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With VOD, India Is Claiming Its Right To Entertainment — Anywhere, Anytime

01/12/2016 12:23 PM IST | Updated 02/12/2016 8:38 AM IST
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The definition of what constitutes entertainment has not changed that much over the years. Genres such as comedy, drama, horror and romance exert as much of a hold over the audience as they ever did. However, what has changed significantly and observably are the consumption patterns of entertainment. Audiences want entertainment at their beck and call. It is an era of an always on, always moving, busy generation that no longer schedules his/her life around TV programs—instead they want it the other way round.

This very phenomenon brings us to the rise of VOD—Video on Demand. A term that simply means entertainment being accessible to you at any time on the device of your choice. All you need is a portable device, a good connection and an appetite for non-stop entertainment. In India, the VOD industry is slowly moving beyond the nascent stage, and is ready to thrive given the hunger for on-the-go entertainment. This has encouraged several brands to venture into this space with a strategic focus on the Indian market.

Video streaming can thus safely be called the future of entertainment, a future that is here knocking at our doors, waiting to be embraced.

Forces boosting the VOD industry in India are slowly but steadily becoming apparent—smartphone penetration, launch of 4G services by key telecom players, appetite for varied content etc. There is also a growing demand for content that is in synch with global trends. With the influx of information from across the world (mostly through social media), Indian users want access to international content here and now. Which explains that while the demand for regional content remains strong, Indian users also want original studio content as well as internationally acclaimed shows at their disposal.

According to Counterpoint Research, India has surpassed the US to become the world's second largest smartphone market, and smartphone shipments in the country grew 23% on a year on year basis. This means over 220 million users in India are connected via smartphones. This explains the enormity and scale with which VOD can grow in the country.

This penetration is fuelling the adoption of VOD services especially in the younger generation who are always connected through their smartphones. It has become a bodily appendage and not just a mere device one carries! What will further pull the audience to subscribe to online video streaming services is the falling data charges. This is leading to an increased mobile internet penetration. According to the latest Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), report the number of mobile internet users in the country were expected to reach 371 million by June 2016. These numbers are a testimony of the potential of India and Indian audiences. At such a speed, India is likely to become one of the largest internet markets in the world, making way for growing subscriber base for VOD service providers.

VOD empowers the consumer. And once its benefits are experienced, traditional formats of viewing entertainment seem hopelessly infra dig.

The launch of 4G services equally signals a bright future of the VOD industry. With better connectivity, reaching out to the masses in rural areas will no more be a hindrance. Out of the 306 million mobile internet users, 219 million are from urban India and 87 million from rural India (as per the IAMAI report 2016). This stands testament to the fact that there is a potential segment beyond metros that is already online. With 4G, there will be faster adoption of the VOD services within this segment, thanks to faster streaming and high-speed connectivity.

Today's consumer has no dearth of entertainment options—all they want is quality content, quality viewing and a library of content that makes them spoilt for choice! The biggest advantage of VOD is that it exposes a consumer to a plethora of content with an option of viewing whatever and wherever, unlike the traditional ways of consuming entertainment. One doesn't have to schedule their life around designated hours of entertainment. In a nutshell, VOD empowers the consumer. And once its benefits are experienced, traditional formats of viewing entertainment seem hopelessly infra dig. Video streaming can thus safely be called the future of entertainment, a future that is here knocking at our doors, waiting to be embraced.

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