Emergence of smartphone quenched their long drought, but not everyone could afford to buy costly data plans and phones. With Reliance Jio, this last chain of the bondage has been broken. The man is now free to watch anything he likes at a time of his choice and in privacy, which no other medium (TV or cinema halls) could provide.
Growing smartphone penetration in India and crashing prices is a big reason for more and more content to be seen on the mobile devices. Now by using a simple dongle, the phone can also connect to any TV to display live TV via the apps. The dongles, which are sold separately, come in two varieties, one with an RCA port and the other with an HDMI port to cater for all types of TV sets.
According to the Video Index research, we will see mobile video plays reach 60% of all plays by the end of this year, especially as iPhone 8 and Samsung S8 shipments have commenced. The Video Index also found that the world’s love of long-form content – content longer than 20 minutes watched on Smartphones, tablets, PCs and connected TVs has exceeded 50%.
Emergence of OTT (over the top television) is mainly due to highly mobile people i.e. commuters who can use commuting time constructively. Every stakeholder of the broadcasting industry, whether it is TV channels or DTH operators, started to launch their own OTT service to keep relevant in this modern video age.
Twitter to flood with tons of videos:
But what has surprised the industry the most is the unusual interest in video by global social media giants such as Facebook and twitter. In September this year, Twitter has launched 35 premium live and in-stream video content deals across sports, news and entertainment after partnering with Cricbuzz, Premier Futsal India, NDTV, Network18, Yash Raj Films and Red Chillies Entertainment. This mutually lucrative partnership will bring hundreds of hours of new exclusive video and live original programming, live games and events to the platform.
According to Twitter revenue & operations Global VP Matthew Derella, “Live is at the core of Twitter. In Q2, we streamed over 1,200 hours of live premium content globally from leading brands across sports, esports, news, and entertainment. Asia Pacific is the growth engine of Twitter and we could not be prouder to extend our success with both live streaming and in-stream premium video content in the region.”
Twitter Asia Pacific MD Maya Hari added, “Digital video consumption is growing rapidly in Asia Pacific and estimated to grow to over a billion by 2020. Introducing over 35 live and in-stream video sponsorship deals today to APAC advertisers will strengthen the success of our only-on-Twitter experience in the region and globally, combining high quality streaming video with conversation on what’s happening in the world right now.”
FB to compete with TV:
In June 2017, Facebook declared that it will produce original TV-quality content which will be high-quality television series and gaming shows to broadcast on its platform. To achieve this objective, the social media giant is ready to pay up to $3 million per episode for centrepiece shows. Facebook, which has around two billion monthly users worldwide, is working on the project with a small group of partners and hopes to start putting out episodes of its forthcoming series by the end of the summer. It will have both the runtime and the budget of full-fledged cable TV productions.
Facebook’s plan is that Watch, and all of the original content it buys for it, will make TV, like everything on its platform, a social experience. Product management leader Daniel Danker said “You discover videos through your friends. You often find yourself discussing videos with friends. Video has this amazing power to bring people together and build community.” All of Watch’s shows have comments enabled and some are incorporated into Facebook Groups.
Not only Facebook, Netflix, Amazon and the online television platform Hulu, a joint venture by Disney, Comcast, 21st Century and Time Warner, have entered into content production deal. YouTube and Apple are also creating their own content but on a more modest scale. Apple Inc. hired Sony Pictures Television co-presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg earlier this month to lead its video programming efforts.
Facebook hungry for IPL:
In the first week of September, Facebook showed an unusual mammoth appetite to grab the digital rights with its ` 3,900-cr IPL bid. Although it has lost the bid to Star, it shows how serious it is to live-stream the sportive content to a video hungry audience. As a matter of fact, Facebook’s bid of ` 3,900 crore was the highest for the digital-only rights of the IPL. Airtel and Reliance Jio, who also bid for the India digital rights, bet lower at `3,280 crore and ` 3,075.72 crore respectively. It was only Star India’s consolidated bid of ` 16,347.51 crore for TV and digital rights that put down Facebook from grabbing the rights.
The most worrying aspect for the broadcasters is that Facebook could have a video content plan as part of its growth strategy in the US and other parts of the world including India. Do TV broadcasters have any plan to contain the advances of Facebook and twitter?
According to media sources, Facebook is ready to spend $1 billion in original content over the next year. Will this not give a tough competition to YouTube which is offering content from everywhere and sharing advertising revenue with content creators?
Twitter and Facebook’s video ambitions are present and clear dangers for TV broadcasters as well as DTH operators. Hope, they are listening.