Mobile video getting hot in India

Tae Sung Park
Vidiator
Mobile internet TV is one of the biggest growth areas in India. A recent survey conducted by Google in partnership with IPSOS and the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) found that a third of Indian smartphone users watch TV on their smartphone.
 
TV household penetration in India has hit 65% and is as much as 88% in urban regions. This shows tremendous opportunities for live over-the-top (OTT) content and mobile internet TV for those households that currently have no existing terrestrial infrastructure, cable or satellite services. The operators know this and realize the potential of the market, so why haven’t more of them rolled out mobile video services?
 
Their reluctance stems from an understandable concern about major investments into hardware and infrastructure, and fears about the length of time it will take to recoup the money they think is needed to launch an OTT service. On top of this, many operators are busy rolling out 3G and LTE infrastructure and are worried about finding the resources to also deploy a video streaming service. They also question their ability to recoup the incremental costs of offering OTT at good enough quality to paid service in a prepay market.
 
However, rolling out new services shouldn’t always mean spending big on new infrastructure and back office systems or gambling on securing high numbers of initial users. Solutions exist today for operators and broadcasters to leave the hosting to a third party, allowing them to offset the risk of investment and then scale the service as required. By playing it safe and overlooking the very real business case, operators potentially risk losing out on a very lucrative revenue stream – one that other dynamic companies are now starting to benefit from.
 
With many operators yet to offer their own solutions, companies such as NyooTV, BIGFlix and Eros Now are seizing the opportunity and storming ahead with their paid-for streaming services. The success of these services shows that there’s a solid business opportunity there. The fact that India is one of the biggest consumers of set-top boxes (STBs) shows that consumers are happy to put their hands in their pockets.
 
However operators need to stop wasting money on multi-million STB rollouts and focus on mobile apps and content. Operators need to consider new media software-based solutions that will provide a better and quicker ROI, and give consumers what they want.
 

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