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State of OTT (Over the top television) in India

State of OTT (Over the top television) in India

OTT or Over the Top Services has taken the broadcasting industry by storm and given a new dimension to watching content. There is a plethora of video content reaching consumers directly via internet bypassing traditional controllers or distributors.  In US, 57% of Wi-Fi households have OTT devices, Smartphones, most definitely the front runner of them all.1 Based on a recent study done in US measuring 12,500 homes and 150,000 devices, showed that four major OTT streaming services, namely Netflix (40%), YouTube (18%), Hulu (14%) and Amazon Prime Video (7%) account for 80% of viewing time rolling out programs from all across the globe.

OTT in India

OTT Services have climbed the popularity ladder rather quickly and has definitely come in a big way in India giving watchers a whole new experience. With the onset of ‘Digital’ becoming a national phenomenon across the length and breadth of the country, audio-visual content available on OTT platforms has gone viral. With more than 30 OTT providers and approximately 90 million active viewers, the temperature is only expected to rise in the coming times.

The launch of Star India’s Hotstar in 2015 proved to be a turning point in India’s OTT scenario. They were one of the first to have successfully blended world class technology with great content resulting in high viewership. And thereafter, many national and international players like Netflix, Voot, Amazon Prime Video, Viu, etc. followed, leveraging the ever growing popularity in this part of Asian Continent.

Furthermore, hi-speed 4G internet and free data packs with increased bandwidth being offered gave more power to consumers to view on the go. It upped the game forcing providers to aim for cutting edge content and seamless, high definition viewing experience.

Factors affecting OTT market in India

Multiple Players

The OTT market is segregated between original content creators, content aggregators and digital platforms owned by already established Television Broadcasters. For Voot from Viacom 18, where it is fiction and reality shows of TV on one side, they are going equally strong with tailor-made digital series as well. Also, Voot Kids and regional language content are equally big ROI churners. Foreign players like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are banking high on investments made in acquiring videos and movies from across the globe. According to reports, Netflix has earmarked a whooping amount of $300 million to be invested in India in the coming times.

Cultural Structure

India’s social and cultural structure is an added advantage in this OTT content driven game. Being a multilingual market, it fuels up the demand for variety and compelling content. SUN TV Network has already launched its OTT platform, Sun NXT to facilitate viewers with portable content. But the early bird has been Viu which partnered with Annapurna Studios for Telugu originals Pilla and Pelli Gola with a surprise viewership of approximately 40% of regional language content. Foreign players are also not left behind. Amazon Prime Video are building a strong base of regional content through various licensing deals. Hooq, a joint venture of SingTel, Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros. strategizes to offer Hollywood movies and famous US TV shows dubbed in regional languages. Increased investments pouring in non-Hindi market is expected to encompass close to 30% of total viewership in the years to come. As Indian language internet consumers surpass English content consumers, language-driven content will play a very important role in OTT players’ growth.

Demography & Infrastructure

With India’s urban market saturating slowly, the need to reach out to a wider audience is obvious to keep the business moving. Government’s initiative to connect the country digitally is just the right thing for OTT owners. Rural sector comprises a major part of India’s population and business experts have a major eye on them. Roll-out of 4G services, better infrastructure have aided in adding more viewership. According to statistics, internet use in rural areas which was 33% of the total internet population in 2013 is fast growing and is expected to reach approximately 55% by 2025 covering a major chunk of viewership. Smartphone users are expected to grow to 520 million by the end of 2020 which clearly means that individual content watching is going to outgrow the rest of the mediums.2

Pitfalls Faced by Platform Owners

  • Internet speed and its quality is the make and break point of OTT market. India, especially, will have to divert a lot of attention and finances to build up better digital infrastructure if it wants to break even in the global market.
  • New players will have to shell out more money to keep the business going. Entry costs are going to inflate. Also they have to keep the budget levels high for acquisitions in absence of library content which old players possess.
  • Technology is going to demand regular high investments in order to match up audience exposure and expectations. Today’s viewers expect seamless, high definition experience irrespective of the medium.
  • Content is the backbone of OTT world and originality and compelling and engrossing content would be the final winner. Repetitive or slackly produced content would be a strict no.
  • Irrelevant advertisements and micro second patience of viewers makes it a major problem where almost 60% revenue of the platform owners is lost in the hands of ad-blockers. Ad-tech company Amagi Media Labs is set to launch its Thunderstorm OTT Ad Insertion service in India, which is already working well in US and UK markets. It inserts ads seamlessly within the content stream and make ad-blockers ineffective. On the individual front, this nuisance can be controlled if advertisers start creating relevant and seamless ads which add some value to the consumers.

