Smartphones and other digital devices have instigated a new epoch of television/video consumption in India by transforming it into a personal media device. Empowered by on-the-go accessibility and greater control over their viewing experience, digital-savvy audiences in the country are increasingly inclining towards online content platforms over the traditional appointment-based viewing of the cable TV format.
From popular TV shows, movies and music to original, digitally-led, personalised content relevant to the viewer’s specific interests and viewing preferences in the form of videos, web series, and other digital programming options, the internet has made everything possible on digital devices. The entry of multiple players in the sector catering to different niche segments along with seamless access to locally relevant video-based entertainment content has further got consumer eyeballs glued to their digital screens.
Driven by rapid digital adoption, there has been a tremendous rise in online content consumption, not just from the metro cities but even from the Tier I, Tier II cities and rural regions. As mobile and digital devices have made entertainment personal, rural consumers are valuing it a lot over the long gone days when entertainment consumption was more of a community-based exercise.
For them, getting access to videos on topical issues, global trends and the most spoken-about events from across the world has become a reality through online channels. They are able to stay more connected to the mainstream thanks to the unprecedented access they have to international content, be it in terms of politics, fashion or entertainment.
How Media Consumption Is Changing In Rural India
This democratised online access can be attributed to better digital infrastructure, improved digital literacy, the rollout of 3G and 4G broadband services, and inexpensive smartphones along with cheaper data tariffs. The biggest contributor to the demand for online entertainment content, however, has been India’s young population that comprises more than 65 percent of Internet users they prefer watching content of their choice on their personal handheld devices.
Furthermore, the rural users account for 35 percent of India’s Internet community regardless of representing over 60 percent of the country’s population and this population uses Internet primarily for entertainment. Their strong desire to watch their favourite entertainment content anytime, anywhere, on any device is equally driving the demand for online content rapidly.
Focussed on curating relevant video content, many online media platforms are endeavouring to strike a chord with audiences from the small cities and regional geographies through regional entertainment solutions as well as acquiring exclusive broadcasting rights to live streaming major events. At present, 45% of OTT users consume content in regional languages. With increased digital adoption across the rural geographies – estimated to collectively comprise almost 70% of the nation’s population – this figure is expected to significantly increase in the coming years.
The demand for online content has been further reinforced by improved internet speeds. Some OTT platforms have taken innovation to the next level by enabling low data consumption through Data Saving Features paired with offline viewing and real-time low latency streaming to enhance the digital entertainment experience of their users. Such an innovation in online video content is driving considerable traction not only from urban geographies but also from areas beyond including the Tier II and Tier III cities.
Access To Seamless Entertainment Experience
The rural areas, prone to frequent power outages, are shifting towards online media formats to get an access to seamless entertainment experience. Even the government’s National Optic Fibre Network, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2017-18, will also give a boost to online content consumption in the rural areas as it will then equip 1.5 Lakh gram panchayats in the country with high-speed internet access. This will increase the reach of online content enablers in the relatively untapped rural populace with their attractive service offerings.
Given the unmatched degree of comfort, quality, and convenience, OTT services are changing the content consumption patterns of every Indian. There is currently an unstated rule that the television acts as the primary screen as we enter into an age where all screens will work in unison to drive the content consumption, whether they are smartphones, smart TVs, desktops, tablets, or phablets.
Moreover, with on-demand and personalised viewing gaining prominence among the fast maturing audiences of the country, digital marketers are required to brainstorm extensively to meet the expectations of the fast-paced ever-changing digital populace.
About The Author
[The author of this post is Dushyant Kohli, Head Growth, nexGTV – India’s biggest subscription-driven video entertainment mobile app.]