OTT platforms: The actual battle has just begun?
Content across OTT platforms, be it shows or films, have gone a long way in keeping us sane in the middle of a crisis. Many subscription renewals, increased average time spent by a user on the platform buoyed by the regular release of content by the day has kept the OTT platform owners immensely happy too. The shift from theatrical experience to digital viewing has been happening gradually, but the lockdown and the nature of the crisis have tilted the balance completely in favour of the digital platforms. While these couple of months have given enough time for viewers to catch up with the content they’ve lost track of, the battle for OTT platforms has just begun, we feel.
Most OTT platforms have enough content that could keep the viewers engaged until the next couple of months. However, there have been so many shows whose shoot has been stalled midway owing to the crisis, which will make content delivery challenging in the near future. OTT platforms have been a revelation in terms of the jobs they have created, the work they have ensured many technicians in the industry. It puts many such people on several levels in a dicey situation, with the shoots not going to start/resume any time soon.
OTT platforms aren’t minding spending money to the tunes of 100 crores to ensure big-budget films have a direct-to-digital release. However, with makers of films like Singham, 83, Master, V The Movie, further confirming that they wouldn’t mind waiting many months for the situation to get better in addition to the mounting pressure from distributors, the reluctance of many big-budget films to settle for a digital release is only bound to increase. What makes this more ironic is the unrealistic pricing – both from the producer’s and the platform’s perspective. Even if such deals work, the producer and OTT platform are happy, but it doesn’t facilitate any job creation.
With most countries preferring an extended lockdown to ensure there’s no second wave of the pandemic, the financial position of the platforms and the spending capacity of a user aren’t going to get any better. The focus will be on essentials than luxuries. Besides content creation challenges, there is a clear chance that an average user won’t subscribe to as many platforms that he/she did in the past. Most companies cutting down on their spending through advertisements isn’t good news for ad dependent platforms either. There may be a greater audience for content in this hour, but the challenges too seem to be mounting.