When Internet content took over the television viewership, Netflix became the new household name for America.
However, its position soon got challenged when new emerging players of Internet TV like Hulu, a streaming service company jointly owned by 21st Century Fox, Disney and NBC Universal and small players like Vimeo stepped into the Over-the-Top digital space (OTT).
The fear of video-on-demand platforms like Netflix made the television channels also create their own digital space, so that they don’t lose out their viewership. HBO soon joined in with their HBO NOW app, making it easier for the users to live stream their favourite shows like Game of Thrones and Sherlock on their smartphones, iPads, iPhones and iPods.
Hotstar, Viacom, Jio – Combining Entertainment With Mobility
Netflix got introduced to India a few months back and we have been seeing the same cycle here. Not wanting to give up users or advertisement revenue, Indian television & production houses have started investing in creating on-demand video platforms to make video content available on the web and mobile –
- Star India soon took a proactive step and launched its video streaming platform, Hotstar. With 10 Mn downloads in only 40 days, Hotstar took India by storm with the average time spent per viewer touching 24 minutes a day. Allowing free streaming to the users, the revenue model for Hotstar is mainly in the form of advertisements.
- Following Hotstar’s footsteps, VOOT was launched in March 2016 by Viacom 18. Viewers of the channels like MTV, Colors TV and Nickelodeon could watch complete episodes of their favourite serials anytime anywhere on their mobile applications.
- Balaji Telefilms is yet another Indian media house to step into this over-the-top (OTT) digital space with its new child Alt Digital. With intentions of only targeting a specific group of audience, Alt Digital is clear in its strategy of focusing on out of the box and original Indian content, rather than international video content which is already been catered by Netflix in a wide manner.
- Zee Entertainment Enterprise Limited wasn’t behind too by launching OZEE, its VoD platform where users can watch videos for free. The overall website experience with the lack of user login requirement makes it feel more like YouTube.
- The recently launched Reliance Jio has already created a lot of buzz and hype in India. Their video-on-demand service offers a video library of 100,000+ hours of content in the form of movies, TV shows, music videos and trailers.
From watching shows with family and friends, these video on demand platforms encouraged users to “Go Solo,” as made famous by the television campaign of Hotstar. Users have also gone out and accepted these VOD platforms to replace television viewing to mobile app based viewing.
As the users get spoilt for choices, it becomes imperative for these platforms to provide a seamless user experience and get into partnerships that can bring them bulk users.
Strategy For Video-On-Demand In India
- Regional content: With increased competition between so many videos on demand and Internet streaming apps, regional content that appeals to particular states will be the key to capture user share.
- A business model palatable to Indian taste: The Indian user needs a business model that enables them to accept paid content easily and seamlessly. There are various models in play in the market – that includes freemium, completely paid, online rent etc. The Indian user has multiple personas – the right business model is required, based on the market that the Internet streaming company targets.
- Tie up with payment banks and wallets: Create a seamless mechanism to pay for paid content.
- Partnership with device manufacturers: To promote this concept of television channel apps, the production houses or channels can partner with mobile companies like Micromax, Karbonn, Lava etc. so that the mobiles offer in-built apps on their system. Example – Paytm and Amazon recently partnered with Karbonn mobile and their apps have become the de-facto payment and ecommerce app of the device.
- A design strategy for Tier III towns and rural areas: The real trick in winning the market is to capture the Tier III towns and the rural areas. As the users are not digitally advanced, an assistive model should be used to spread the usage of the app. For example take for example, where the de-facto cable operator provides the video on demand app as a monthly paid subscription.
- Out of the box advertisement integration: Free content platforms will be driven by advertisements sooner or later. We, at Fortune Cookie UX design, believe that various amazing interactions can be built to encourage the user to view and interact with advertisements.
- A user experience that is seamless, works offline and not cumbersome: Users want easy access to content, irrespective of the availability of networks. In addition, the right interaction design needs to be built in, in order to make the user a loyal user of the content app.
- On demand content on more than one screen: The on-demand content should be available not only on mobile and web but with right integrations these platforms need to make their engagement space on television, car screens and more.
With the implementation of the above strategies along with in-depth research and understanding of the users’ sentiments and needs, these VoD platforms will soon become our favourite mode of entertainment.