Future of OTT

Globally, OTT business is expected to grow from US$36.7 Bn in 2015 to US$158.4 Bn by 2025. 3

A major boom is foreseen in India bringing it closer to US which has always been the top contenders in content driven entertainment market.  Video accounts for India’s 51% data traffic which is set to rise to 75% by 2020. In terms of revenue, the Video-on-demand (VOD) market is anticipated to reach USD 168 million in 2021 from USD 64 million in 2017.4

Going by trends, it’s an exciting and an interesting phase in India, it being the second largest market for smartphones and having the biggest entertainment industry offering an entire ocean of content. But seeing how fickle minded Indian audience is, the onus would be completely on content, how original and diversified it can get. Infrastructure and high quality internet facility would also play a major role in it. Emphasis would be more on interruption free viewing at a lucrative price. It would be interesting to see how these entertainment carriers behave and strategies to be able to capture ever so changing consumer recall value and reach the winning end. 5

Social Platforms – Changing the News Broadcast Industry

Social Platforms – Changing the News Broadcast Industry

With rapidly evolving content consumption pattern and hasty rise in online video viewing, traditional television viewing has suffered a setback. The very format of content delivery in nano-seconds has completely shaken up the existing ways of content delivery for news broadcasters.

According to the Digital News Report 2017 by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, almost 33% of millennial users (aged 18-24) consider social media to be their primary source of news and information. It’s said that the current situation of legacy broadcasters is quite similar to that faced by newspapers in the early 2000s. Gone are the days when families sat together for evening bulletins, now it’s time for news anytime, anywhere with around 46% of people consuming news in bed on their smartphones itself. 1

Rise and Live on Social

The rise of platforms have opened newer avenues of reaching wider and demographically diverse audience. Audiences have moved to digital representations of news with mediums such as Snapchat, Periscope, Instagram and Facebook Live becoming regular tools of what was once a single source of information dissemination platform. Besides, there’s also a significant rise in news consumption from messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat, FB Messenger, Vibe, etc.

Facebook dominates its reach with wider acceptability as a social network for news with 47% of people logging in for their daily updates. Taking cue from this favourability broadcasters have evolved their content delivery for digital platforms. Live events, particularly sports and election results are now being reported using Facebook live and Periscope along with traditional broadcasts.

The Associated Press (AP) works in partnership with Livestream.com to bring major news events live to customers, which is formatted for TV, mobile, or online. Similarly, while experimenting early on with the format, National Public Radio (NPR), USA decided to go “all out” with Facebook Live. It created a Facebook page entirely for live video with dedicated journalists to ideate and produce content so they can broadcast as the news breaks and deliver stories in a new format. 2

Finding New Audiences among Distributed Platforms

While the multi-platform world also puts forth a challenge of what new content will be engaging for the audiences and how to bring more audiences. As per findings of the Reuters Institute, Digital News Report majority of access to websites and apps is now via side-door routes (65%) rather than direct (32%) such as search, social media, email, mobile alerts and aggregators. 3

While there’s also around 29% of people who completely avoid the news as it is said to have a negative impact on their mood. To reach new and younger audiences, broadcasters such as Australian Broadcasting Corporation, are investing in news apps and partnering with news aggregators (Flipboard, SmartNews, Apple News, Google News, Snapchat Discover, Kakao Channel, and Line News) pushing notifications directly to user’s mobile screen.

For Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the country’s public broadcaster, Apple News has added up to more than 1.1 million subscribers who’ve enabled push alerts since September 2016. ABC’s audience on Apple News is younger and more female than its readers on other digital platforms, and 75% of the people it reaches there are new to the brand. 4

Citizen Journalists & Combating Fake News

The need to produce more content and be in active mode always has made broadcasters reliant to content offered by the public or ‘citizen journalists’ to some extent. User generated content on social platforms such as viewer reviews, polls, video stories of local happenings is driving audience engagement that becomes a backbone of content programming.

User submitted information has done wonders especially in times of crisis such as Arab Uprising or reportage about current conflict in Aleppo. Citizens armed with smartphones record and bring the stories from conflicted areas to center stage, putting their safety at stake. 5

While this has also given rise to the concept of fake news, around the world only 24% believe social media does a good job separating fact from fiction. Alone Facebook had 23 out 50 hoaxed news around US election in 2016 and it contributed to  10.6 million shares, reactions and comments 6. This incidence highlighted the power of social media platform and the viral algorithms that are encouraging low quality and ‘fake news’ to spread quickly. It is thus important to monitor the kind of news that is disseminated through social platforms to avoid any negative impact on society.

The Way Ahead

The best way to move ahead for broadcasters is by utilizing the data to understand viewer behavior and drawing analogies for the dissemination of relevant content. Fighting the algorithmic delivery of news, Broadcasters are also looking to break the echo chambers. This would not only help in building upon new audience but also retaining the existing ones.

Both television news and social media will coexist and broadcasters need a strategy to focus on both. The major impact, however, has been on print media where the time to report is much higher and they have to catch than wait for news to break in the morning.

Hot 100- System Integrators, MediaGuru

Hot 100- System Integrators, MediaGuru

We are pleased to share that MediaGuru got featured in Digital Studio Hot 100 Power list for the second time.The list was presented by leading broadcast media technology publication, Digital Studio under the aegis of ITP Publishing Group.

Sushil Khanna, Global COO, MediaGuru has been featured among most influential leaders in broadcast and media industry in the region. The nomination was analyzed by industry experts, followed by a detailed survey to select best in each category. The results were declared in July edition of Digital Studio magazine. Click here http://bit.ly/2vbHskt to know about the winners across categories such as film directors, cinematographers, film editors, broadcasters, technocrats, etc.

Blockchain And Its Impact On Media Industry

Blockchain And Its Impact On Media Industry

As we move towards digitalization, the world of media has also changed significantly. Different roles have been established along the media value chain. For example, artists and authors have become the primary creators of content, while platform providers and aggregators of content are donning the hats of royalty collecting body.

Blockchain technology can disrupt the industry structure further by bypassing content aggregators, platform providers, and royalty collection associations, thereby shifting the market power to copyright owners.

Derived from the Bitcoin, blockchain is ‘a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, secured from tampering and revision. Sealed in the chain, blocks can no longer be changed -preventing further deletion, edition, or replication, thus making it true digital assets.

This technology has the potential to resolve some of the current challenges prevalent in broadcast and media industry with ease. Listed below are some ways in which blockchain can benefit media.

Boost Revenue

Blockchain technology can generate revenues for fragmented content like news, blogs, and photos with micropayment-based pricing models. With targeted media usage that can be directly linked to respective content, budget allocation for advertising and marketing also becomes more targeted.

Centralized Payment

While the technology is still in its nascent stage, revenue distribution can be automated based on predefined smart contracts, thereby making payment transactions cheap and centralized. This can potentially reset pricing, advertising, revenue sharing, and royalty payment processes.

Protecting IP Rights

While digitization has altered content production and distribution, protecting the intellectual property of the content remains a major concern of the industry. Though several brands are charging to access digital content, consumers are looking for similar content elsewhere for free. Blockchain technology connects these brands directly to consumers who compensate them accordingly (and securely) for access to digital content

Ensure Authenticity

Blockchain records the history of every transaction. Therefore, it can be used as a potential application to ensure authenticity and transparency. Social media influencers, authors, videographers, and photographers can use blockchains for provenance and attribution.

