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Industry heads see huge headroom for growth across TV & digital in India

This, despite a 25 per cent decline in ad revenue on television in 2020.

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KOLKATA: At the Asia Video Industry Association’s (AVIA) recent Future of Video India conference, industry leaders remained upbeat about the potential for growth in India’s television landscape despite a painful 2020 which had seen a 25 per cent drop in TV advertising revenue.

The conference opened with an overview of the Future of Video in India with Media Partners Asia (MPA) India VP Mihir Shah. With learnings from the last year and economic resurgence in certain sectors, MPA predicts that in the next five years, with every new incremental dollar in the region, India will have 35 per cent share, almost evenly divided between television and online video.

While cable in general is going through a structural decline, pay-TV subscriptions will grow both in value and volume and continue to offer scale for the traditional media players. And with more than 60 online video services in India, the total addressable market will continue to expand.

This local expansion is what Disney+ Hotstar president & head Sunil Rayan is eyeing, with the streamer’s next stage of growth primed at developing their product for India, with pricing and content made for the local market. As India is a mobile-first market which drives individual viewing, while OTT and TV is not a zero sum game, OTT content needs to be far more engaging for individual viewing. “Fundamentally, we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach for India because there are multiple Indias within India,” mentioned Rayan.

The sentiment of diversity and positive co-existence among the platforms was echoed by Discovery Communications India south Asia MD Megha Tata. “India lives in several centuries at the same time,” she said, and this is not only the beauty and complexity of the market but also the opportunity to do more. While it is still a long way away before the demise of the TV, a differentiated content and product offering remains a key focus.

“Content is king . . . distribution is god . . . that play of god and king will continue but differentiation of content will play a critical part in decision making,” added Tata.

This focus on local content is also what drives content platforms. Netflix India VP content Monika Shergill shared that premium storytelling was a new space in India, as Indian audiences were open to experimentation and yet gravitating towards highly local tastes. “Our job and our passion is to find the best stories . . . the biggest stories . . . the untold stories from India and to become the service of choice for Indians in India . . . and in different parts of the world,” shared Shergill.

For Zee5 Hindi Originals head Nimisha Pandey, the initial focus was on building volume, though it has now shifted to adding to the variety and scaling up the content offering. She, too, has realised the need to up the game on the regional market for the next set of growth. “There is so much demand that there is much hope for everyone to grow their businesses,” said Pandey.

As the market where the next billion consumers of video will come from, Zee5 Global chief business officer Archana Anand summed it up best when she said, “It is the decade of video.”

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