Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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As most of the world underwent lockdowns, the OTT industry received a much-needed digital transformation. First and foremost, it brought about a drastic change in how end users consume media.  Being confined to their homes, there has been a significant increase in entertainment consumption among households.  The business models of OTT, online gaming, and television received a boost while theme parks, movie theatres, and entertainment centres suffered due to social distancing norms. Print too saw a decline in some places.

Many movies that were set to release in theatres were instead released on OTT platforms. With the change in platform, new opportunities have emerged for media and entertainment. So, let’s take a closer look at what some of the key implications of these changes are in the near and long-term, based on insights.

Targeted advertising

Many OTT platforms offer a number of perks such as the ability to skip the starting and end credits, auto-resume, and  an ad-free experience. These features have helped create a seamless viewing experience for consumers. However, as some prominent studios turn to stream platforms to air their content. Ad-supported content may return as streaming platforms have to keep their subscription fees competitive. In certain cases, streaming platforms may choose to charge a much higher premium for ad-free content.  However, OTT platforms will be collecting data to ensure that the Ads shown are specifically in-line with the consumer’s interests and preferences.  This would reduce the possibility of annoying ads being shown.

The OTT market in India is estimated to be worth Rs 119,876 crores in 2023, as per PwCs Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2019-2023.  The OTT market is set to grow at a CAGR of 21.8 % from the forecast period of 2018-2023.

Improved personalisation

Data Analytics and AI shall pave the way for more personalised experiences on online platforms. Today, streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu already show content based on the user’s preferences and watched content. The scope of this end-user customisation is set to increase further in 2021 and beyond. Personalisation has many avatars like targeted advertising, adjustable user experiences, and targeted advertising.  The recommendation engines of today aren’t incredibly precise and there is tremendous scope for improvement. We are still in an era of weak AI. As AI gets incorporated at the hardware level with chips that have machine learning capabilities, the scope of personalisation shall increase. This will entail better content recommendations, ads, and tailor-made user interfaces to enhance customer experiences significantly.

eSports Broadcasting

2020 was notable for record sales in the videogames industry, especially in the US. Spending on video games increased to $56.9 billion in 2020, up by 27 percent in the same period in 2019. The global eSports revenues hit USD 1.1 billion in 2020, as per estimates. A large proportion of this money has come from media rights (around USD 176.2 million) and sponsorships (USD 614.9 million). These eSports events have also become a medium for displaying the latest VR/AR technologies. The advent of 5G will give the eSports industry a further boost and so will the legalisation of eSports betting. 5g towers have been popping up in the US in proximity to prominent eSports venues for this very reason.  The timely release of the new generation of consoles in 2020 has also acted as a lucre for the growing interest in eSports broadcasting.

Conclusion

The digital ecosystem has received a boost due to the new normal.  The consumption of online gaming is set to increase among the younger population whereas an older audience will stick to television and OTT platforms. These trends will pave the way for more original and creative content that is targeted at specific populations as the online streaming competition increases. In many ways 2020 was the mark of a new epoch for the digital ecosystem. In the Indian context, we could see more regional content being released due to the aforementioned trends. It may usher in a golden age of online streaming as local and international streaming giants collide for market-share.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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