Regional OTT Players Substantively Grow Despite Bigwigs Amazon Prime and Netflix | Tech Trick Zone

Friday 23 March 2018

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Regional OTT Players Substantively Grow Despite Bigwigs Amazon Prime and Netflix

With new urban inclined content, regional online video content providers are pitching their stakes high in a market of big league investors. Where bigwigs like Amazon, Netflix are investing millions in generating the new age content for Gen-Y and marketing it globally, the small scale home-grown companies like ALTBalaji, Hoichoi, SVF Backed are creating a niche for themselves with their appealing content that targets youth ranging from 18-40 year olds.

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Moving on, the similar lines are channel based apps like Voot, Hotstar, SonyLiv, Zee5 which curate the television and movie content from regional, national and global most watched ones. These companies have been successful in garnering and retaining the millennial audience by creating fresh content that can be watched over internet on go.

“The next 100 million users that Netflix plans to acquire from India, are inclined towards Hindi or other regional languages which is a boon for us. We have already seen a huge growth in the last one year and am confident the next one year will see even larger growth,” said Manav Sethi, CMO of ALTBalaji adding that the company is broadcasting in 90 countries which generates the revenues for driving the business majorly.

Explaining this, Sethi says, “In India, while it costs Rs 100 a month, we are charging $4.99 monthly outside. So with Tamil content, the traffic shoots up from Sri Lanka, Middle East, and Singapore while Hindi brings traction from UK, Canada, US.” With a small team ALTBalaji is creating Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi content along with stand-up comedy, youth TV series, episodic series for catering to the current trends and interests. The production house is targeting a million subscribers in a short span of few days.

Another regional player, Hoichoi is making a mark in the eastern region with its Bengali content. It was launched in September last year and has launched 15 original series so far and plan to keep adding two new shows every month. The company also plans to increase the width of content type and audience by adding more options like music streaming.With meagre charges for minimum one year subscription one can find great screenplays in Bangla and movie buffs can also soothe their hunger for diverse options.“At the moment we will be focusing on Bengali content but going forward we will be looking into expanding and include other regional languages as well,” says Vishnu Mohta, Co-Founder, Hoichoi. He added that the company is going quite strong currently with almost no competition in regional areas and they’re striving to make it bigger and better with time.

Taking a look at the economic feasibility of the shows being produced, they can cost the production house anything between 5 lakhs to 1 crore depending on the cast, set design, location and production requirements. But, on the consumer end these cost much lesser than the usual option like Netflix. Almost all of the 25 video streaming platforms are charging a subscriber Rs 300-400 yearly while the likes of Netflix start at Rs 500 a month.

The change in the content and platform is attributed to firstly, the increase in the average internet speed from 3 Mbps to 5.8 Mbps and increase in the 4G user base over a period of 18 months has brought a behavioural shift towards the new age content which now drives the decision making for all aspects of production be it, casting, platform or duration.

“It’s a deep pocketed game and investors are still not confident about the market with big names already being present. But, in the long run, video content is bound to take over as TV growth rate is slowing down and mass programming content is not in demand anymore.” says the Sameer Pitalwalla, CEO and co-founder of Mumbai based digital media company Culture Machine which runs Put Chutney, a Tamil web channel. Sameer thinks that the market is still nascent and it’s the right time for them to launch content in other vernacular languages too.

Parallely, a new concept of content aggregators has started picking up in which companies like New Delhi based GoldSeat partners with intercity bus operators, travel agencies, car rentals, cab services and airways to showcase their content on modes of transport. “We play in the arena where there is no connectivity when you travel. For instance, when you are travelling to Ludhiana or Manali, you experience about only 20% connectivity. With our LAN connection, we stream media on your phone making it a personal seamless experience.” GoldSeat has so far partnered with Reliance and Phantom while popular channels like ALTBalaji has major shares in partnerships with telecom bigwigs Vodafone and Jio. “Partnerships will help us reach out to the next 80 smaller cities,” says Sethi.


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