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Paying OTT subs to reach 30-35 mn by 2021, only 2x growth in ad revenue

Digital media is set to overtake filmed entertainment this year

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MUMBAI: Digital media is set to overtake filmed entertainment in India this year in terms of revenue. While TV will retain its pole position as the largest segment, digital will also overtake print by 2021 to reach $5.1 billion, according to a report from FICCI and EY report on ‘How a billion screens can turn India into a media and entertainment powerhouse’.

In this overwhelming growth of digital media, telecom operators will be the future MSOs. As per the report, while 60 per cent of total consumption today is through telco bundles, it is estimated to grow to over 75 per cent by 2021 and cater to over 375 million subscribers. Smartphone penetration is just 36 per cent in 2018, leaving massive room for growth. 30 per cent of phone time is dedicated to entertainment.

“While watch time could grow 3 to 3.5x over the next five years, resulting in a massive inventory growth, advertising revenues will grow only around 2x. CPMs will correspondingly fall during the period for non-premium inventory,” the report added.

Along with growth in advertising revenues, subscription revenue is also projected to grow. The report predicts 30-35 million paying OTT video subscribers and 6-7 million paying audio subscribers by 2021.

“Digital segment will benefit from the growing popularity of e-sports, AR/VR technologies, online gaming and fantasy sports, all of which are “Generation Z” products,” it added. “With its massive base of internet users, India’s digital media market is attractive to global streaming platforms looking to capitalise on the country’s fast-growing digital consumption. This is especially true as competitively priced 4G services become more widely available.”

The report went on to mention that despite the growth in digital media consumption, piracy threat is
“likely to restrict full monetisation of content as well as large-scale acceptance of SVoD in India”. It mentioned, “Indian market is highly price-sensitive and is driven majorly by advertising revenues. Several sectors such as print, digital, television and radio derive major share of their revenues from advertising.”

The report highlighted that consolidation will be needed for platform profitability as contest costs will remain high as each platform produces or acquires content to meet its needs. It also added that post the new tariff order regime, OTT platforms are sure to benefit due to increased parity between television and OTT content choice and costs.

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