December 26: The year 2020 will probably go down in history as the year that truly changed the media industry. With the pandemic spreading through countries, people and their world was confined to their homes. Work from home, school from home everything became the new normal. The Internet was the only thing that kept people sane as it was their only source of entertainment, work, and communication with their loved ones. Many businesses boomed while others drowned in this new world where people’s priorities and choices changed almost overnight.

The entertainment industry is one such industry that saw a quick change in viewership choices and patterns. Partho Dasgupta BARC ‘s Ex CEO states, “Movie halls that were thronged by people earlier were vacant and people quickly shifted to OTT platforms overnight. Even today the box office recovery in tier two, and tier three cities is not like it was before.” With an option to choose from 40 plus OTT platforms, the humble DTH viewership has also consistently gone down. A recent report by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) states that the active subscriber base of DTH services has declined by a whopping 25 percent in the year 2022.

Even though giants like Netflix and Amazon prime are hugely successful in the west and have not been able to find footing in the Indian market, some of the OTTs like Disney plus Hotstar has been able to crack the market with their Hybrid model. Partho Dasgupta, Ex-CEO of BARC India and Presently Managing Partner, Thoth Advisors shares “The future is Hybrid, one business model is not going to survive. The subscription-based model is what is weighing down Netflix, a mix of subscription and advertisement is what is going to get them in the race again.” Disney plus Hotstar has been leading the market with 21% of the market share. 

With the competition getting tougher, merging OTT platforms also seems to be one of the ways of surviving. The Sony-Zee merger or the latest merger approval of Jio Cinema with Viacom 18 Media Private Limited is a perfect example of the changing business models in the OTT space. “Putting together financial and creative force for content creation is a great idea. Such mergers are necessary along with a good hybrid revenue system in place. Some OTTs will fade out if they do not keep up with the changes. Once basics are covered, only content is going to attract people” shares Partho Dasgupta BARC ‘s Ex CEO.

Another major reason for the shift of people from DTH to OTTs is the content. Highly popular shows and sporting events like Anupama, IPL, the latest movies, and series are all available with one click. The OTT platforms have also tapped into their new audience – children. With the advent of edutainment channels, age-old stories that the children used to listen to at bedtime are packed and packaged into great animations and modern sensibilities. Children can watch and re-watch content on these platforms any time they want. Now they don’t have to wait for a specific time to watch what they want. Children’s show ‘The legend of Hanuman’ on Disney plus Hotstar has seen good traction from their school-going audience. Other children’s channel like Sony YAY is now looking forward to creating content for Sony Liv and other platforms as well. 

With the change in time and the choices of people all businesses have to change. As Partho Dasgupta recently tweeted ‘No IPL no Big ticket reality shows, no big Fiction, no breaking news, and yet Meta is the largest media company. First, the company was able to monopolize audience time and now share advertising wallets’. Meta has climbed to the top of the media business without any noteworthy content to its name. This just goes to show that the Media industry needs to experiment and come up with highly creative ideas to remain relevant.

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