bengal,” she adds.

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