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Lionsgate Play eyeing collaborations to get ahead in Indian market: Rohit Jain

He was speaking at Future of Video India 2021

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KOLKATA: In December 2020, Hollywood studio Lionsgate rolled out its independent video streaming app Lionsgate Play here and later expanded its presence in Indonesia. Distribution, payment mechanism, flexible strategy around ARPU – will be the three key factors to make a significant presence in emerging markets in India, according to Lionsgate South Asia and networks- emerging markets Asia managing director Rohit Jain.

Jain was speaking at Future of Video India 2021 organised by the Asia Video Industry Association. “Globally our view is that streaming is eventually going to settle into a three-tier structure which is no different from linear structure. Technologies will change and that makes it convenient for consumers to sort of watch content but the segmentation of customers and their behaviour don’t change,” he said.

He further revealed that Lionsgate Play is looking to position itself around the mid-tier. While a large network might be looking at 250-300 million subscribers, it may target 70-75 million subscribers. The OTT platform currently has around 30 million subscriptions worldwide.

“It is important to let go of the fixation around ARPU. It’s a very incomplete metric unless we look at volumes parallel to that,” Jain commented. Emerging markets like India have huge volume unlike markets like the UK, the US, the platforms don’t have to look at standalone metrics always, he detailed.

In addition to that, distribution is a key factor in these emerging markets as they are more fragmented markets with mobile-first consumers. Jain stated that distribution has to be far more layered compared to developed markets as the platforms need to work on various factors like b2c app, devices, collaboration with telcos, aggregators.

Lionsgate Play’s distribution strategy in India does not revolve around reach or access. The platform looks at how it can reach consumers as complementary services through collaborations – how the platforms come together, create data bundles, a-la-carte models etc.

Additionally, a large part of consumers in these markets are not frequented with net banking, credit cards. Hence, the workaround payment mechanism also becomes far more complicated, Jain noted. “In a sense, these markets will teach you more than western markets,” he added.

In terms of content strategy in India, the global ethos of cinema scale premium content, edgy, untold, provocative storytelling remains the same. Moreover, its content strategy is based on curated content rather than offering an ocean of content. Lionsgate Play is also looking at a well-rounded content slate for India focusing on multiple genres.

“Global productions will have audiences but you can’t take away the value of local productions especially in India where local language content always has been very strong. There are multiple things we can do starting from dubbing. We localise our content across seven to eight languages in India. Local originals are also important. Everybody at the end of the day wants to watch local stars. That market will be 10X larger than Hollywood content,” Jain noted.

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