Selective, snackable, short episodes, niche mktg vital, says Manav Sethi as ALTBalaji ranks among top OTTs


MUMBAI: The consumer who is on the move doesn't consume long-form content. Snackable content is crucial. Every show is split into 10-12 episodes ranging between 20-30 minutes. Ninety per cent of the marketing spends is on digital. These are some of the critical insights Indiantelevision.com gleaned from an expert at ALTBalaji, which has ranked third among 34-odd India-based revenue-grossing video streaming apps, within six months of its existence.

Online video (OTT) platform for original and exclusive shows ALTBalaji has been ranked amongst the Top 3 as per ‘State of  Video Streaming Apps in India’ report compiled by App Annie Intelligence -- the ranking is a combination of iOS App Store and Google Play Store for H1 2017 period.

The report focuses on the state of video streaming apps in Asia-Pacific region including emerging markets such as India, China and Thailand, among other. Since its launch in April, ALTBalaji has had more than 10 million mobile downloads with more than 1M+ web viewers. The ad-free, subscription-based platform is available in over 80+ countries, catering to the need of Indians and Indian diaspora spread across the globe. It is offering content in various Indian regional languages -- Bengali, Tamil, Punjabi and Gujarati, etc.

About the traction ALTBalaji gets, CMO Manav Sethi opened up with his geographical analysis: "Our Tamil show 'Maya Thirrai' not only garnered the southern audience but also has gathered traction from countries such as Singapore and the middle east because of the largest Tamil-speaking diaspora there."

He added: "Within 24 hours of announcement and trailer upload of our Bengali show 'Dhimander Dinkaal,' we observed spike from Dhaka (Bangladesh). From the regional standpoint, we are glued to the areas where internet bandwidth is available and the language-speaking diaspora has the acceptability of new-age content. This also helps in picking particular language and genre."

The video streaming app currently offers 10 active shows of various genres such as romance, mystery, drama, and comedy. ALTBalaji will soon launch more shows on the app.

Sethi said, "In the last six months, we had 10 original shows which nobody including Amazon and Netflix had been able to launch in India. We are working on 50+ concept which are at various stages in our release pipeline. And, when a show goes live, it never goes on TV. By the exit of March 2018, we are committed to have 200-250 hours of original show content."

Sethi said, "Our content clarity and customer acquisition strategy worked for us to grow in such short time. We have never made content for the small universe, we have always endeavoured to create it for bigger universe. The shows that ALTBalaji put on the app are mainly in Hindi and other Indian languages. If we look at the top-rated GECs, news channels and circulated trends, English is a very miniscule component of consumption." He further added with an example of YouTube that "YouTube claims to have 200 million unique monthly users consumption, wherein the part of English consumption is just 12 per cent."

One of the major reasons behind the growth of ALTBalaji is Ekta Kapoor, said Sethi, adding, "Ekta's strength in identifying the stories and the narratives which have never been told in the past, and TV as a medium can't handle it, holds a big part of our growth strategy. We did 'Romil and Jugal' where two boys fall in love with each other, 'Dev DD' where we have showcased a female as Devdas then 'The Test Case' with Nimrat Kaur which was about women in combat role, are some examples of stories never heard and told."

An interesting subject to know is whether ALTBalaji would now redesign their content strategy structure. Commenting on the strategy, Sethi said, "Our content strategy will remain the same. We will be creating more content in Hindi and in Indian languages. We have launched the Tamil and Bengali shows, and currently we are doing an epic show 'Bose: Dead or Alive' starring Rajkumar Rao which is releasing soon.

Sethi added: "We are working on a new show 'Mangalyaan' which will revolve around three women, and will talk about various aspects of the Mars Orbiter Mission at ISRO. We have announced a Gujarati and Punjabi show each as well. We have already released an original comedy series 'Pammi Aunty' with Ssumier S Pasricha. From today (4 October), people will see stand-up comedy in four languages including Marathi and Tamil."

According to Sethi, the consumer was always on a move and did not consume long-form content on mobiles. "So, from a marketing standpoint, we have created snackable content which is easily downloadable across thin bandwidth," he said. He further describes that their every show was split into 10-12 episodes which ranges between 20-30 minutes each.

About the growth, Sethi said, "We were cautious in our advertising and marketing spends. Ninety per cent of our spends is focused on digital. Also, when we launched ALT as an OTT platform in April 2017, we did four weeks' campaign on TV, which resulted in creating the awareness and launching it as a brand. But, since then, we are largely focusing on digital."

Also Read:

Rajeev & Surveen's digital debut on ALTBalaji's Haq Se

ALT Balaji announces Dhimaner Dinkaal – its  first Bengali original

ALTBalaji is essentially everything that Balaji on TV is not: Sameer Nair

ALTBalaji welcomes Pammi Aunty & family

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