According to us, the twin battles that will define the future of the consumer internet space in India are Data and Content.
The battle for the former is being fought out amongst the ISP’s and for many reasons, it is a difficult space to enter or disrupt.
The latter, however, is a different story. Content, as we have seen over the years, will see the continuous emergence of new players and new formats. People care about the quality and appeal of the story being told and not so much about who is telling it.
This is the state of the major players in Video right now:
Anyone remember BoxTV? Probably not and who can blame you. It was Times Internet’s initial foray in the video streaming space — an idea ahead of its time, launched when data was scarce and smart phone penetration still low (2012). All that, however, has changed now.
Surprised to see Hulu in the mix?
So were we. Hulu despite having no presence in India has managed to get a small fraction of downloads in the country. Even if some of these users others downloaded it out of curiosity; presumably, many of these are people using VPNs to watch international content.
What seems evident however is that there is demand not only for more content but also more content providers in India. I would go as far as saying that most people who have a Netflix subscription can afford to get another one that costs the same. What matters to them is what content is on offer and how easily it’s accessible.
The corner stone of success in video streaming has been the creation of original content. Rather than simply buying TV shows, movies and documentaries from studios, NetFlix, Amazon, and Hulu have chosen to produce their own shows and movies that capture the audience’s imagination.
Hotstar is leveraging its ability to purchase streaming rights to live sports and big-ticket shows to entrench itself amongst users but those rights will be up for sale and go to the highest bidder.
But Hulu ain’t really here (officially) and BoxTV ain’t really doing much (their last app update was in September 2016).
BoxTV is owned by Times Internet, and the Times Group (which owns Times Internet) has what anyone in media needs to get started — a large seed audience. Hulu has what Times Internet doesn’t — really great original content & phenomenal global reach (it’s a JV between NBC Universal, Fox Entertainment, and ABC Inc).
The combination of the 2 could well change the video streaming paradigm in India. Imagine their ability to profile user interests and distribute content across all of the Times Groups properties — both online and offline. Combine that with Hulu’s access and ability to work with large studios.
I wouldn’t be surprised if these conversations are already taking place. Times Internet is clearly interested in the video content space. Hulu can scarcely afford to ignore the Indian market for much longer.
It’ll be interesting to see how these events play out and if there is a confluence at all.
Thanks for your time,
- Team KG
P.S. The reason we chose Times Internet as the potential local partner is that few other media groups in India straddle the offline/ online worlds as effectively as they currently do.
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