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In the media business? Solve the content puzzle first: COO of Viacom18 Digital Ventures

Ishan Battarcharya | June 29, 2016
Gaurav Gandhi, COO, Viacom18 Digital Ventures, highlights how media businesses should focus on evolving in the digital era and why analytics happen to be a goldmine for media houses.

How do you see Indian media companies adopting to digital transition?

Digital is a very broad word and is loosely used. As a media company when you go digital, you do it at multiple levels. Our channels have been broadcasting digitally for a long time now. Media companies have also had digital (using the internet or telecom networks) strategies when it came to marketing, interactivity and promoting products

Building scalable distribution models of content and channels for access on internet enabled devices is the 'newer' level of going digital for media companies today.

The alternate screen viewing is a phenomena fueled by changing consumer habits, wide distribution of smart or internet enabled devices, better connectivity and more content being available online.

Before the iPhone was actually launched, Blackberry smartphones were there, but you couldn't consume video the way we can do today. Now we have both devices and bandwidth.

Technology and connectivity is moving at a rapid pace today enabling content consumption. There are already closed to 400 million Indians online - connected largely through mobile platforms. People are consuming content both offline and online through these mobile devices - thereby opening up huge opportunities for content owners.

Today video content is beyond just channels. Content is being consumed in varied ways, with respect to that how do you align tech and content especially as you launch your VOD (video on demand) platform?

There is a subtle behavioral change happening with respect to how people consume content today. People are increasingly becoming more demanding about the content being available at the time and place that works for them.

If you look at international markets, the DVR or PVR allowed people to record multiple episodes of a show and watch it later. Appointment viewing got replaced by time-shifted viewing and binge watching, essentially refining the concept of video-on-demand. Today we have multiple players trying to further refine this concept into mobile and web based software products.  In the Indian context DVR penetration is miniscule - and most catch up anyway happens online via mobile devices

At the heart of it, this is a content business. Technology acts as a big facilitator in how the content is made available, presented and consumed by the consumer. For a VOD product the quality, popularity and uniqueness of content become extremely important. And then of course layering that with originals that you will get nowhere else - not even on TV - adds another dimension that makes the package really attractive.  You'll see this at play when we launch VOOT.

Once the content puzzle is solved, one has to work with the best in class technology and design partners to develop a world class product to back the content that one has. It's a combination of content and product (backed by tech) that will deliver the winning punch.


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