50 years back if someone had said we could read, watch, shop and consume so much content through small little phone screens, it would be a laughable matter. But today, it is possible, happening and growing at an unbelievable rate! From TV shows to films, comedy to drama, romance or thriller, you have new content ready to binge at the click of your finger. With COVID-19 having pushed us into our homes, the OTT space has seen an exponential boost on a daily basis.
Reduced travel time, work from home, better internet plans and enforced social distancing has given a strong push to content creators and telecom company owners to speed up their growth. Viewers are finding solace in their screens and to satisfy this increasing appetite, faster internet and more content is being needed every single day. With Reliance Jio planning to roll out their 5G Network in the next year, what can one expect to change for the OTT platforms?
PwC’s recent report Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2020-2024 has revealed that the OTT market is going to explode on the arrival of the 5G network. The Indian Entertainment and Media industry may reach the $55 billion mark by 2024 with an anticipated growth rate of approximately 10.1%. It is expected that the OTT revenue from subscription-based streaming in India will be the sixth in the world by 2024.
What does this mean for Indian content creators? A whole avalanche of content can be looked forward to. OTT platforms are known to provide great reach. With smartphones and 5G network in the hands of every Indian, it opens up a huge opportunity. More short filmmakers will be able to make their low-budget quality content available to viewers. Those films that were halted mid-production can be brought back in shorter formats.
Another large sector in India in its nascent stage is the regional online content, which is slowly being tapped into. Currently, India has 40 OTT providers who target both the urban and rural populations of the country. Some of them are also delivering to the large number of regional language speakers in different parts of the nation. The 5G Network rollout will make the digital world available at an affordable rate to people in villages, towns and cities. This means more local content driven towards capturing these audiences.
One of the biggest revolutions that will come with the 5G era is that on-the-go audiences will access much more content on their devices simply because the streaming speed will be significantly better. Phone companies are already producing phones that can operate in the 5G network as soon as it hits the market.
At the moment Reliance Jio has more than 400 million subscribers on its network and with the 5G network, this is only going to grow. Knowing Reliance’s previous paths, one can easily expect them to offer 5G Internet at throwaway prices, attracting audiences from all financial strata. This will erase one of the biggest constraints currently faced – mobile video consumption on cellular networks.
The immediate byproduct of this, which is beneficial to the Indian economy, is that International content creators will also be attracted. Viewers can expect novel content, stories and formats to hit their screens soon.
All in all, the 5G era is definitely a boon for the OTT sector. It will also entice creators to put on their thinking hats, think outside the box and create content that is different from the clutter. Does that mean more competition? Definitely! More content, more stories, more creativity can be expected from each of the streaming networks you are currently used to. Thought-provoking or commercial, drama or comedy, there is a lot more of everything coming. Are you ready for this revolution?
- By Mr. Vikram Kumar, Co-Founder and Managing Director, SRV Media Pvt. Ltd.
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