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BY Mitaksh Jain

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Q] How did this association with Stylecraze and HerHQ come about?
ALTBalaji was in conversation with various brands, and since we are a platform that focuses on shows about women empowerment. We believe in the fact that women need to be on the frontline across all frontiers. HerHQ is an assemblage of various women communities. The platform exclusively represents nearly 24 million women across the country. The idea was to tie up with these platforms for the shows, and then, these influencers work with us together and take the shows to their target audience. We want to talk about how women can reach out and do much more than what they’re currently doing. The base was so large that it made a great fitment for us.

Q] OTT witnessed a surge in viewership and other metrics in 2020; how are you planning to capitalise on this momentum in 2021?
The data says that 10 million people during COVID cut their cords from DTH and television, which is great for us. Now what has happened is it has also increased the landscape and, therefore, the competition. The competition is intense. Fortunately, consumers are now waking up and saying: ‘Listen, I want to see good content at my convenience therefore, I will pay for good content at a reasonable, and an affordable price’. The mind-set has changed. SVOD stands at almost 28% of the digital content pie today; why would we not want to cash in on this momentum?! We are going to engage with a great content library. We’ll keep launching and marketing aggressively while we improve on our technical and back-end performance.

Q] Several players are launching mobile-only plans? Is ALTBalaji considering a similar plan?
We don’t need to. These are all expensive platforms who have taken out mobile-only plans. They are waking up to the fact that India is largely a mobile usage heavy country. We woke up three years ago, which is why if you look at the pricing, it hasn’t changed. It has stayed Rs 100 for three months, and Rs 300 per year. We recently reintroduced Rs 180 for six months, which we had discontinued, last month. This is available across five devices simultaneously. All these expensive platforms launching mobile plans are waking up a little too late to the Indian consumer economy and Indian consumer habits. We’ve been aware of it for the past three-and-a-half years.

Q] What are some of the trends in OTT emerging out of this year?
I see gamification emerging clearly so a lot of platforms will create gamification around the shows as either marketing promotions or for revenue purposes. VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) will be adopted by people eventually. We created 10 minutes of VR for Ragini MMS, and we are considering it for other shows as well. There will be a lot of co-production business mergers because survival of 40 OTT platforms is not possible. On an average, an OTT consumer will keep anywhere between 1.5 to 2.5 OTT apps on mobile and pay for it. Voice search is set to take over as people in the urban areas become lazier and will not want to type. Also, the Hindi heartland that will be probably intimidated by using keyboard, will want to speak into the mobile and find the show.

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