Interviews, Solution providers

The digital medium in India is miniscule, but is growing very fast” – Nilotpal Chakravarti, AVP of Internet and Mobile Association of India

According to a Deloitte survey, nearly 50% of American respondents subscribe to streaming media services, and almost 70% US consumers binge watch an average of five episodes at …


According to a Deloitte survey, nearly 50% of American respondents subscribe to streaming media services, and almost 70% US consumers binge watch an average of five episodes at a time. While Indians have just started exploring the world of video content consumption, Nilotpal Chakravarti, AVP of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) tells Vinita Bhatia that it is just a matter of time before millennials in the country start spending more time streaming video content on their mobile devices, and before digital advertising grabs a bigger share of the total advertising pie.

According to Deloitte’s 10th ‘Digital Democracy Survey’, 46% of Americans now subscribe to streaming video services, with millennials aged 14-25 years spending more time streaming video content than watching live television. Interestingly, nearly three in four millennials are more influenced in their buying decisions by social media recommendations than TV ads.

The viewer appetite for consuming online content shows no signs of abating. However, in India, video streaming is still in its nascent stage. Nilotpal Chakravarti, AVP of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) tells Vinita Bhatia that one of the primary reasons for its slow uptake is the patchy internet connectivity in larges swatches of the country.

Here are the excerpts from the interview:
According to the Deloitte survey, 70% of US consumers binge watch video streaming content on an average of five episodes at a time, and almost 31% binge on a weekly basis. Do you see a similar trend happening in India anytime soon?

The trend is already there in India, but it is not as high as Deloitte has indicated is evident in the US.

“Unless basic infrastructure issues are resolved,
I don’t see India catching up with the US anytime soon,
as far are video consumption or live streaming is concerned”
– Nilotpal Chakravarti

What is inhibiting this trend from taking off in India?
It is largely because of the patchy internet services. Even though people access internet on their mobile phones predominantly, but it is mostly for lighter things, like email and search and other stuff.

Having said that, people do watch videos on their mobile and laptops, but since the internet connectivity is patchy, it is not taking off as it should have. If last mile connectivity issues are resolved, then obviously we can see a similar trend take place in India pretty soon.

Would you venture a time frame when last mile data connectivity will be improved in India?
That would be difficult to venture, because both private and public sector entities are working towards resolving connectivity issues. Currently, in India, 3G works at the state of 2G.

So, unless these basic infrastructure issues are resolved, I don’t see India catching up with the US anytime soon as far are video consumption or live streaming is concerned. However, having said that, it will happen in India gradually.

The Deloitte survey also highlighted that millennials, aged 14-25 years, spend more time streaming video content than watching live television. Do you see a similar trend emerging in India?
In the Indian context, people access internet content on mobile devices predominantly. So, in that context, optic usage would be highest amongst the millennials and their device of choice would be mobile phones.

With the growing interest of video streaming services and video content in India, buyer purchase decisions are more influenced by new age advertising sources like social media recommendations, than by TV ads?
The digital medium in India is miniscule, but is growing very fast. According to the ‘Digital Advertising Industry in India 2014’ released by IAMAI, the overall ad spend in India across all media was Rs 38,598 crore in 2013 with a year-on-year growth rate of 12%. Ad spend in television was the highest with a proportion of 44% of the overall spend. The digital advertisement spend in India was Rs 2750 crore by the end of 2014-15 with a y-o-y growth rate of 30%. The overall CAGR for the digital ad spends in India was 25% from FY’2011 to FY’2013.

As you can see, the skew between the traditional mode of advertising like TV, newspapers and radio, and digital advertising is huge. But the growth rate of digital advertising in India is also very fast. It won’t be surprising if most buyer purchase decisions are influenced by digital marketing, because people now have access to internet. They use social media, check out peer reviews and review sites; which are influencers when it comes to purchasing decisions.

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