Aishwarya Ramesh
Points of View

With Jio TV+ acting as an OTT aggregator, what happens to individual platforms?

Single point sign in, access to multiple platforms, and TV programming are some of the advantages of Jio TV+. What do the platforms get in the deal?

In India, Reliance, with its Jio offering, has helped bring Internet connectivity to different parts of the country. The Financial Express reported that Reliance Jio has connected approximately one million homes with Jio Fiber services as of March 2020. Yesterday, at Reliance’s annual general meeting (AGM), Akash Ambani announced an extension of its Jiofiber offering – Jio TV+.

A glimpse of the Jio TV+ interface
A glimpse of the Jio TV+ interface

Jio TV+ offers access to video on demand (VOD) platforms with the purchase of Jio Fiber plans. Jio Fiber’s Gold (Rs 1,299), Diamond (Rs 2,499), Platinum (Rs 3,999), and Titanium (Rs 8,499) plans offer access to 12 OTT apps. These include Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, Voot, Sony LIV, Zee5, Lionsgate Play, JioCinema, Shemaroo, JioSaavn, YouTube, and Eros Now.

Jio TV+ also features single sign-in for its users, eliminating the need to remember user IDs and passwords for individual accounts. The platform also attempts to simplify the search process by offering its users the option of searching for content based on the actor who stars in it, along with voice search features too.

In the past, TV viewing has been largely broadcast dependent. Jio TV+ integrates TV programming into its fold. There’s also an element of interactivity – users can vote for polls that make a difference to programming on live television.

An example of a news show using interactive polls
An example of a news show using interactive polls

What does Jio TV+ do differently? How can users benefit from the unified, aggregated content destination? And will Jio help or hurt the subscription hungry OTT platforms it aggregates? We spoke to industry experts to find out.

Ashish Pherwani, EY India Media & Entertainment Leader

According to our research, many top-end customers of OTT platforms subscribe to more than one platform. I feel that this move will help increase OTT viewership and subscriber base in India.

Ashish Pherwani
Ashish Pherwani

A well-designed unified interface can significantly improve user experience and is very good from a content discovery, recommendation quality and ease of operation point of view.

Value creation comes from content production, aggregation and distribution. Bundling of content with data and services increases value of a platform. It builds an ecosystem where customers stay engaged across multiple offerings.

Uday Sodhi, founding partner, Kurate Digital Consulting (former business head, SonyLIV)

It’s not really an aggregator as such, it’s only simplifying the payment process. Fundamentally, it’s a fibre service. If a fibre service is coming to your house, and Jio TV+ is also there as a service, then you get a subscription to each of the platforms. But you have to open each of the apps individually, so it’s organic. It’s just that they’ve been bundled together as one payment option.

Uday Sodhi
Uday Sodhi

If you take a Jio TV+ connection, you’ll get the OTT apps along with it. It’ll open up the subscription and make the user pool for the industry, much bigger. It’s not a competition here. It’s not one versus the other. It’s one facilitating the other.

Jio is not running its own OTT service. It’s making the apps available on the platform, visiting the Jio Fiber site, shows you the apps you can gain access to for each plan. Instead of going to buy subscriptions to each one of those services independently, you get it as part of the Jio TV+ service.

The fibre service provider will enable the SVOD platforms to reach more viewers. Jio Fiber is not necessarily going to reach every home, but they’re helping the SVOD services reach more users, in that sense.

Today, if a platform like Hotstar has X million users, they got these users without Jio TV+ in the market. When Jio TV+ comes in, they’ll only get more viewers. From that perspective, it’s a great move to expand the number of broadband viewers in the country, and will be great for the OTT apps too.

It’ll be bundled with Jio Fiber plans. Each plan could grant access to a set of platforms. It’ll be similar to Tata Sky services that let you have access to a set of channels for a certain plan.

It’s a great inflection point for OTT in terms of Internet fibre connectivity. There was an era of pre-Jio business too. In this phase, people used to look at how many subscribers they have. But now, we have an inflection because of the arrival of smartphones and 4G connections on smartphones.

This move by Jio might usher in the next big wave of content consumption. Given that it’s bringing in so many platforms into one service, it’s very unlike TV. While watching TV, you can only browse for fixed programming because TV specialises in ‘appointment viewing’. VOD platforms rely on their content bank – and amidst it, they need to provide for good search tools to make this content discoverable.

They’re doing a good thing by bringing search into this, as there will be around 70,000-80,000 movies available from all the platforms. How else do you search for what’s available on which platform?

With this offering, they solve 3-4 pain points that users face on OTT platforms, namely – search, ease of payment, remembering multiple accounts and passwords, and a one click login facility across platforms.

Partho Dasgupta, consultant, (former CEO, BARC India)

The world is moving towards disintermediation with direct access to consumers. Most apps are directly available. Hence, what remains to be seen is whether Jio TV+ makes access more convenient than, say, from a discovery, or price point of view. The details are yet not there, but it will also be interesting to see how these are priced.

Partho Dasgupta
Partho Dasgupta

The regulator tries to control live TV prices. But in this case, all these apps have live TV too and, hence, whether Jio TV+ will affect cable and DTH ecosystem further, remains to be seen. For the homes connected by Jio TV Fiber broadband, there will definitely be a shift in dynamics because of increased access to Internet now.

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