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Bullish predictions for the Video Industry in India fuelled by VOD services but also for linear TV

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MUMBAI: The Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) yesterday held a one-day conference, The Future of Video India 2019, with leading industry experts discussing the growth and prospects of the video industry in India.

The story of the conference was that despite disruption, fragmentation and a need for consistent and credible measurement across TV and digital streaming services, the video industry in India today is in great heath and is only getting stronger.

Romil Ramgarhia, the COO of BARC India started the day by painting a picture of growing time spent watching television and with 100m households still without TV, organic growth of TV uptake of all sorts would continue.  Ashish Bhasin, CEO Greater South and Chairman and CEO India for Dentsu Aegis Network later corroborated this and said all media will continue to grow in India over the next 3-4 years.

While TV may be growing, the uptake of streaming video services is exploding with the lowest mobile data costs in the world and enormous growth of smart phone adoption still to happen, speakers throughout the day agreed we are on the cusp of an enormous wave of digital growth.  Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO and MD of Viacom18 in his keynote session predicted digital video growth would be shaped by three things – technology, culture and e-commerce.

The digital video landscape is dynamic and changing and both Gaurav Gandhi, Country GM of Amazon Prime Video and Akash Banerji, Head of Advertising VOD for Viacom18 Digital Ventures agreed that fragmentation was an opportunity more than a problem, and the move from 1 television screen per household to 3-4 screens provides a new addressable market for VOD services.  Tarun Katial, CEO of ZEE5 pointed out that streaming services were not content to be only on the small screen and wanted to be able to grow consumption over TV as a device.

And while it is clear that India’s love affair with video was only deepening, the business model behind streaming video services still has room to change and evolve.  Ad supported services are likely to be dominant but Sunil Lulla, the Group CEO of Balaji Telefilms pointed out that ad free subscription is entirely viable and there is enough scale for subscription to be very meaningful in India, especially where supported by strong content investments.

Shantanu Sirohi, COO Interactive Avenues at IPGMediabrands and Ashok Venkatramani, Managing Director ZEE Media were very clear that advertisers were not giving up on digital and moving spends back to linear TV.  However, as Ashish Bhasin pointed out, advertising dollars will continue to grow across all services but growth on digital video was far ahead of ad growth on TV, which itself was still expected to be respectable 12-15% CAGR over the coming 5 years.

The Future of Video India 2019 was supported by sponsors Accedo, Contentwise, Discovery India, Hansen Technologies, SES, Viacom18 and Vindicia.

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