Updated: Mar 18
The Indian Media & Entertainment Industry has been transformed though a digital wave. Easy access of smartphones with access to affordable internet data has brought a transition of viewers from relying on television and theatres for entertainment to OTT platform. With content created every second media companies are engaged in a survival battle to gain viewer attention.
In today’s scenario having a good content is not enough, viewers demand high quality user experience, customised content, minimum advertisements and more personalize and user-friendly interface. As per the media industry reports the digital media industry could unlock approx. $1.3 trillion of value of the media industry over the next decade.
With growing success of OTT players marking their presence in Indian digital market through their creative content and flexible subscription model, new slate of OTT player backed by powerful brands and many online retail stores and aggregators are set to disrupt and further penetrate the competitive digital space. To thrive these competition OTT players, need to reach out to their viewers by creating compelling content further distributing and offering their content in an efficient manner.
OTT Players are now altering their subscription policies keeping in mind the consumer behaviour and preference.
Rural India a new opening for Digital Platforms
With increase in internet penetration in rural areas, OTT players are now concentrating on creating regional content to cater to the rural markets. Lack of entertainment options in rural areas during the pandemic and accessibility to regional content has led to the sudden surge of viewers in the rural areas.
Movie Makers going Digital
Due to pandemic and closure of cinemas viewer have shifted to OTT platforms as a form of entertainment. With only 2 players ruling the OTT market in 2012, there are now more than 40 players catering to the viewers with some of them providing free subscription to their services. Many film makers have monetize the opportunity by releasing their content on OTT platform and further started a new business model with directly collaborating with the OTT players to produce and release their movies.
Concept of E-Learning
Due to Pandemic, there has been shift from classroom-based Learning to a more flexible, informal, and collaborative process, the process of E-learning. At a time when physically attending the class is a distant idea, several organisations have met their learning objectives by incorporating e-learning solution through OTT platforms be it for their business, fitness or education which has further empowered the end consumers.
Challenges to the OTT Players with the New OTT Policy
The latest Information Technology (Guidelines for intermediaries and Digital Media ethics code) rules 2021 released jointly by Minster for Information Technology and the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has brought mix reaction amongst the industry.
a) New Regulations
The new IT regulations, mandates social media giants, digital platforms, and online news platforms to appoint grievance officer, who should acknowledge a complaint received from viewers against the objectionable content within 24 hours and resolve it within 15 days. They must also appoint Chief Compliance Officer and nodal contact person. The officer will further be required to submit regular reports on compliance and there will also be a grievance redressal mechanism portal and an oversight mechanism to “coordinate adherence to Code of Ethics by publishers and self-regulating bodies.
b) Objectionable Content
The new regulations describe objectionable content as those that threaten the security or sovereignty of Nation, disturb public order, defamatory, obscene pornographic paedophilic, invasive of another’s privacy, harmful to minors, infringes any patent, trademark, copyright, or other proprietary rights. Social media platforms with a user base over a certain threshold will have to enable identification of the first originator of the information for publishing offensive content that can invite imprisonment of more than five years.
c) Content Certification
All online curated content transmitted/published/exhibited will now have to be classified as either content into five age-based categories U, 7+, 13+, 16+, and A which need to be displayed with a rating based on its context together with a content descriptor informing the user about the nature of the content and advising on viewer description (if applicable) at the beginning of every programme enabling the user to make an informed decision, prior to watching the programme. Further Websites, OTT services and social media platforms will also be required to take down offensive content within 36 hours of receipt of a complaint.
The dominance enjoyed by OTT players, leveraged through easy access of internet and smart phone with user friendly subscription plans makes them a leading contender in the digital media space.