IDBF 2023: Connecting to the new age consumer – The new order

IDBF 2023: Connecting to the new age consumer – The new order

The summit had brands, advertisers, and tech platforms discuss all these trends.

K Krishnakumar

Mumbai: The third edition of Indian Digital Brand Fest 2023 had brands, advertisers, and tech platforms, to discuss the trends and more. The summit also looked at the latest trends driving the change in consumer behaviour and how it has impacted the industry’s growth.

Whether it was a boom in influencer marketing or the popularity of short video platforms, brands did not hesitate to jump onto the digital bandwagon to up their marketing game. So took this opportunity to bring a host of industry experts together under one roof to discuss all these new trends shaping the future.

Jio Entertainment Sr. VP content licensing & partnerships Kaushal Modi in conversation with TV9 Digital executive editor K Krishnakumar.

Krishnakumar commenced the session by saying, “The good thing is that we have a very interesting and simple enough topic - ‘Connecting to the new age consumer – The new order’, and who better than somebody like Kaushal Modi, who is involved in the most exciting business as far as the aam aadmi or the aam janata is concerned, i.e., the OTT business, which connects with all kinds of consumers - new age and old age. They say old-age consumers behave like new-age Gen Z consumers when they come to watch content on OTT. I just want to begin by asking how is the way in which connecting with consumers is changing and most importantly, how is that impacting content, creation, distribution and consumption?”

Modi said, “ In 2016 when we launched 4G, it changed a lot of things in the industry. Pandemic was another event that changed and got to complete adoption of the digital side. We keep saying Gen Z, but when we talk about my parents, they are ‘Gen Z’, because they've just come onto the bandwagon suddenly getting internet in their hand. So for us, all consumers are new. The digital natives are the early adopters, and everybody else coming in. There is no looking back, it is part of everybody's life, we have 600 to 700 million customers currently, out of a population of 1.5 billion.”

Laughingly interrupting Modi, Krishnakumar said, “That’s the power of IPL, or IPL and succession.”

Adding on it, Modi said, “So succession is obviously a more niche audience. But yes, we do cater to each and every audience. What we did was, ensure that you had connectivity and everybody was consuming content. It's not a new business in terms of content. There were different services, there were different screens, there were different modes of getting entertained. What has changed with internet is, it has just created another mode of delivery, another medium of delivery, and it's no longer fixed to a wall, like a television screen, but changed to mobile screen. We have become a mobile-first country and as we keep growing, and as we keep evolving, now there is the Jio phone, Jio fibre just to get connectivity to everybody at an affordable price. We ensure that the connectivity is there, the device ecosystem as well, and so on. So you've got the smartphones,  the feature phones with connectivity, and the connected TVs, you've got everything which is there.”

Immediately adding on to that, Krishnakumar said, “Kaushal, Reliance does diruption with backward integration, from telecom to OTT. It's incredible, the story you're telling us. I'm curious to know, with so much content that you are licencing, and you're partnering to create, in that space I'm asking. Now you have digital to push that content promoted on social media as well. From that point, in that zone of things, how are you seeing content change and evolve when it comes to connecting with consumers?”

To which, Modi replied, “So earlier, it was just long form content to web series, let's say this was a new thing, maybe four or five years ago, it's changed, you've got shorts, influencers, digital media and social media is changing everything. So there is no one scope, which covers everybody. Everybody's got a different taste, culture and requirements in terms of entertainment, infotainment as per the requirement of each consumer. What we’ve enabled is getting it in their hands. People are consuming across different services, be it social media, the open internet, the OTT apps,q our apps effectively, which is making sure that the content is available. You can consume the way it is, it's available there. Different models from a content creators lens, it could be an AVOD content experience, it could be an SVOD content experience. Everybody has a different commercial model and a different model of engagement. So that's from the content creator side. Similarly you got the other side which is the consumer, they're getting brutal. They're deciding what they want to watch. If they like it, they continue or else they just drop it and move forward. But there is an opportunity, with the internet, connectivity and the ecosystem evolved, to make everybody a creator and everybody a consumer of the content. You no longer have to be stuck to a television channel at nine o'clock to watch a show. We know those days are gone…”

Krishnakumar then asked Modi, “Content licencing, for a consumer company like Netflix, where every region becomes a separate business as every territory has different genres of content and pricing, and what you're watching changes from region to region. The third point is that everything is in silos at this stage. Talk to us about the Indian market, and Indian market has been targeted by the global giants. I dare say that such an important market will wait for Jio to push it further and become the most dominant player going forward. From that perspective, Kaushal, how are things changing in terms of licensing and distribution?”

Modi answered, “So we feel that the global giants are driving the consumption or the market, I don't think that's the case. That’s what people in this room are experiencing because we've taken the OTT subscriptions. But even in the OTT subscription, things are getting blurred. People are watching global, Korean and Latin American shows. They’re being watced without it being dubbed in your local language. So that's one thing, that is obviously content transcending into multiple languages, they're moving across. So that's the consumption which is happening. Apart from 80 to 110 million subscriptions, which is what people keep claiming, beyond that you have the huge audience base, which is still consuming other content, which could be anything like a DD free dish, or open Internet content, which is available for free and driving millions and millions of views. You suddenly put a new music video and people are talking about 500 million views, versus we looking at any of these top OTTs, and they're saying, ‘hey, our show which is in the top, and has five million views. So obviously, it's also looking at perspective in terms of what I said. From our perspective, we've aggregated and tried to get everything onto one platform, making it seamless, a single destination, and making everything available, and then let the consumer decide what they want to do. So it's the choice given to the consumer, at an affordable package, and then you've broken the barriers for people to consume the model.”

Wrapping up the session with one last question, Krishnakumar asked, “What's the most watched content on Jio, for now? Anything that comes to your mind that really works well as a content pieces?”

Modi said, “It changes every month, every day, every hour. So there is no fixed thing in terms of what worked, what didn't work. Every day is a new benchmark. If it was a benchmark, three months ago, it might have been different, obviously, it's a very evolving market, new users coming in, a lot of changes happening, different experiences coming in…”