OTT: The Way Ahead

OTT: The Way Ahead

Over-the-top content (OTT) service providers like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon are showing massive uptake by consumers who want to view content as per their choice of time and platform. According to Juniper Research titled Mobile & Online TV & Video: OTT, IPTV & Connected Markets 2015-2019[1], OTT subscription is forecasted to generate $31.6 billion in revenue by 2019.

As traditional broadcasters face increased competition from OTT service providers, let us take a look at the future of OTT.

New providers in the market

While countries like the United States have already adopted OTT and are on the verge of saturation, developing countries with high mobile penetration and adoption rates of pay-TV and broadband are witnessing increasing popularity of OTT services. A  Digital TV Europe Research[2] estimates that developing countries like Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa will see greater growth in revenues and that of Latin America will nearly triple from 2015.

Driven by rising mobile data usage, mobile is becoming an important medium to deliver OTT service in East European countries, Middle East & Africa. Pay-TV providers, mobile operators, broadcasters and media companies are expanding their OTT services in these regions either by launching their OTT services or partnering with regional OTT players. For example, UAE-based mobile operator Etlisat has introduced eLife ON, Saudi Arabian Mobily has mView, Times Media Group has an OTT service called VIDI in South Africa, and Pay-TV operator OSN has launched GO across MENA.

SVOD is catching up

Viewers are increasingly opting for OTT services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Video, which gives them the freedom to choose the content they want to consume across different platforms. Millennials are adopting subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services faster than their older counterparts. A report from BI Intelligence highlights younger viewers watch four times as much video content online than aged viewers. The popularity of SVOD services like YouTube, Sling TV, and PlayStation Vue further underlines this fact.

For SVOD services, usability is the key. Companies need to innovate to leverage OTT and SVOD services to reach out to more viewers. For example, YouTube has launched offline viewing for consumers to download videos and watch it at their convenience – even when there is no mobile connectivity.

With the first screen of the millennials being the mobile screen, digitization provides a huge opportunity for SVOD providers to grow their business. Content creators and marketers can reap the benefits from SVOD adoption. Content creators can profit from the surge in the short-form video, while marketers can capitalize on advanced product placements.

More connected TVs

Thanks to connected TVs, which include streaming devices like Apple TV, gaming consoles, Web-enabled TV sets, and TVs connected to the Internet by laptops in the group, monetization is also growing. According to FreeWheel, an ad-serving company whose clients include major video providers such as AOL, Crackle, Fox, NBCUniversal, Viacom, and Vevo, more than one-third of monetization was led by OTT devices. An eMarketer report[3] estimates that by 2018, 191.4 million or 58.2 percent of the U.S. population will use a connected TV device to access the Internet.

Changing fundamentals of content creation

OTT has unlocked transformational changes in how the content is created and consumed. The availability of unlimited content space has given more freedom to experiment and has provided audiences for all kinds of content. Although most are amateurs, some are earning millions of dollars, while contributing to the depth and breadth of content available to consumers.

Further, the increase of mobile and streaming access has enhanced consumers’ ability to choose what they watch and where and when they watch it. With the rise in mobile use, the demand for short-form, high-quality content, also called ‘snackable content’ has also witnessed a massive growth. Consumers are turning to live, user-generated video and “citizen journalists” for news related to developing events or stories. For example, The Young Turks, which offers short-form news videos on relevant topics around the world every day has become a key news destination for millennials.

The launch of Facebook Live in April 2016, which makes it easier “to create, share, and discover live videos” further highlights the changing fundamentals of content creation. Content creators are also focusing on introducing contextual parameters for content discovery. Factors like mood and current affairs are being taken into account apart from their viewing preference while making a content recommendation to the viewers.

To ensure successful adoption of OTT, service providers must address three critical challenges – aggregation, subscription churn, and transparency. As consumers look to fulfill the 3Ws – watch what they want, when they want to, and where they want – OTT providers not only need to manage content but also create new content and recreate legacy content to retain subscribers. Proper archiving, digitization and tagging of content will help in aggregation while generating content across various formats will provide shared experience across devices and help in customer retention.

