All roads lead to the media and entertainment industry in India

By Sunder Aaron | General Manager

May 3, 2019 | 6 min read

India is quickly becoming the go-to destination for media and entertainment companies looking to expand their international profile and anchor a successful business in Asia. It’s home to one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and its media and entertainment industry is booming. The sector’s revenue is expected to reach $35 billion by 2021 with linear TV and digital services underpinning much of its growth. Along with a flourishing media and entertainment landscape, India offers a 1 billion strong population, a young upwardly mobile generation, and a burgeoning middle class with the disposable income to pay for both digital and Pay-TV services. While streaming services like Amazon and Netflix have already recognized the potential in India and are investing in it heavily, there are still opportunities waiting to be seized.

India roads

Create cord forevers

One unique characteristic of the Indian market is that it is home to over 400 million millennials. We call this 20-30-year-old age bracket “Young India”. This generation watches short-form video content on platforms like YouTube and Snapchat on a daily basis.

Yet, despite the popularity of online video platforms in India, traditional TV is still thriving. India is actually leading the growth for regional TV networks in Asia and accounts for over 60% of all revenue. Cord cutting, which is prevalent in western markets, has not taken off in India. Nonetheless, many forward-thinking broadcasters are aware that they need to make sure that their services are relevant to Young India, so traditional TV services are not abandoned.

Broadcasters, like Tata Sky and Jio TV, have already taken the steps to make sure that their services remain relevant to younger audiences by bringing expertly curated web-first content to their services. Such shows feature local content creators and influencers that Indian audiences know and love, as well as underground talent that they may not have heard of yet. It’s this type of fresh and innovative approach to programming that will increase stickiness to broadcaster’s services and help turn Young India into a generation of cord forevers.

Media and entertainment services looking to enter the Indian market should be using this as an opportunity to work with broadcasters by looking on platforms like YouTube to see what’s popular with Young India, and which trends, like eSports, are taking the online world by storm. This is a great route into the Indian market, and it can be achieved by working with local partners who have an in-depth knowledge of India’s online video trends.

Made for mobile

Opportunities for media and entertainment companies in India are not confined to the TV screen. India is home to the second largest smartphone market in the world and Young India spends over two hours a day on their phone, primarily watching short video clips. There’s a huge opportunity for both broadcasters and streaming services to capitalize on this by creating mobile-first programming.

The quality of user-generated online videos has increased dramatically in recent years – from grainy footage filmed on smartphones to professionally shot videos – but it can be taken to the next level. Creating premium mobile-first programming, which has recognizable talent, both in front of and behind the camera, taps into Young India’s preference to watch content on smartphones.

For example, audiences could watch a show that is created by and features A-list stars and has the big budget feel of Game of Thrones, but it is condensed into 6-8 minutes so that it is suitable for mobile consumption. This is an idea that has been pioneered by Movie mogul, Jeffrey Katzenberg, who recently founded Quibi, which is promising to disrupt the market by offering high-end, short-form content tailored to mobile lifestyles from Hollywood directors, such as Sam Raimi and Guillermo del Toro. It’s something that’s compatible with the viewing preferences of Indian audiences and one that media and entertainment companies wanting to grow their Indian footprint should seriously be considering.

Any media and entertainment company looking to enter the Indian market needs to take into account the viewing habits and content preferences of Young India, which is fast becoming the dominant age bracket. Focusing on developing services for Young India will gain greater ROI on services and attract more interest from brands and advertisers. A few first movers have already started to realize this, but there are still a number of opportunities available in this highly lucrative market.

Sunder Aaron is co-founder and general manager of Q India.


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