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How OTT platforms stay innovative in a cluttered market

However, innovation for the sake of change may turn out to be futile

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KOLKATA: As OTT platforms are making all the necessary moves to keep the users hooked, these players are realising that innovation is the key mantra to achieve this objective. To keep up with the pace with which users are adapting to streaming services, most of the players in the ecosystem are scaling up their offerings. However, innovation is more of a continuous process rather than a revolutionary change.

In a webinar hosted by Indiantelevision.com in association with Accedo and moderated by Indiantelevision.com founder, CEO and editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari, experts from the industry shared strategies and experiences around innovations.

Hoichoi technology lead Aloke Majumder stated innovation is what should drive the OTT platforms. Innovation not only shapes the product but also strengthens the relationship with users. According to him, the platforms need to stay inspired by the users, other brands, all the current happenings in product offerings for the breakthrough. The largest Bengali platform has been adding new features in recent times including parental control. It is currently working around encoding to have seamless delivery of the videos even with low latency.

Balaji Telefilm’s digital venture is also looking at a robust product offering. ALTBalaji chief technology officer Shahabuddin Sheikh said that the platform is highly focusing on metadata. “It’s a mix of both the worlds in terms of using technology and manual interventions where we can have more enriched metadata in terms of characters, keyframes, emotions which can be tagged and which is fed into the system. While the user is watching or viewing content, it can be liked back to his experiences and accordingly help to plan or program the content for him,” he added. Using experiences, the platform is also bringing other small changes like adding markers where users can identify content genres.

"Epic On has done a couple of upgradations which are paying the platform good dividend now, " said Epic On chief operating officer Sourjya Mohanty. The platform has attempted to bring a multi-format experience by accumulating video, e-books, games, podcasts which has resulted into a good surge in mobile engagement. It is also factoring in the current situation while bringing new experiences. As more people are inclining towards smart TVs to enjoy in-home cinema experiences, the platform has brought few changes on that front which have yielded positive feedback yet, Mohanty said.

However, innovations always don’t turn out to be fantastic if user need is not understood properly. Arre GM technology Rohit Bapat spoke of such an experience. While they ran a web series with an option to allow users to click on a specific character to provide information on that individual, they did not see any traction. Down the line, they had to take off the feature. Bapat acknowledged that it would have been more effective for events like sports tournaments where users would be keen to get match statistics.

Like other players, fitness app Simple Soulful is also innovating user experience but more often as it has to deal with real-time issues. screen SSK Osmosis product head Soumik Solanki shared some examples. According to a users’ need, it is customising rest time feature during exercises. For users who don’t are already accustomed with various workouts and don’t want to watch the entire video, the app has come up with a complete programme list for that segment. It is also using a 360-degree camera view to help users exercise with correct postures.

Accedo innovation director Niklas Bjorken agreed to the other panelists that innovation is key to a brand’s relevancy in the moving world. According to him, knowing users properly, adapting to new user behaviours, embracing technology, learnings from other services should drive the changes. 

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