[1] https://www.juniperresearch.com/press/press-releases/ott-tv-market-to-increase-fourfold-reaching-32bn

[2] https://www.digitaltvresearch.com/ugc/Global%20OTT%202016%20TOC_toc_149.pdf

[3] http://digiday.com/platforms/ott-video-going-5-charts/

Top 6 Threats for Television Broadcasters

Top 6 Threats for Television Broadcasters

Streaming services have been threatening to take a bite out of linear TV broadcast viewership for quite some time. However, it is only recently that television broadcasters have begun to feel the threat. According to a study conducted by Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson, Netflix’s US subscribers were up to six percent in 2015 from 4.4 percent in 2014.

As the future of television broadcast is threatened, we list six top challenges faced by broadcasters due to the rise of digital and streaming media.

1. The Rise of Alternative Media Channels

With the digital revolution gaining momentum, viewers now want to cherry pick their favorite channels, which is why streaming services over the internet are on an all-time rise. There has been a shift in the viewing habits, posing a threat to the decade-old model built around satellite and cable TV offering ‘bundled’ channels to consumers at a fixed price that offered little choice to viewers.

Now, viewers can access video channels like Amazon video, Netflix, Hulu; choose a subscription of individual channels like Showtime or HBO, or watch programs streamed on YouTube and other free online channels.

With the rise of alternative media channels, television broadcasters are facing a major threat in the form of what is popularly known as ‘cord cutting.’ According to a 2016 research by Leichtman Research Group , the cord-cutting trend began in 2013 when cable providers lost 100,000 subscribers. The figures went up to 150,000 in 2014 and 385,000 in 2015, thanks to on-demand platforms like Netflix that charge a fraction of what television broadcasters charge to stream programs.

2. Content and Network Security

Missed your favorite prime-time show? Login online to watch it anytime you want. Viewers now have the option to enjoy their favorite programs on any smart devices anytime they want. With the emergence of TV Everywhere, pay-tv operators are now offering TV Everywhere to provide value add and retain their subscribers.

However, TV Everywhere has its risks for broadcasters. As broadcasters use new media platforms to reach their millennial viewers, they are prone to security threats like hacking, malware, and cyber-attacks. Often, viewers also compromise their security by sharing devices, accounts and personal information to access the content, thereby giving easy access to hackers. Moreover, with the easy availability of network infrastructures, programs are being redistributed in real-time over the Internet illegally, resulting in loss of estimated billions of euros across the TV industry worldwide.

To address this challenge, broadcasters need proper infrastructure, security policies, and firewall protection to ensure hackers do not have access to the content. Moreover, old content needs to be digitized, archived and stored with proper tagging to ensure long term usage.

3. Changing Viewer Behavior and Preferences

As new digital platforms evolve, there is a distinct shift in consumer behavior and preferences. Users no longer consume what is being offered to them, but choose from a host of options available to them anywhere, anytime across multiple channels.

Traditional content providers are fighting hard to ride the digital wave and secure their place in the value chain by understanding customers’ interests and upselling the right products to cater to their preferences. TV broadcasters are facing a significant threat due to changing preference of the viewers and need to create and recycle content to cater to the changing behavior.

4. Content Protection and Piracy

In a world where news and videos go viral in minutes, content can travel across geographies fast. Thanks to the Internet, viewers now have the power to generate the content they like, share it with the world and gain instant popularity.

However, reliability and accuracy of such content remain a concern. Broadcasters might get into legal hassles like copyright issues or defamation if the authenticity of user-generated content is not verified. Similarly, illegal commercial distribution of content originally owned and produced by broadcasters may lead to revenue loss.

5. Mismanaged Content

Mismanaged content is a major challenge that broadcasters face today. While there is a lot of new content generated both by the user and broadcasters every minute, it might not be organized for future usage. Much of the content is not tagged correctly and do not have metadata, which makes it impossible for broadcasters to compartmentalize for reuse, often leading to content duplication.

With a huge amount of content already being created alongside legacy content, broadcast organizations need to organize and tag content to ensure easy search, access and distribution of existing content.

6. Lack of Quality Content

With modern technology and changing of viewers’ preference, there is a huge demand for content. However, to meet the growing need, quality of the content often takes a backseat.

