Welcome to 2021! Flashback to the year 2020, OTT platforms really had our attention, won our hearts, and came out over-the-top in terms of media consumption. India is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for Over-The-Top media. OTT content is streamed over the internet, directly to the viewers, bypassing traditional media such as cable TV, broadcast, and direct-to-home satellite service. According to one report from PwC, India is expected to emerge as the world’s sixth largest OTT streaming market by 2024.
So, what makes OTT the preferred platform, you ask?
One report by KPMG & Eros Now, called ‘The Future: Now Streaming’, released in the year 2016, states that 80% of the audience who have already subscribed to an OTT platform say their entertainment needs were met, and 38% of this audience were ready to give up on the more traditional methods of consuming media and entertainment.
The main reason OTT platforms are preferred is because they offer a chance to catch-up on shows that were missed and for users to rewatch favorites, at any time from their personalized online video content library.
Additionally, the CoVID-19 pandemic seriously affected the Media & Entertainment industry, driving the industry to shift to a more digitally charged and disruptive method. While theatrical releases and live events have had to take a backseat, the OTT players have been able to stay on top of their game.
When it comes to advertising, OTT blends together the best of digital advertising with the more old-school TV entertainment, news and infotainment. The OTT platforms have emerged as one of the most effective spaces to catalyse brand performance metrics. Television commercial (TVC) production houses in Mumbai and across India and the globe have jumped onto this bandwagon, producing video ads that are made for digital and OTT platforms.
Without any further ado, let’s examine the trends OTT platforms are expected to capitalize on in 2021.
Streaming platforms and devices will offer access to multiple OTT applications at one price. This makes it economically viable and easy-to-subscribe to many channels of video content using one login, thus presenting a more user-friendly approach. App aggregation is already underway. For example, one of India’s leading DTH providers, Tata Sky, introduced us to Tata Sky Binge, which is a combo of five different streaming services at an all-in-one package subscription rate.
Genre-Redefining Vernacular Content
India had around 560 million internet users in the first quarter of 2020, according to this source. This number is only the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to the untapped potential of the digital market in India. With such a large growing population of internet users, regional content became the need of the hour for OTT platforms. While many streaming services have successfully created original regional content which went on to enjoy a high viewership and became blockbusters, 2021 will see an increase in this trend. Let’s hold onto our seats as we consume some more diverse and disruptive content that defies genres in the land that is a melting pot of languages and culture.
Dubbed And/Or Subtitled International Content
The year 2020 also saw an increase in international movies and TV shows which were dubbed into regional languages and released on OTT platforms. This trend allowed for us to tune into popular culture from across the globe in our own language. Hence, playing into the notion that no matter where the content is from, if the viewers related to the characters and storyline, it was bound to become a worldwide success.
The advent of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) has presented a world of possibilities for OTT content creators. 2021 will see a rise in interactive content in comparison to the past few years, this includes storylines with multiple endings based on viewer’s choices, crafting or curating storylines with the viewer, reward-based real-time shows, and more.
The Rise Of AI
OTT platforms are already providing voice-searches and navigation, AI-assisted discovery leads to a more user-friendly experience. When it comes to typing with a remote, it’s always faster to just talk to the AI to find your selection. If there’s any OTT players who haven’t implemented this, 2021 may be the year for them to upgrade our experience.
Direct-to-OTT. More Coming Soon.
The pandemic has brought the resilience of us as a species to the fore. More and more production houses are in talks or have released their films directly on an OTT platform. This trend will see a boost even after theatres open. So, watch out for groundbreaking premiers, which you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. One of the world’s biggest film production houses, Warner Bros recently struck a deal with the streaming service HBO Max to release 17 of their films on the platform first.
This year, the biggest Warner Bros. premieres are coming to theaters and streaming on HBO Max the exact same day. What movie are you most excited for? ???? https://t.co/6Ny7n8JUGk pic.twitter.com/UEMmDlMIy6— HBO Max (@hbomax) January 16, 2021
Branded Content Series
For marketers everywhere, and of course advertising agencies, film production houses in India, one thing remains true, the OTT space is here to stay and is skyrocketing. Hotstar, an OTT streaming service is also able to offer brand performance metrics and present data on the reach and frequency. When streaming giants like these collaborate with other retail giants, audiences will get to witness a plethora of branded content, some of it will not even be that obvious. Subtle brand placements, subliminal marketing and a whole array of fresh marketing strategies will be seen in 2021.
The subtle brand placement behind the actor in Netflix’s Maniac (2018) series. The logo even switches from Oral B to Jolly Ranchers.
One interesting point to note is that when compared to traditional TVCs, advertisers are able to get better bang for the buck on OTT platforms. This is observed because film production houses and agencies alike are able to exercise more control over who watches their content on an OTT platform vs. a cable television. A lot of OTT players generate good revenue from advertising, more so than even their subscriptions. According to the findings in the KPMG report, it is predicted that by the year 2023, India will have close to 500 million online video subscribers, thus becoming the second-largest online video market in the world. This would then be the best time for brands to take note and start leveraging the OTT space, if they have not already.
So, there you have it! Apart from the new releases you have been itching to catch on OTT platforms, what OTT trends do you think we will see in 2021?