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How Digital India will foster VoD growth: Spuul Global CEO

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MUMBAI: India is a market with enormous potential for digital services, and it is expected to continue to grow with a very rapid speed and much higher than many other markets in the world, as far as data traffic is concerned. In fact, some estimates suggest while the rest of the world will grow 10-12 times maximum when it comes to data traffic, India will grow 17 times.

In the West, people went from a single TV to multiple TVs and then to the mobile, but India seems to be jumping directly from TVs to watching content on their smartphones, leaning on improving mobile internet to consume digital content. TV is becoming a static screen in your living room, while consumers are looking forcustomized viewing experiences.

With a number of video on demand platforms coming together the Indian consumer is all set to enjoy a wide variety of video content as each VOD platform has something unique to offer to its viewers. 

Having said that,the online video space provides a fantastic platform for experimenting with various content formats. It isn’t constrained by the economics of satellite television. A show prepared for the web, doesn’t necessarily need to be in ~30 minute slots. It could be a few minutes or a few hours. This has allowed content creators to experiment with multiple formats.

At the same time there is a clutch of factors that could play spoilsport in the near future. Despite falling costs of technology and production, producing content is prohibitive and added to that distribution costs too are significant. The state of the broadband speed remainsspotty.

A July report by Akamai, a US-based content delivery and cloud services provider, suggests that India had an average 3.5 Mbps Internet speed. Yet, it was the lowest average Internet speed in the Asia Pacific region.

On consumption of data, the report said the country is on the cusp of significant growth in data traffic driven by rising data users as well as growing data usage per user.For 2016, the number of smartphone users in India is estimated to reach 204.1 million, with the number of smartphone users worldwide forecast to exceed 2 billion users by that time.

Watching a movie of 2-3 hours could take up about 200-250 MB of data, which costs around INR 40-50. For VOD platforms to succeed in India costs of 4G have to come down drastically.The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said that there are 1.06 billion wireless telecom subscribers in the country. The Cellular Operators Association of India, said, the number of 3G users in India is expected to more than double (to 330 million) and 4G to grow by over 10 times (to 42 million) from 2015 base till 2017.  4G will be a game changer in the way video is being consumed in the country. 

The way consumers consume information and entertainment will change from TV to video on demand over multiple devices, but one thing that won’t is that content will continue to be king. Because how the content is consumed depends on ease, convenience of the video on demand platforms and ultimately technology will decide who gets the most viewership. India though has room for many video on demand services to survive and thrive because preferences and tastes of viewers vary from region to region.

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/large/public/Subin%20Subaiah-800x800%20%281%29.jpg?itok=noP8yybOThe writer of this article is Subin Subaiah. The views expressed here are personal, and Indiantelevision.com need not necessarily subscribe to them

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