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Industry experts discuss OTT growth, need for measurement system

They hold different views on the need of a unified measurement system

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MUMBAI: To measure or not to measure? Despite the humongous growth of OTT in the country, experts still can’t seem to agree on this question. While some of the experts believe a TV like measurement system will bring more transparency in the ecosystem, other players think third-party tools are already serving the purpose.

A session on Dual Screen Addiction saw panellists Star India Hindi GEC president and head Gaurav Banerjee, ZEE5 CEO Tarun Katial, Network 18 COO, A+E Networks MD Avinash Kaul, media veteran Raj Nayak, Netflix partnerships director Abhishek Nag, Hooq India MD Zulfiqar Khan, Vuclip country head Vishal Maheshwari and moderated by Balaji Telefilms group CEO Sunil Lulla.

Speaking at a session in FICCI FRAMES 2019 Banerjee emphasised on the need of a unified measurement system. “As we have entered into digital, we have not thought of putting in place a measurement system which is extremely robust,” he said. Banerjee thinks it will make assessments of watch-time easier for the advertisers.

Katial strongly disagreed and argued that there are robust third-party tools in the market. He also cited the example of YouTube and Facebook’s strength in digital advertising. According to him, if there was no credibility in measurement, advertisers would not have put so much money.

“In the case of TV, when consumers now exercise their choice some channel may lose its base of 198 million and drop to 20 million but that also shows the affluence of the customer who can pay Rs 20 a month. Otherwise, channels on DD Free Dish would have retained revenue three times greater than Star Plus,” Kaul commented.

Nayak said that advertising money is going to get fragmented and it’s going to get worse with more players coming in. “In the OTT space, the number of players will shrink. I predict that in the next 3-5 years there won’t be more than 10 players in this space. I think then the realisation of value will happen both in terms of subscription and advertising,” he added.

Talking about monetising on OTT through advertising, Katial said the volume of content on the platform is a necessity. He added that when ZEE5 was launched it kept the faith on three ‘v’s – voice, vernacular and video which worked. According to him, CPM is also rising on the contrary to popular belief in the industry.

However, the experts agreed to the growing subscription model in the country. Netflix partnerships director Abhishek Nag said this is a great time for subscription business in India. The use of credit cards for online payment without fear of fraud and mobile wallets especially the ones with low bandwidth has opened up revenue channels for the platforms. Nag also thinks bundling of telco or broadband plans with live TV and OTTs can make it stronger.

ZEE5 CEO said along with B2B2C, the B2C model is growing. According to him, proper bundling and pricing play a major role in B2C revenue. In the case of B2B2C, he said partnerships with e-commerce platforms like MakeMyTrip will add value to the model in future.

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