6 OTT trends that will shape the post pandemic world

There has been a rise in consumption of OTT viewership over the past year due to the pandemic. Let’s take a look at six current trends that are likely to shape the future of OTT in India.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns has led to an unprecedented surge in demand for OTT entertainment in India, which was already seeing an accelerating trend in the country.

With multiplex and cinema screens shut, OTT platforms seized the opportunity to expand delivery of entertainment directly to customers’ screens, right in their homes.

The best part of this development is that with cinema screens remaining out of bounds for a prolonged period, viewers have become addicted to OTT video streaming, and that is unlikely to change soon. OTT platforms will continue to be the first choice for a public that is craving for entertainment at the click of a button.

With that, let’s look at six current trends that are likely to shape the future of OTT.

Content tailored to the audience

OTT platforms that have service specific vernaculars have managed to find audiences and even international video streaming platforms are discovering the importance of serving the market for localised content.

They leave no stone unturned in their efforts to develop tailor-made content to cater to this customer base.

As per industry experts and analysts, regional OTT already commands a share of nearly 40-45 percent of the overall OTT pie in terms of consumption.

The latest FICCI-EY report has forecast that by 2025, regional language consumption on OTT platforms will cross 50 percent of the aggregate market. That goes to show the high potential it holds for the future.

Interest-based service (hobbies, sports, lifestyles)

OTT TV has facilitated the democratisation of making TV quality content available to relatively small audiences. As technology and delivery costs have come down and distribution is not weighed down by the space limitations of TV channels, more and more targeted services will increasingly emerge.

This trend is not restricted to hobbyists or communities, but is increasingly extending to enterprises seeking to engage with their own staff and customers.

Users at the core of the experience

Viewers prefer a streaming platform that has an easy, user-friendly navigation. The success of any OTT platform depends not merely on content, but equally on user experience (UX).

There’s always a preference for an interface that’s not cluttered or complicated and enables the user to access the desired content with ease.

Accelerated innovation in OTT monetisation

Digital platforms are leaning increasingly towards collaborative subscription packaging in comparison to a standalone subscription model for monetisation. The bundling of collaborative subscription packages together to create channels is a recent phenomenon that has and will continue to grow tremendously.

Offering a bundle of platforms and content is an easy and comparatively affordable way to enable viewers to access their preferred content. This is a win-win situation not only for the channels, but also for viewers who are attracted to diverse content spanning multiple fields of interest.

Connected TV becomes more popular, now than ever

Connected TV (CTV) refers to streaming on televisions via OTT technology. This has grown in popularity over the past year as viewers have been watching more content on televisions as compared to mobile devices. This is an outcome of families being in a better position to coordinate entertainment times while confined to home during the pandemic.

Interestingly, the increase in CTV streaming has not resulted in a significant decrease in streaming on smartphones, tablets, and computers, where individual preferences come into play.

In the past, there was a general preference towards streaming of OTT on smartphones and there is every possibility that as life comes back to a degree of normalcy, post the pandemic, the smartphone may retake its place as the preferred device for viewing OTT entertainment.

5G and immersive streaming technology changing the game

The emerging OTT trend is of streaming of 4K videos, which requires increased internet bandwidth that is generally not a common feature for the average consumer grade internet connection. The rapid expansion of 5G technology is a sine qua non for accessibility of seamless 4K video quality streaming solutions.

Overall, the streaming experience is also expected to become more immersive. Virtual Reality (VR) technology has caught the imagination of OTT viewers and is making rapid inroads into diverse segments of the home entertainment industry. These trends will likely grow as technology becomes more accessible and reaches the rural hinterland.

Clearly, while consumers would have otherwise taken perhaps a few more years to turn to OTT, the growth came in earlier than expected because of which the industry too has been focused on leveraging digital technologies to ensure a seamless experience, upscaling its personalised offerings, and investing in new, original, and locally-relevant content.

With 2020 being the starting point for this uptake in consumption, 2021 is well poised to overtake that as the appetite and access to content increases among consumers in India.

Edited by Megha Reddy

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)