With the market for live streaming at the threshold of rapid growth in India, Digital Studio asked Uday Sodhi, EVP and Head (Digital Business) at Sony Pictures Networks India, about the estimates for the market in 2017. Here’s what he had to say:
What are the impediments to the offtake of live streaming services?
Although live streaming services are on the cusp of growth in India, the ubiquity of media consumption still has inherent challenges. These include slow internet speeds, low monetisation opportunities, piracy, and online payments.
Is there scope for higher viewer engagement?
Live streaming will continue to be in demand in 2017. People are demanding more and more live experiences for their favorite OTT content, especially sports. Studies suggest that viewers demand this content later if they miss the action live. Sports live streaming went up in the year 2016 with UEFA European Champions, France, scoring massive viewership for SonyLIV. With so much to expect in the live-streaming space in the coming year, the trend is sure to stay. The exciting line up of sporting events, such as the UEFA Champions league, WWE, and Indian cricket series, will continue to drive viewer engagement for us.
Is the market for live streaming largely dependent on affordable mobile data rates?
India is undergoing disruption on an unprecedented scale. The market for live streaming cannot only be dependent on affordable mobile data rates but a lot of other factors like penetration of smartphone devices and increase in internet speed and access. Along with increasing connected device ownership and time spent online, consumers’ media consumption habits are also shifting. Moreover, the next wave of growth in the Indian market is expected from non-metro and rural areas, where wireless mobile internet shall play a pivotal role.
Is the demographic of the audience changing on the whole?
There is a predominant shift towards using the mobile phone as the primary and, often, the only access point to the internet. As the digital audience shifts from the familiar user profiles, there will emerge an opportunity to create target-group-specific content for the new audience. We have to make a push for mobile micro payments or wallets. Right now, subscription revenue is constrained by low credit card penetration and payment gateway failures.