Today, content consumers have more choices than they ever did. This can be credited to the increasing popularity of the video on-demand (VOD) services. It won’t be an exaggeration if we say that the OTT platforms have helped VOD come to the mainstream. But why are such services finding more takers today than other popular channels such as television?
Well, it is because they have wrinkled out the ‘blink and you miss’ challenges of the idiot box with a robust and ever-evolving digital library of content. Selecting and viewing the video at your own leisure is no longer a distant dream as consumers can now connect their devices to on-demand videos with the tap of a button.
But what we are observing today is still the tip of the iceberg. Here’s how the increasing popularity of VOD platforms will continue to redefine hometainment in the near future.
Lockdown, Couch, and Hometainment: What did the COVID outbreak change?
For a long time, there wasn’t much movement in the world of home entertainment. However, the COVID-19 outbreak emerged as the perfect catalyst, catapulting us into the future and changing the world of VOD, as we know it. With home becoming the centre of all activities and internet becoming the medium, the pandemic increased the viewership on VOD platforms. People started to binge-watch content of their choice, be it entertainment, news, sports, gaming, and even reading articles online.
This new norm has made a lot of us forget the way our hometainment used to be. It was mostly everyone wanting to control the TV remote and ending up watching a common channel, whether they liked it or not.However, thanks to the introduction of affordable smartphones and tablets, today, each family member has the choice to watch whatever content they desire. It could be a Hindi-dub Hollywood flick or some spiritual content. Smartphones have given us the convenience of holding our own mini television in our palm.
However, there was another global change that COVID triggered. We experienced the sudden closure of cinema halls, live-events, shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, pubs etc. This gave rise to a trend of ‘online concerts’. After all, consumers do not want to miss out on performances by their favorite musicians or artists.
As so many trends are popping up everywhere, the hometainment space has taken an unexpected turn sky-rocketing it into the future.
The Future of Hometainment Space in India
According to an estimate, there are more than 500 million active internet users since 2019 poised to reach 650 million by 2023. Several reports also suggest that the Indian entertainment and media industry is expected to be worth over Rs 4,51,373 crore by 2023, growing at a compound annual rate (CAGR) of 11.28% between 2018 and 2023. The Video on demand market in India is set to grow upto US$ 4 Billion by 2023 from US$ 2.3 Billion at present out of which around 65% is expected to come from AVOD and balance from SVOD.
India’s home-grown online gaming industry is no exception to this growth. It stood at an estimated $290 million in 2016 and is expected to touch the $1-billion mark by 2021. It is further projected to be valued at $3.7 billion by 2024.
The exponential growth is largely due to a sort of convenience that these industries have given their consumers. A wide range of smart devices and OTT services have considerably improved the accessibility. The soon-to-arrive 5G network promises to further-enhance user experience and create new business opportunities as well.
Surge of VOD after lockdown
People have largely settled into the WFH culture and are rarely venturing outside. The overall consumption and demand for OTT and VOD platforms has risen by at least 950% over the past six months. The change was evident in March 2020 as a leading international OTT platform had to temporarily lower video quality on its platform for 30 days to reduce load on its servers and sustain the sheer number of new users. It’s not the only platform to have seen a rise in users though, content consumption has steadily risen on all other OTT platforms as well.
With most major channels releasing their own OTT platforms, viewers are now switching between multiple OTT platforms based on the content of their choice. An interesting observation is that Gen Z clocks in an average content consumption duration of 4.45 hours daily, whereas millennials clock in 3.66 hours every day. Data providers have also benefited greatly via OTT platforms, since online videos are generating 72% of consumer internet data! Consumers have found a new sense of freedom and convenience with OTT platforms. If the aforementioned numbers mean anything, it’s that VOD is here to stay. It will be an integral part of our post-pandemic world.
Behavior change of people towards VOD platforms
VOD has grown enough to become an independent ecosystem. Its credit goes to those who welcomed it with open arms and made it a part of daily life. With added advancement in the pull media sector, there is a vast ocean of content available to viewers on the cloud, backed by a delivery pipeline of high-speed internet connectivity linked directly to their devices. The option to watch the choicest content at the time and place of a consumer’s choosing is almost magical. Language barriers have been eliminated with the increased acceptance and adoption of movies in dubbed languages, opening doors to a fresh set of audience for VOD platforms.
Dollywood Play, is one such platform that aims at providing high-quality, Hindi dubbed content to its audience. Being a niche platform, it offers viewers international and regional content across a wide range of genres viz. action, adventure, Horror, fantasy, erotic thrillers, and so forth.
How is VOD an opportunity for advertisers?
In order to answer this question, one needs to dig deeper. The most fundamental requirement of advertising on any medium is to ensure that it has an adequate number of consumers with their eyes peeled. Advertisements have to target the viewers on their preferred platform. Moreover, VOD platforms allow for niche marketing since the general audience on each platform may have shared interests. It makes it easier for the advertiser to narrow down, target specifically, and spend wisely rather than broadly shooting out their key messages. VOD platforms can also provide real-time data of consumer behavior, giving marketers the opportunity to instantly grab their audience’s attention.
According to statistics online, in 2018, the revenue contributed by the Indian OTT market was upwards of $500 million, out of which, 82% was generated from AVOD alone. By 2023, the Indian OTT market is expected to generate $5 billion in revenue.
In conclusion, technology and innovation have become the centerpiece of the entertainment business processes. It’s safe to say that everyone has experienced or is experiencing a change in one way or another when it comes to entertainment choices ever since the beginning of the pandemic. So, providing viewers with relevant and quality content will remain the crux of VOD.
By Aneesh Dev, Founder-Director, Dollywood Play