To ensure quality, broadcasters need to utilize the content that is already in use. Recycling legacy content and going regional to cater to different geographies are some of the measures that content creators need to take apart from creating new content.

The television industry is gearing up to meet the digitization challenge. As viewers are spoiled for choice, the television ecology is becoming more democratic. Broadcasters are propagating online programs to catch the viewers’ attention and become accessible to new audience.

WHEN YOUR TOOTHBRUSH IS HACKED: IOT IN MEDIA

WHEN YOUR TOOTHBRUSH IS HACKED: IOT IN MEDIA

Have you ever imagine watching “The Avengers” hooked on to an automatic pulsating vibrating seat or watching Cookery Show while your room comes live with delectable aromas or your coffee getting brewed on its own right at the beginning of your favorite comedy show or when you are watching the much awaited football match you may see players’ stats superimposed on the screen. How will your little world transform if you get to use your Living room TV to start your oven or stop the sprinkler system outside or switch off the AC in your bedroom or simply check on your sleeping baby. How about friends residing in different parts of the world watching same TV program and sharing FB reviews or Twitter Account recording the blood alcohol level? Welcome to the world of “TV Everywhere.”- the hottest evolution of “Internet of Things.”

Internet, one of the most powerful creations in all human history, has evolved to its next stage-The Internet of Things or Internet of Objects. The term was coined by Kevin Ashton, founder of MIT’s Auto ID Centre in 1999. In the simplest terms, IoT is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on off switch to the internet. Range of devices may include cellphones, headphones, washing machines, television sets, coffee makers, lamps and almost anything you can think of. Sensors will be key driver in IoT expansion and among the most discussed applications for sensors are smart TV, smart cities, smart environment, water, metering, security and emergency services.

While nearly all types of media and entertainment businesses will benefit from the IoT, publishers and broadcasters are in the lead. The Smart TV seems to be the order of the day. They secure data from several devices and systems, structure detailed consumer profiles and use them to create and instantly deliver personalized content across multiple screens. This data is based on demographic location and behavioral pattern of consumer preference.

The IoT opportunities in the sector of Broadcasters, Cable Networks and Satellite Distributors are mammoth. Connected Broadcasting involves IoT in the truest sense. IoT impacts Broadcasting and Viewing in interesting ways. Your connected TV could automatically pause playback when it detects a doorbell or phone call. Your TV could also consider time of the day, brightness of the room or when did you enter the room. On getting back from vacation, let your TV provide you with absentee content like your favorite show heads-up. Let your home boast of “smart remote” which removes line-of-sight restrictions, open or close curtains and also emit signal on being misplaced. Crowd-sourced weather forecasts will soon be available on your TV screens.

Multiple System Operators (MSOs) are the conventional service providers in households. MSOs, ranging from cable to telco and satellite payTV providers with their existing devices like set-top boxes, remote controls and dongles already function in consumer premises and are now extending their reach over Wi-Fi as multi-service residential gateways. A residential gateway is an instrument that provides voice, video and internet services, but new devices fitted with radios are being created to support IoT protocols like ZWave and ZigBee. These new devices operate physical installation and maintenance on other devices at home reducing capital expenditure it takes to add services. Security of the home gateway is potential way for them to capitalize on their already considerable investment in security for set-top boxes. Samsung’s Smart Home can be perfect example. The company’s Smart TV box is acting as the main interface to connected devices. Privacy and security issues have already been considered by the brand when it made the customers cautious that conversations next to the TV might be recorded. The set-top box plays the heart of smart home.

CISCO IBSG forecasts there will be 50 billion devices connected by 2020 and this will redesign the way we live and work. IoT connections on its network in the media and entertainment vertical increased 120%. The average per-company global IoT spending by media and entertainment organizations was expected to increase nearly 54% over the next three years, to $72.6 million in 2018 from $47.2 million in 2015. According to data from Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the top three nations tethered to the IoT are Korea, Denmark and Switzerland. Siemens has said these smart things are starting to power a fourth Industrial Revolution after steam, electricity and wired computers.