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Indians don’t mind watching some ads if subscription fee is less

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MUMBAI: Over the top (OTT) players have a lot to rejoice in India. A survey conducted by YouGuv and Brightcove has found that non-subscribers of OTT in the country show a higher consideration of opting for it here as compared to other APAC markets.

Despite a small sample size, the survey found that 40 per cent of India’s internet users watch OTT – both SVOD and AVOD. An interesting tidbit that was thrown up was that the mere access to mobile and content was enough to drive OTT adoption in India while other markets require promotion and trials.

Users are attracted to particular shows or movies and the availability to choose from international titles. The hunger for the latter is a key consideration for even non-users.

The common myth that Indians are not ready to pay for content is not entirely true. To see lesser advertisements, 27.1 per cent of respondents are willing to pay a higher subscription fee. 18.5 per cent of them prefer to pay a higher subscription to enjoy seamless experience without any advertisements. It indicates that the inclination towards good viewing experience is increasing in India. However, amidst the positive scenario, free streaming services as well as existing paid TV subscriptions are barriers to OTT adoption.

Niche content also plays an important role to attract subscribers for paid services. Speaking at an OTT summit, Brightcove Asia media head Greg Armshaw talked about FishFlicks, a client of Brightcove that offers recreational fishers, hunters, and 4x4 enthusiasts, access to more than 1,300 videos to meet subscribers viewing appetites. Niche content for relevant audiences is the trend rather than mass production. Opting for a hybrid model is also more monetising.

“Brands last longer than messages, campaigns and identities. They build loyalty. People are falling in love or at least making an association with what you stand for and who you are versus what business you are in,” Syntropic Systems partner Alap Ghosh commented on the importance of brand building. As brand determines acceptability, despite having great content, some platforms have poor reach. He also mentioned the importance of ambient content and the demand for family-friendly content on OTT platforms. While technology is important, brands also need to know how much they want to engineer.

Indian OTT players need to realise that while fresh content is surely needed, the appetite for movies, TV shows and international content will never be famished in India. These genres will be the ones to pull free users into subscription mode.

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